I started with Ubuntu 12.04 minimal and added a couple of applications via apt.

Since these applications require GUI, I used sudo apt-get install xinit
And to start the applications I am doing startx application-name

Now I am facing few problems:

  • Not having a proper mouse pointer. Just have a "cross" instead.
  • Key combination Alt+Tab is not working; I cannot switch b/w open windows.
  • The windows are not having minimize, maximize, close buttons.
  • PS2 mouse works well, however USB mouse is not being detected.
  • The System does not output the sound. (Videos on youtube runs but w/o sound).
  • OPTIONAL: I am also looking for a way out to use mouse keys, i.e control mouse pointer using "Keyboard Numeric Pad

May someone please suggest me what all I need to install to rectify these issues.

PS: Since I require more of a server environment, I am not willing to install a Desktop manager.

  • Why exactly are you watching youtube on a server?
    – Darael
    Jun 16, 2012 at 17:19
  • Unrelated: For the mouse, do you get anything if you tailf /var/log/kern.log and plug in the mouse? That would tell us whether it was at least picking up the usb device.
    – Darael
    Jun 16, 2012 at 17:21
  • @Darael This is the only system in hand.. Its server for personal use, thus I can go for some personal tasks over it... I am looking for generic sound drivers.. Since when i boot up with a live CD, i get the sound. This install is from minimal.. Jun 16, 2012 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


You may not be willing to install a full desktop environment, but in order to get window decorations (including window controls) and the ability to switch between windows, you will still need a window manager. A good WM should help give you a nice cursor, too.

There are all sorts of lightweight window managers out there: fluxbox, openbox, and similar are very light indeed, but you may also want to look at Enlightenment, which is not quite as light but extremely full-featured.

I am not entirely sure about your sound problem, but the place to start looking would be ALSA packages. At a guess, you'll need at least alsa-base and alsa-utils. You may also need some pulseaudio stuff and/or alsa-oss; I forget which framework the Flash player uses.

  • isn't their any way out to use alt+tab functionality beside this? Jun 16, 2012 at 18:45
  • 1
    That's window management too, which is not done by X, so you need to install a window manager.
    – user244
    Jun 16, 2012 at 19:22
  • Some of the various window managers are very light indeed - but you can't get your alt+tabbing without one. EDIT: edited original for further info on sound.
    – Darael
    Jun 16, 2012 at 21:16
  • @Darael If i add metacity, will it serve the purpose? how can i achieve mouse-keys and sound functionality. if i pull up google-chrome via xinitrc i never get sound, everything else works fine Jul 3, 2012 at 8:20
  • 1
    @Z9iT If you add metacity, you'll get window-management, which will certainly provide alt-tabbing, the ability to raise windows, &c., and possibly mouse-keys, though I'm not sure about that bit. You won't get sound from metacity - as mentioned in the answer, you'll want to look at ALSA packages. In addition, if you really want lightweight, you should seriously consider using *box (fluxbox, openbox...) rather than metacity.
    – Darael
    Jul 5, 2012 at 15:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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