I really want to switch to Ubuntu 19.04 for my main workstation, however I want a very minimal installation with i3 and lightdm. I don't want to manually figure out which packages to purge on the regular Ubuntu installation, so I just tested the beta of the 19.04 server and selected absolutely no features in the installer. Even so it still holds quite a few server features, such as for instance cloud-init. So using the server image isn't really an option either.

How can I install a strictly minimal Ubuntu with no window manager, zero Gnome/KDE/XFCE/etc. based applications and really just the bare essentials to boot into a terminal? I'll add the necessary packages myself from there.

Note: I've looked through the similar questions, but they all suggest going the server route, which as mentioned really isn't all that feasible IMO as it adds too many server features.

1 Answer 1


You could look at using the mini.iso There is some info on that ISO over at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD. With that being said, the ISO does not support UEFI out of the box and requires you to add support if you need or want that. They also document a portion of this on that same page (direct link - https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD#mini_system_in_UEFI_mode).

I have been working on an Ansible script to build up an I3 install as well. If you get stuck on the UEFI portion, let me know. I did script it. However, I am not at my computer to grab that info.

  • I'll give the mini.iso a spin without UEFI at first, I'm not entirely sure it allows a minimal install. As I read it it's just for doing a network installation rather than downloading the entire image upfront (but I could be wrong ofc.)
    – Steffen
    Apr 5, 2019 at 17:28
  • @Steffen - no you are correct, it is a network install, but if you do not select any of the optional packages - it is about as minimal as you can get (from my understanding). Apr 17, 2019 at 18:47

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