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Thread: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

  1. #1
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    Question How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    Disclaimer: I've tried searching for this probably popular topic, but no specific instructions...

    I want to run Ubuntu without any desktop environment, but I would like a window manager still. I'm looking for the simplest way to do this. I'm downloading the 11.04 alternate cd now, I figured installing just the command line version would be the way, then just installing a window manager separately.

    I tried 11.04 but didn't like unity, and didn't want to mess with uninstalling all that.

    Then I tried xubuntu 10.10 but had issues with hardware compatibility, somehow, and was too lazy to fix it.

    So I'm interested in running ubuntu again but without unity or any desktop environment. Should I stick with 11.04 or is unity still installed even if i just do command line install????

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    You are on the right track. This tutorial shows how to install a minimal system with icewm. You can substitute the windows manager of your choice for icewm.

    http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/minimal

  3. #3
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    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    Ok, so I need the minimal cd.

    If I choose 11.04, does it include unity in some way? I know that might be a stupid question, I just really liked 10.10 but if I'm running a minimal boot I might as well use 11.04, unless 11.04 is THAT different as a minimal install.

    What is the standard window manager ubuntu comes with?

  4. #4
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    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    Quote Originally Posted by kokomodrums View Post
    Ok, so I need the minimal cd.

    If I choose 11.04, does it include unity in some way? I know that might be a stupid question, I just really liked 10.10 but if I'm running a minimal boot I might as well use 11.04, unless 11.04 is THAT different as a minimal install.

    What is the standard window manager ubuntu comes with?
    I think you can also perform a minimal, command-line-only install using the Alternate CD.

    The main advantage/disadvantage to 11.04 over 10.10 is that all of the applications will be 6 months newer. Unity won't be installed unless you tell Ubuntu to install it.

    There is no "standard" windows manager. You can install whichever one you like (or none at all ).
    Last edited by snowpine; October 10th, 2011 at 08:17 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    Quote Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
    I think you can also perform a minimal, command-line-only install using the Alternate CD.

    The main advantage/disadvantage to 11.04 over 10.10 is that all of the applications will be 6 months newer. Unity won't be installed unless you tell Ubuntu to install it.

    There is no "standard" windows manager. You can install whichever one you like.
    Why don't you just do a server install? I have 11.10 running just fine.

  6. #6
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    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    Quote Originally Posted by fbroce View Post
    Why don't you just do a server install? I have 11.10 running just fine.
    Ubuntu Server is for servers. Is the OP running a server or a desktop/laptop/netbook?

  7. #7
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    Lubuntu Development Release

    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    There is no reason why you cannot feasibly run a command-line. Videos, pictures, and the web might be issues, though.

  8. #8
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    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    It's a laptop, and I'd like to browse the web, work on text documents and images, etc. Everything I would do on a normal install but without a desktop. And no, not a server, but thanks!

    So is Gnome a desktop environment and a window manager all in one? I was under the assumption that there were two separate pieces...

    Basically, I don't mind using the command line to open apps and files and etc. (i think it would be cool, actually), but I'd like each program to have a gui. I mean, I need to see webpages and images!

    Maybe I just don't understand how this all works???

    EDIT: Also, the psychocats guide goes into setting up gnome display manager, is that the desktop environment??
    Last edited by kokomodrums; October 10th, 2011 at 08:33 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    Quote Originally Posted by kokomodrums View Post
    So is Gnome a desktop environment and a window manager all in one? I was under the assumption that there were two separate pieces...

    Basically, I don't mind using the command line to open apps and files and etc. (i think it would be cool, actually), but I'd like each program to have a gui. I mean, I need to see webpages and images!

    Maybe I just don't understand how this all works???
    Gnome is a Desktop Environment (DE) and needs a Windows Manager (WM) to run correctly. Typically Gnome uses either Metacity or Compiz as the default WM.

    If you are looking for a lightweight alternative to Unity then I recommend either a DE such as Xfce (Xubuntu) or LXDE (Lubuntu) or a stand-alone WM such as icewm, openbox, fluxbox, dwm, etc.

    Any of these can be installed in a standard Ubuntu system. You don't really need to reinstall to benefit from a lightweight DE/WM, and in fact, you can have several installed and choose between them each time you log in.
    Last edited by snowpine; October 10th, 2011 at 08:39 PM.

  10. #10
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    Ubuntu

    Re: How to run ubuntu without a desktop environment

    It is possible to view/edit pictures, view videos, webpages etc etc without X.

    But you will have to learn a lot.

    It is not just a case of install then click.

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