I'm new to linux, I've windows 7 installed side by side with Ubuntu 12.04. I want to use Ubuntu for the sole purpose of programming and for that I've already removed many programs which I don't need For eg. Evolution, Media Players, etc.

Things I need for survival are:

  1. Chrome
  2. Python
  3. GCC
  4. PDF reader
  5. Vim
  6. Synaptic Package Manager

I seriously don't need anything else, but while removing some programs for eg. "The sound recorder", it says it'll remove "The Ubuntu Desktop system" as well, is it safe to remove it?

The Window Manager is still heavy on the graphics and there are still a lot of programs which I don't use and never will.
Is there any way to make it less graphic intensive like for example "Windows classic mode", and remove the heavy graphic versions all together.

Also I don't want to start from scratch as I've a slow internet connection and downloading packages and updates again will take a lot of time.

By graphics heavy I want to add the following as well

  1. The touch pad is slow, I don't know slow or not smooth.

4 Answers 4


You can try Lubuntu, as is the Ubuntu distro with the lowest requirements. LXDE is very similar to classic Windows (95-7), adding some interesting features (such multiple areas), so it's perfect for development.

Lubuntu comes with the following things that you want:

  • Chrom(ium)
  • Python
  • PDF reader
  • Vim (without help)
  • Synaptic

Just install GCC with sudo apt-get install gcc (or the version that you want), and you're ready to work! ;)

  • I just don't want to download another distro because my internet speed is quite slow. Would it be possible to switch desktop managers in Ubuntu 12.04 itself which wouldn't create any hassles in the future or should I go for Lubuntu completely? Jul 11, 2012 at 18:39
  • It's lubuntu.net, not .com! Jul 11, 2012 at 18:39
  • @KartikAnand You can just install LXDE instead of the entire OS. Just type sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop and done! Do this only if your Internet is faster than 300 Kb/s... ;)
    – Xerz
    Jul 11, 2012 at 18:57
  • @espectalll123 yes it's faster than 300Kb/s (If the small "b" is not a typo) :P Jul 11, 2012 at 19:01

ubuntu-desktop is just a metapackage that depends on other packages. Removing it won't do any harm.

I wonder if you really need a Linux desktop for programming Linux at all. If your target is embedded Linux, you could cross-compile using a plain gcc toolchain or cygwin, avoiding the dual booting at all.

Another option that you might want to investigate is coLinux. With some investigation, you can have synaptic at your windows desktop.

If these really don't fit it, consider running a minimal debian inside a virtual machine under windows, e.g. vmware-player, virtualbox or even the native virtual pc.

The most minimal window-manager I know of is twm. More Windows-95-ish is fvwm2. If you like to achieve a Solaris-like desktop within a few clicks, xfce4 or xubuntu is the way to go.

Happy coding!

  • I'm not using a VM because my laptop won't be able to bear it. Windows is a requirement for my college related activities while programming and development is more of a hobby which I'm trying to achieve through Ubuntu. My target is not embedded linux, rather I don't have a target at all, its more of an interest in coding :) Jul 11, 2012 at 18:37
  • @aquaherd: check out StumpWM :) Jul 11, 2012 at 18:57

Another scary-minimalistic window manager: i3

i3 is a tiling window manager, completely written from scratch. The target platforms are GNU/Linux and BSD operating systems, our code is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) under the BSD license.

i3 is primarily targeted at advanced users and developers. Based upon the experiences we made when wanting to hack/fix wmii, we agreed upon the following goals for i3:

  • What about 9wm or WindowMaker?
    – Xerz
    Jul 11, 2012 at 19:18
  • Or xmonad, which is similar to i3?
    – Xerz
    Jul 11, 2012 at 19:20

I recommend the Bodhi distro of Ubuntu if you are beginner.

You Forgot: Acpid, alsa, ubuntu-restricted, laptop-mode, graphics driver, gsynaptic Desktop Environments: Openbox (remember Obmenu), lxde, fvwm

Gvim > vim Chromium > Chrome. Evince > PDF reader

Add to list: eterm - (Decent I suppose) pcmanfm - (Rox-filler is lighter I think) xarchiver- (billions of file systems, compressions, and stuff yet unknown/created) vlc or minimal mplayer setup (Programming tutorials)

Mods: remove apparmor hacked up sysctl.conf preload local dns cache ck patched kernel repo x-swat repo for latest video drivers

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