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I installed Ubuntu Server, and found that it only provides a command line interface

I know how to install a GUI, but I want to know whether I should do so. Am I better off sticking to CLI-only?

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    Don't call it DOS, please. It's a command-line interface (CLI) or text mode. DOS is a separate operating system (or rather a group of those) that is not related to Ubuntu.
    – Byte Commander
    Aug 9, 2017 at 18:41

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You can install a GUI to your Ubuntu Server installation just as you can install server related packages on an Ubuntu Desktop installation. Both ways are fine and will result in a working server with GUI.

Now about whether you should have a server with GUI or without, there are certain advantages and disadvantages:

  • Advantages of a GUI:

    • It might be easier to use and maintain for you if you are not too familiar with the command-line.
    • If you don't use it as pure web server, but also as personal work computer, having a desktop environment installed allows you to run graphical applications when necessary.
  • Disadvantages of a GUI:

    • Desktop environments and all their graphical components are big and complex programs and therefore surely contain numerous (undiscovered) bugs and potential security issues, which you should normally try to avoid wherever possible on a server facing the public internet.
    • A GUI needs more resources than a simple terminal interface. Depending on the desktop environment you chose, more or less RAM will be permanently consumed by it, whether you're actively using it or not. Of course while you're logged in to the desktop, it will also cause higher CPU load.
      Simply having the desktop installed but not started (if you boot straight into text mode and only start the GUI manually when needed) will of course not hog any resources except some disk space.

There might be more points for or against having a GUI on a server system, but I think those four are the most important aspects.

You have to weight them on your own and decide what is more important for you personally though, there is no strict right or wrong.

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