My environment:


  • CPU: Intel 2500K
  • RAM: Corsair 16GB 1600Mhz (4x4GB)
  • VGA: Sapphire ATI 5570 1GB DDR3
  • 2 Monitors (Dell 24" & Samsung 26")


  • Static IP
  • Net Down/Up speed: ~90Mbps/30Mbps

My purposes:

  • Run personal websites (~10-50 concurrent users)
  • Home media center (play musics & 720p/1080p movies)
  • Develop websites (using PHPStorm with Vagrant/VirtualBox)
  • Remote control with Teamviewer

I have tried Ubuntu Desktop 13.04 but it runs quite slow to my expectation, especially with Teamviewer (clicks need ~10-30 secs to response, both PC have same network speeds).

I am looking a distro (the more similar to Ubuntu the better as I'm a little familiar with Ubuntu) which is fast, minimal built-in software and not so complicated to manage or install drivers. I'm thinking of install Ubuntu Server 13.04 then install packages manually but I guess installing other softwares to meet my requirement (purposes) is quite complicated.

Please advice me a distro which has GUI with no or minimal built-in software as I dont need office, GIMP, FireFox (I prefer Chrome),...

EDITED: After done a search, I am thinking of install Ubuntu Server then install LXDE:

  • apt-get install xorg lxde-core

Then I start LXDE after login:

  • startx

Any comments? Do I need to run only those 2 command to get GUI for Ubuntu Server?

Thanks a lot!

  • 1
    Your hardware is really high-end and Ubuntu should run perfectly smooth on this! I'd ask a question on how to get this working properly on your hardware instead. Clicks should be responsive instantly, not 10-30s delay.
    – gertvdijk
    Jul 15, 2013 at 5:44
  • Shouldn't this question be more suited at the Unix & Linux Stack Exchange?
    – Alaa Ali
    Jul 15, 2013 at 6:11
  • 1
    To qertvdijk: Unresponsive clicks are for Teamviewer connection. To Alaa: I ask in Ubuntu website because Im familiar with Ubuntu. I am thinking of install Lubuntu then install server component or install Ubuntu Server then install lxde-core. That are both Ubuntu related. Jul 15, 2013 at 6:52
  • @MichaelBui, fair enough =). I just thought that they might have more insight on other Debian-based distros.
    – Alaa Ali
    Jul 15, 2013 at 7:01

2 Answers 2


Your dilemma is similar to situations I have faced. I wanted to set up a server that could double as a desktop machine, and I had other machines that would function exclusively as desktops.

The server was an IBM system x3400 m3. I tried installing a number of desktop and server distros, including CentOS 6, Debian 6, Linux Mint 13, and others. The only one that worked was Ubuntu Server 12.04. I installed it and then installed the desktop followed by KDE. It has been running for months with no problems whatsoever.

For my desktop machines, I settled on Linux Mint 13 LTS with KDE. Here again, the machines have been running flawlessly for months.

Recently, I tested or retested several other distros, including CentOS 6.5, Debian 7.2, Mageia 3, OpenSUSE 13.1, and PClinuxOS 2013. My criteria included ease of use, aesthetics, and ability to run some graphics-intensive modeling programs that require openGL. From this group, I was most favorably impressed by CentOS and PClinuxOS. However, all of the distros fell short of Ubuntu and Linux Mint, and so I am staying with Ubuntu server for my server and Linux Mint for my desktops.

Although I favor Mint for my desktops, I could also be satisfied using Ubuntu with KDE.


I run a 4 server/2 desktop environment, my hardware is a little dated and this is my configuration:

Servers: Ubuntu Server /w Kubuntu Desktop Installed (for remote ssh use) 12.04 LTS (x64) All Machines have Dual CPUs, each a Intel Core2 Duo 3.2Ghz -ish Each has about 80GB SCSI hard disk space, ranging from 2-6GB of ram Graphics Built-on Crappy Radeon 1st generation originally for windows 2003 No Sound, but I installed the ALSA PC-Speaker PCM device and get sound that way (works good, and it's pretty loud) Network Interfaces are all at 1 GigaBit (dual) and are using the Bus-Wired-Bus style of physical network layout (Ethernet cat5) The first server on the bus is the Web Server (apache 2 + drupal 6) The last 3 are combination local or remote tunnel (ssh -X) workstations They are super-responsive, the website gets about 20-80 connections max at a time

Desktops: Kubuntu 14.04.1 LTS, note the LTS and the .1 x64 Graphics: PCIX Radeon x1950, OpenGL 1.2 only :( but still works good HDD: 500GB Seagate SATA, DVD-RAM/RW CPU: Dual Core Intel 3.7Ghz x64 Sound: SB Audigy2/LiveDrive Periphrials: Keyboard, Mouse, Joystick

The above configuration gives me less than 1-second latency on clicks over ssh (i use 'xinit /usr/bin/ssh -X myhost /usr/bin/startkde -- :1 vt12' to start my session over the network which takes advantage of the server's speed and my local hardware. This is much better for me than vnc or rdp[win]. To keep things running good after setting it all up, there are a few things I keep in mind when using Ubuntu (or any derivative thereof):

  1. stick with either the most recent xx.04.1 LTS, so when they released 14.04 LTS, I was still using 12.04.1, because IMO I dont trust a release until it's had some road test time, that goes triple for servers.
  2. I never use wildcards when using apt-get if I am not TOTALLY sure that it wont bloat the system and make irreversible changes.
  3. I ALWAYS backup daily, my apt logs for safe keeping 4- I NEVER upgrade my kernel if it works just fine and always make sure I know what the kernel I am installing is intended for (ie, dont just install goldfish that will severely slow your desktop down :))
  4. Refrain from compiling software (not installing it unless i MUST, and if I do, make sure it goes to /usr/local, not /usr, and commercial software in /opt) using package manager instead and stick with one package manager (dont mix aptitude and software-center, muon-discover, etc)
  5. Make sure I take a snapshot of my home directory before major changes
  6. always use per-user settings and avoid /etc and such files like the plague if possible (not editing /etc/bash.bashrc instead of ~/.bashrc)
  7. Always reboot with M-SYSRQ-(R,E,I)S,U,B if the system hangs
  8. Use tftp or sftp instead of nfs
  9. dont use mysql server and other heafty daemons unless i really need it (i keep just one on my web server) and finally,
  10. finally, never enable the root account for login, and do all root commands using sudo and avoid the 'sudo su' command unless i need it bad enough

As far as installing, I ALWAYS install the Ubuntu Server first, then I install a package called 'kubuntu-desktop' and that does the rest. There are meta packages for the others too. I STRONGLY avoid mixing desktop/window managers because they don't play nice alot of the time (like Ubuntu, KDE, Gnome) and this is the same for the compositors (kwin, compiz, etc)

For me, this all works great, I've found Ubuntu to not work for me lately (after version 12.10, that is) because of some change does not like my graphics card and has problems, whats worse is with Unity8, which does not work period at this time for me. This may be different for you since you have a better system.

This is just my setup, your faster system should scream on that kind of setup since it is so much faster than my desktop system. I am not sure but maybe also try the low-latency kernel however I dont know if it is really that much faster, i only noticed a diff with Ubuntu Studio which uses it by default. (XFCE is pretty fast)

As far as Linux Mint is concerned, I had to hack the install disc just to get it to boot up right, and it has issues (at least 17 did) for me. I have also used Fedora and while it is nice, It is very alien to me (redhat/ubuntu pun intended!! get it?) and I'm too used to [k]ubuntu to switch for now. I can't vouch for the other millions of distros out there. I do know CentOS above is not based on Debian (its redhat) but Mint is basically derivative of ubuntu.

Of course, using lxde-core is good - personally I have used lxde-common and it has been my best fit, i use chrome as well, but also use firefox sometimes when it gets greedy. I have better luck with the official chrome than i did with chromium browser (it was really slow for me).

So now I hope this helps either you or someone elses question since this was asked little less than a year ago.

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