I would like to have an install with:

  1. Ubuntu Desktop with no additional applications or games
  2. Graphical interface only when I manually run 'startx'

I am using Ubuntu server and would like a GUI, but do not want all of the additional desktop applications and games. (I'm using it with CLI mode.)


2 Answers 2


I did exactly this myself using:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop --no-install-recommends

Keep in mind that this will give you the bare minimum for a graphical desktop and will probably enable lightdm at startup. You can correct this by setting the kernel to boot to text mode:

  1. Open a terminal and run:

    sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  2. Change the line that reads:



  3. Run:

    sudo update-grub
  4. Restart.

Edit: Hmmm... that doesn't seem to be working. Probably you should just remove the lightdm package.


See the Server GUI documentation for how to do this. Before installing a GUI on an Ubuntu Server system, please take note of the good reasons given there for not to install or run GUI's on production servers.

On any Ubuntu system with a display manager installed (which provides graphical login), you can disable graphical login (requiring a user to run startx to start X11) using these instructions. However, since GDM is replaced with LightDM in Oneiric (though you can still install and use GDM if you want), you should run sudo service lightdm start instead of sudo service gdm start if you're on Ubuntu 11.10 (or later, as more releases come out).


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