I'm trying out the new Ubuntu 16.04 Desktop and it turns out most things I didn't like about previous releases are now fixed and I'm considering using it for a personal server.

However I don't feel like redownloading a whole ISO to get the Server edition so how do I install a server/minimal edition of Ubuntu (without the GUI) from a Desktop ISO? I'm comfortable with the command line so I don't mind if your answers are about doing a manual install via the terminal.

Searching didn't reveal much and all the results are talking about the opposite (putting a GUI on Ubuntu Server), and while I know I can uninstall the GUI later on I would prefer to not install it altogether.


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    If you want to not install GUI is better to download the Ubuntu server version. In this way you are sure you won't installon your system useless software shipped with desktop version. – Danibix May 1 '16 at 13:24
  • Looks like you can do that from the command line. It has already been asked here: askubuntu.com/questions/498362/… – Terrance May 1 '16 at 13:49
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    The Server ISO has a different installer and package set on the ISO - it should be installed from the Server ISO or prebuilt images and not from the desktop ISO, in my opinion – Thomas Ward May 1 '16 at 14:31
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    I understand the concept, but they're too different. It's similar to saying, how can I install X software, using Y disc. The installer is built to install a desktop version, a server installer is not included. – user508889 May 1 '16 at 14:35

The Desktop installer is designed to rely for the most part on packages put on the ISO for the desktop edition including the GUI. It is not designed to install the GUI-less Server edition.

You have two real options here:

  1. Install the Desktop edition, then install server after wards and strip out the GUI packages.
  2. Download and install with the Server ISO. This will provide server packages on the ISO and the ability to select additional server packages to install and configure.

You don't really have other options here - unless you want a hybrid of Desktop/Server.


The Server download is anyway much, much lighter than the desktop ISO, but here:

I don't know if there is a way to selectively install packages on the Desktop installer, but you can do this on an installed Desktop system:

sudo apt-get purge ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-server
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    I believe this would work on an already installed system, but as I said I would like to not install the GUI at all. I want to install the Server edition directly from an already running Desktop instance. – André Borie May 1 '16 at 12:52
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    As other commenters have mentioned, that is not possible from an Ubuntu Desktop live DVD/USB. Your options are either 1) install Ubuntu Desktop with GUI, add Ubuntu Server packages, and then remove GUI packages, or 2) install Ubuntu Server directly, using either the Ubuntu Server .iso or the Ubuntu netboot mini.iso. – user533208 May 1 '16 at 15:35

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