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The question says it all really. I had a problem with the 8.04 alternative install .iso (which after some research is a well known bug) so I had to install the full desktop version. I know I can switch off the GUI functionality and prevent it loading at start up, but is it safe to remove all GUI components, and if so how do I do it? If I am able to do this will the resulting system be stable??

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Why are you not at least using 10.04 LTS? What is your hardware setup? – david6 Jun 29 '12 at 23:03
Great question - short answer is that I simply am unable to install it on the hardware I am using. – mathematician1975 Jun 30 '12 at 13:45
up vote 4 down vote accepted


sudo apt-get remove alacarte app-install-data-commercial apport-gtk apturl at-spi binfmt-support bluez-gnome brasero brltty-x11 capplets-data cli-common compiz compiz-core compiz-fusion-plugins-extra compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-gnome compiz-plugins compizconfig-backend-gconf contact-lookup-applet dcraw deskbar-applet desktop-file-utils dmz-cursor-theme doc-base docbook-xml ekiga eog espeak espeak-data evince evolution evolution-common evolution-data-server evolution-data-server-common evolution-exchange evolution-plugins evolution-webcal example-content f-spot fast-user-switch-applet file-roller firefox firefox-3.0 firefox-3.0-branding firefox-3.0-gnome-support firefox-gnome-support gamin gcalctool gconf-editor gconf2 gconf2-common gdebi gdm gdm-guest-session gedit gedit-common ggzcore-bin gimp gimp-data gksu gnome-about gnome-accessibility-themes gnome-app-install gnome-applets gnome-applets-data gnome-cards-data gnome-control-center gnome-desktop-data gnome-doc-utils gnome-games gnome-games-data gnome-icon-theme gnome-keyring gnome-mag gnome-media gnome-media-common gnome-menus gnome-mime-data gnome-mount gnome-netstatus-applet gnome-nettool gnome-orca gnome-panel gnome-panel-data gnome-pilot gnome-pilot-conduits gnome-power-manager gnome-screensaver gnome-session gnome-settings-daemon gnome-spell gnome-system-monitor gnome-system-tools gnome-terminal gnome-terminal-data gnome-themes gnome-user-guide gnome-utils gstreamer0.10-alsa gstreamer0.10-gnomevfs gstreamer0.10-plugins-base gstreamer0.10-plugins-base-apps gstreamer0.10-plugins-good gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio gstreamer0.10-schroedinger gstreamer0.10-tools gstreamer0.10-x gtk2-engines gtk2-engines-murrine gtk2-engines-pixbuf gucharmap guile-1.8-libs gvfs gvfs-backends gvfs-bin gvfs-fuse human-icon-theme human-theme hwtest hwtest-gtk jockey-gtk language-selector libart2.0-cil libasound2-plugins libatspi1.0-0 libavahi-glib1 libavahi-gobject0 libavahi-ui0 libavc1394-0 libbabl-0.0-0 libbeagle1 libbonobo2-0 libbonobo2-common libbonoboui2-0 libbonoboui2-common libcairo-perl libcairomm-1.0-1 libcamel1.2-14 libcanberra-gnome libcanberra-gtk-module libcanberra-gtk0 libcanberra0 libcdio-cdda0 libcdio-paranoia0 libcdio7 libcompizconfig0 libcryptui0 libdecoration0 libdeskbar-tracker libdmx1 libdv4 libebackend1.2-0 libebook1.2-9 libecal1.2-7 libedata-book1.2-2 libedata-cal1.2-6 libedataserver1.2-11 libedataserverui1.2-8 libeel2-2 libeel2-data libegroupwise1.2-13 libespeak1 libexchange-storage1.2-3 libexempi3 libflickrnet2.1.5-cil libfreezethaw-perl libgadu3 libgail-gnome-module libgamin0 libgconf2-4 libgconf2.0-cil libgdata-google1.2-1 libgdata1.2-1 libgdiplus libgegl-0.0-0 libggz2 libggzcore9 libggzmod4 libgimp2.0 libgksu2-0 libglade2-0 libglade2.0-cil libglew1.5 libglib-perl libglib2.0-cil libglibmm-2.4-1c2a libglitz-glx1 libglitz1 libgmime-2.0-2a libgmime2.2-cil libgnome-desktop-2-7 libgnome-keyring0 libgnome-keyring1.0-cil libgnome-mag2 libgnome-media0 libgnome-menu2 libgnome-pilot2 libgnome-speech7 libgnome-vfs2.0-cil libgnome-window-settings1 libgnome2-0 libgnome2-canvas-perl libgnome2-common libgnome2-perl libgnome2-vfs-perl libgnome2.0-cil libgnomecanvas2-0 libgnomecanvas2-common libgnomecups1.0-1 libgnomekbd-common libgnomekbd3 libgnomekbdui3 libgnomeprint2.2-0 libgnomeprint2.2-data libgnomeprintui2.2-0 libgnomeprintui2.2-common libgnomeui-0 libgnomeui-common libgnomevfs2-0 libgnomevfs2-bin libgnomevfs2-common libgnomevfs2-extra libgp11-0 libgpod3 libgtk-vnc-1.0-0 libgtk2-perl libgtk2.0-cil libgtkglext1 libgtkhtml-editor-common libgtkhtml-editor0 libgtkhtml2-0 libgtkhtml3.14-19 libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a libgtksourceview-common libgtksourceview1.0-0 libgtksourceview2.0-0 libgtksourceview2.0-common libgtkspell0 libgtop2-7 libgtop2-common libgucharmap7 libgvfscommon0 libgweather-common libgweather1 libhesiod0 libidl0 libiec61883-0 libjpeg-progs libkpathsea4 liblaunchpad-integration1 liblircclient0 liblpint-bonobo0 libmbca0 libmeanwhile1 libmetacity0 libmldbm-perl libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil libmono-addins0.2-cil libmono-cairo1.0-cil libmono-cairo2.0-cil libmono-corlib1.0-cil libmono-corlib2.0-cil libmono-data-tds1.0-cil libmono-data-tds2.0-cil libmono-i18n1.0-cil libmono-i18n2.0-cil libmono-security1.0-cil libmono-security2.0-cil libmono-sharpzip0.84-cil libmono-sharpzip2.84-cil libmono-sqlite2.0-cil libmono-system-data1.0-cil libmono-system-data2.0-cil libmono-system-web1.0-cil libmono-system-web2.0-cil libmono-system1.0-cil libmono-system2.0-cil libmono0 libmono1.0-cil libmono2.0-cil libnautilus-burn4 libnautilus-extension1 libndesk-dbus-glib1.0-cil libndesk-dbus1.0-cil libnet-dbus-perl libnotify1 liboil0.3 liboobs-1-4 libopal-2.2 libopenobex1 liborbit2 libpam-gnome-keyring libpanel-applet2-0 libpangomm-1.4-1 libpisock9 libpisync1 libpolkit-gnome0 libpoppler-glib3 libportaudio0 libpt-1.10.10 libpt-1.10.10-plugins-alsa libpt-1.10.10-plugins-v4l libpt-1.10.10-plugins-v4l2 libpulse-browse0 libpulsecore5 libpurple-bin libpurple0 librarian0 librsvg2-common libschroedinger-1.0-0 libscim8c2a libsexy2 libshout3 libsilc-1.1-2 libsndfile1 libsoup2.4-1 libspeexdsp1 libsqlite0 libstartup-notification0 libtie-ixhash-perl libtotem-plparser12 libtracker-gtk0 libtrackerclient0 libuuid-perl libv4l-0 libvte-common libvte9 libwnck-common libwnck22 libwv-1.2-3 libx11-xcb1 libxevie1 libxml-twig-perl libxml-xpath-perl libxml2-utils libxres1 libzephyr3 metacity metacity-common mobile-broadband-provider-info mono-common mono-gac mono-jit mono-runtime mousetweaks mtools nautilus nautilus-cd-burner nautilus-data nautilus-sendto nautilus-share network-manager-gnome notification-daemon obex-data-server onboard pidgin pidgin-data pidgin-otr pkg-config policykit-gnome pulseaudio pulseaudio-esound-compat pulseaudio-module-gconf pulseaudio-module-hal pulseaudio-module-x11 pulseaudio-utils python-beagle python-brlapi python-cairo python-gconf python-gdata python-glade2 python-gmenu python-gnome2 python-gnome2-desktop python-gnomecanvas python-gst0.10 python-gtk2 python-gtkhtml2 python-gtksourceview2 python-launchpad-integration python-notify python-numeric python-pkg-resources python-pyatspi python-pyorbit python-rdflib python-sexy python-virtkey python-vte rarian-compat rhythmbox rss-glx scim scim-bridge-agent scim-bridge-client-gtk scim-gtk2-immodule scim-modules-socket screen-resolution-extra screensaver-default-images seahorse seahorse-plugins sgml-data software-properties-gtk sqlite sqlite3 ssh-askpass-gnome synaptic syslinux system-config-printer-gnome system-tools-backends tangerine-icon-theme tomboy totem totem-common totem-gstreamer totem-mozilla totem-plugins tracker tracker-search-tool tracker-utils transmission-common transmission-gtk tsclient ubufox ubuntu-artwork ubuntu-desktop ubuntu-docs ubuntu-gdm-themes ubuntu-sounds ubuntu-system-service ubuntu-wallpapers untex update-manager update-notifier usb-creator vinagre vino whois wv xbase-clients xbitmaps xdg-user-dirs-gtk xsane xsane-common xscreensaver xscreensaver-data xscreensaver-gl xsltproc xterm xulrunner-1.9 xulrunner-1.9-gnome-support yelp zenity

should work. But be careful that nothing is removed that you might still need.

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as an FYI, 'ubuntu-desktop' is a meta package, it refers to all the other packages. therefore, removing just 'ubuntu-desktop' might not work. – Thomas Ward Jun 29 '12 at 13:17
Right, removing ubuntu-desktop is insufficient. The other list of packages would probably work better. – Bryce Jun 29 '12 at 23:32
Can I ask how you generated this list? I am guessing given its size that you did not recall this from memory. I ask as I have finally managed to upgrade my 8.04 to 10.04 and need to do the same for 10.04 so if there is a command that will let me get this list that would be great. – mathematician1975 Jul 3 '12 at 21:07

On Precise, it looks like this would clip out X11, the gnome desktop, and most GUI apps without removing anything that might be desirable to keep on a server.

sudo apt-get remove gsettings-desktop-schemas gnome-desktop*-data xserver-xorg-core

Don't know if this will work as is on 8.04 but it might. If not, it should get you pretty close.

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you can just remove X ..

sudo apt-get remove x11-*

this command will remove everything needed in a graphical environment.

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-1 That may remove too much. I tested running it and it wanted to also get rid of apache, emacs, and other stuff you probably want on a server. – Bryce Jun 29 '12 at 23:30

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