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I recently installed Ubuntu Desktop on an older machine, and the performance isn't what I'd like. I'd like to switch it over to Server (server kernel, drop the GUI, etc) with minimal hassle. What's the simplest way for me to do this, preferably without re-installing from CD?

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Have you considered using another desktop environment such as LXDE? sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop - this is a great GUI environment for older machines. –  fossfreedom Sep 18 '11 at 9:53
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1 Answer 1

It can be done with either one of these

sudo apt-get --purge remove gnome-desktop-environment

or

sudo apt-get --purge remove gnome-*

And there are probably even more methods. Re-installing, without formatting if you want to preserve settings, is most likely less time consuming though.

If you want to change the kernel you need to install these files:

linux-server
linux-headers-2.6.38-10-server
linux-headers-server
linux-image-2.6.38-10-server
linux-image-server
linux-restricted-modules-2.6.38-10-server
linux-restricted-modules-server
linux-ubuntu-modules-2.6.38-10-server

where 2.6.38-10 is the kernel version (change it to the one you are installing). And to remove the desktop kernel:

linux-generic
linux-headers-2.6.38-10-generic
linux-headers-generic
linux-image-2.6.38-10-generic
linux-image-generic
linux-restricted-modules-2.6.38-10-generic
linux-restricted-modules-generic
linux-ubuntu-modules-2.6.38-10-generic

Change 2.6.38-10 to the one you are using.

Warning:

  • changing kernels can bork your system beyond any repair.
  • do not remove the old kernel before you can confirm the new one to work.
  • ofcourse untested
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After you have done the above steps, try to purge libX11-6. If it fails to go away, you still have a lot X11-related stuff to purge. Rationale: everything that renders itself on an X11-desktop sooner or later depends on this library. Additionally, use apt-get autoremove and orphaner to purge leftover packages. –  aquaherd Sep 20 '11 at 21:34
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