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After installing Ubuntu server how do I install the desktop environment?

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up vote 30 down vote accepted

Depending on which desktop you wish to install, you install the the meta-package that installs all the necessary packages. You can use apt-get or aptitude to do this.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

installs the Unity desktop

sudo aptitude install kubuntu-desktop

would install the KDE desktop

Other desktop meta-packages are xubuntu-desktop, ubuntu-gnome-desktop, lubuntu-desktop, and edubuntu-desktop .

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For onlookers, here's additional info I found useful that's on the same wavelength as the answer - – John K Aug 13 '10 at 3:30

If you wan to install a graphical desktop manager without some of the desktop addons like Evolution and OpenOffice, but continue to use the server flavor kernel use the following command

sudo aptitude install --without-recommends ubuntu-desktop
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+1 Very useful info. – John K Oct 18 '10 at 3:37
dam... started the install from the answer and scrolled down to this. :( – Meirion Hughes Jun 11 '14 at 8:29
my version of aptitude doesn't have that option. It does have --without-recommends – JHowIX Feb 3 at 17:09
@JHowIX try using apt-get instead, that one worked for me. – AZhu Feb 6 at 3:53
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends ubuntu-desktop or sudo aptitude install --without-recommends ubuntu-desktop – Hover Ruan Apr 21 at 2:31
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
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If you just need to run virtual GUI (GUI exsists but you dont need to see it) on the computer for testing or other purposes.

sudo apt-get install xvnc4viewer

Is a setup I have.


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So, the server isn't running the desktop, but you can still VNC from a client machine and get a desktop? That would be perfect for my needs (dunno about the OP). – Scaine Oct 16 '10 at 8:34
yeah you see a graphical shell. – Matt H May 8 '14 at 3:42

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