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Background

I have put together my own desktop environment in Arch Linux, and I'm interested in setting up Ubuntu with the same environment. One way to do this is by installing Ubuntu Server and then adding my DE. However, I know there are packages (other than DE packages) in Desktop that are not in Server (eg. Software Center), so I'd like to install them as well.

I haven't spent that much time with Ubuntu in recent years, so I'm not totally familiar with it. My goal is to create a fully featured Ubuntu Desktop experience, except with a totally new desktop environment. I realize I can just install the entirety of Ubuntu Desktop and add another DE next to it, but I'd like to avoid that if I can. My setup includes custom Xorg and display manager settings, and I'd just like it to be alone on the system.

Questions

  1. What are all of the packages universal to all Ubuntu Desktop versions (eg Ubuntu, Xubuntu, etc.) that are neither in Ubuntu Server nor unique to a DE? Do I just remove all of the GNOME packages from the ubuntu-desktop metapackage to get the list I'm looking for, or is there more to it?
  2. Is there a better way to accomplish my goal? For example, would it better suit a desktop PC to start by manually installing the ubuntu-minimal and ubuntu-standard metapackages rather than Ubuntu Server (then from there add the packages from question 1)?
  3. Is there anything else that you would recommend I do to set up all the bells and whistles of a typical Ubuntu installation (minus any DE other than my own)?

Update

  • Your answers have helped, and I've decided on mini.iso instead of the server iso. I'm still trying to decide which packages to include to have as much of a full featured Ubuntu Desktop as possible without including GNOME, LXDE, Xfce, or KDE.

    I could cross-match each *buntu-desktop metapackage to get a list of common packages and convert that into a long apt-get command, but there are a lot of inconsistencies. Some are clearly Ubuntu and not a DE, but are unique to each DE because Ubuntu has decided to use different ones (eg. lubuntu-software-center vs software-center).

    1. Where should I go from here; do I have to individually analyze each non-intersecting package, or is there an easier way?
  • 1
    I think Ubuntu server also uses a slightly different kernel with different settings, like different frequency. That might be something to consider. – Galgalesh Nov 14 '14 at 21:37
  • PS I think this can help you: help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/LowMemorySystems – Galgalesh Nov 14 '14 at 21:44
  • Use the minimal cd - help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD . One of the main differences you will notice with Ubutu is that , in general, packages tend to have more dependencies in Ubuntu compared to Arch. In general it is much easier to start with a minimal install and build up rather then start with one of the desktops and start removing. – Panther Nov 15 '14 at 2:38
  • mini.iso looks good. At this point I'm trying to decide which packages to include to have as much of a full featured Ubuntu Desktop as possible without including GNOME, LXDE, Xfce, or KDE. I could cross-match each *buntu-desktop metapackage to get a list of common packages, but there are a lot of inconsistencies. Some are clearly Ubuntu and not a DE, but are unique to each DE because Ubuntu has decided to use different ones (eg. lubuntu-software-center vs software-center). Where should I go from here, should I individually analyze each non-intersecting package, or is there an easier way? – Drew Nov 15 '14 at 6:17

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