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So far as I can tell, starting from the command line works, starting from systemctl does not:

emike 1932 1 0 03:22 ? 00:00:00 /usr/libexec/gnome-session-binary emike 2684 1 0 03:24 pts/0 00:00:00 /usr/libexec/gnome-session-binary

The gnome-session-binary on pts/2 was started from "vncviewer :2" on the command line. The other gnome-session-binary was started by 'systemctl start vncviewer#:1.service"

Further proof, "DISPLAY=:1 gnome-shell" from the command line will get the blank screen working.

From the .vnc logs for both :1 (blank) and :2 (working, command line) is this:

< Failed to import environment: Process org.freedesktop.systemd1 exited with status 1

Likely because there is no controlling tty. This is a bug. Don't know what the workaround would be.

emike at emike.org