I want my system to boot terminal only, but be able to launch Unity once logged in. I've edited /etc/default/grub from :



GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash text"

and my system launches to the terminal fine, but when I try to launch unity I get:

WARNING: no DISPLAY variable set, setting it to : 0
compiz (core) - Fatal: Couldn't open display : 0

Everything goes back to normal when I restore the original GRUB configuration, so it looks to me like nothing is actually broken.

I'm running in a VM, and have now tested this with a clean install of Ubuntu, as well as with the Amahi installation I am trying to test. The same error occurs with the clean install.

So how can I actually start unity after a system start that doens't start it directly?

  • Are you using 12.04? – Anwar Oct 14 '12 at 19:38
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    How are you trying to start Unity? Are you using startx? – Seth Oct 30 '12 at 14:49

The startx command load only the default desktop environment without Unity or other user interface. The startx unity command can do this job, but I do not recommend it. You can test it and you'll see why.

To load with success the X display manager along with Unity from TTY, use next command:

sudo service lightdm start
  • 1
    To exit back to the shell, just do "sudo service lightdm stop" and CTRL-Alt-F1? – m0j0 Oct 19 '13 at 1:43
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    Did this answer work for you? sudo service lightdm start gives me the login screen but after that when I login everything is broken. – kapad Oct 25 '13 at 19:36
  • This answer did work for me. The only issue is when entering Unity this way the screen resolution has gone to a very low resolution... Maybe 800x600? But this is really OK as everything seems to still work. – Dave Collins Aug 31 '17 at 3:10

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