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As a bit of a personal project im wanting to create a very lightweight desktop environment with something like fluxbox.

As a start point im wanting to use something like a lightweight version of ubuntu - Ubuntu but without the gui and only the most limited set o f applications, and then move from there. Is there anywhere i get something like this?

Or alternatively am i best just to download Debian and then add the ubuntu repositories to the sources list so i can still the best bits of ubuntu software?

** Edit **

To clear up any confusion - im looking for minimal install that contains only the bare minimum ubuntu needs to operate as a distinct distribution. I.e as few applications and auxiliary libraries as possible. From there i want to add these manually myself.

I am aware that you could argue that the applications and libraries are what make ubuntu ubuntu - to an extent i agree. What i want to do is make use of the ubuntu infrastructure and repositories, whilst still coming up with something of my own creation.

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Your desire is somewhat unusual. You want a desktop but not just yet? What is the underlying motivation? It may help people to give more focused answers. – msw Nov 28 '10 at 16:19
Edited to add clarity – richzilla Nov 28 '10 at 16:27
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Ubuntu Minimal CD here:

See: (icewm) and: (fluxbox) (his one line "quickstart" is good)

Ubuntu Repositories in Debian will create problems, if they will load at all!!!

For minimum Debian look at: (obviously xfce) and: (also xfce)

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Mixing Ubuntu and Debian repositories works about 95% of the time with no problems. The other 5% deserve bug reports, but neither distro cares about them. – Sparr Nov 29 '10 at 4:28

How about Ubuntu Server? No desktop environment. There's no real difference desktop and server Ubuntu other than the default packages. The "server" packages (apache, bind etc) are optional installs in server.

If instead of Fluxbox you could go with XFCE, there's Xubuntu. There was a Fluxbuntu but it seems to have faded away.

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+1 for server. For what it's worth, I didn't have much luck using xubuntu. I ended up installing ubuntu, then installing xfce after that fact. This is obviously not a light-weight solution... – David Oneill Nov 28 '10 at 14:57
I think Server is a much better base system than Minimal. Most people need a significant portion of the ubuntu-standard metapackage, included in server but left out in minimal. – Oli Nov 28 '10 at 21:40

There is also Ubuntu Core for those looking for an extremely minimal Ubuntu environment, even smaller than Ubuntu Minimal. This is intended for embedded devices such as in-vehicle infotainment systems, television set-top boxes, etc. It is a very minimal kernel and userspace intended for use as a development platform. It is not suitable on its own as a desktop or general purpose server operating system.

Ubuntu Core is supported on x86 as well as ARM systems.

Information about Ubuntu Core is available on the Ubuntu Wiki here:

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Keep in mind that the compressed rootfs of "Ubuntu Core" has almost doubled in size (amd64) 63M since release 14.04, before 14.04 core rootfs was 38M. – Pro Backup Aug 15 '14 at 8:57

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