Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Cross post from Serverfault

I have a laptop I'm running as a file server, which is running Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop. Now that summer heat is here, and because I love the environment, I'm look for all sorts of ways to reduce the laptop's power/memory/heat footprint.

One part I never touch any more is the GUI as the lids always closed.

I thought perhaps simply removing GDM from all run-levels my achieve this, so I did so using sysv-rc-conf. However this didn't make any difference and upon reboot the lovely Ubuntu boot screen and graphical login prompt appeared.

Please help!

Additionally, perhaps this is a silly question, I want to make sure that the monitor is off at all times the lid is closed, which it is already set to do when the GUI is running, can/do I need to configure this separately for non-GUI environments? (Seems to be doing this fine)

Thanks :D

EDIT: Ok maybe I'm using sysv-rc-conf wrong and it needed 2 reboots to apply the settings or something? As rebooting it a second time since removing GDM from all run levels I got a command prompt.

However I didn't watch it reboot and was a little confused by this, so I rebooted what I believe to be a 3rd time, and now it's booted to a black screen with a solitary white underline in the top-left, no other text. No amount of keyboard mashing in order to change run levels is having any effect, however I am able to access it via SSH and the SMB shares, so I suppose it's doing almost what I want. The lack of a CLI on the screen itself is still concerning however.

share|improve this question
No problemo! I'll try to be more patient in future – DanH Jun 8 '11 at 15:07
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Re-purpose using tasksel

Install sudo apt-get install tasksel

run sudo tasksel

Uncheck ubuntu-desktop

Check basic server

share|improve this answer
Just went through this, seems to have worked, but now networking seems to have been deactivated among god knows what else. You made it look too easy! – DanH Jun 8 '11 at 15:40
OK, seems all I needed to do was configure interfaces, pretty much all my other services survived. – DanH Jun 8 '11 at 16:17

Be careful, currently, the documentation says you should only use tasksel to install tasks, never to remove any (see bug details)

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the heads up – DanH Jun 12 '11 at 5:03

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.