Ubuntu School – GUI (xubuntu-desktop) for Ubuntu Server

Whether it's because you're not fully versed in the power of the command line, or you just want to use a tool that will speed things along like gparted, the command-line isn't always the best tool for the job. Sometimes you just need a GUI, even if it's just for a few minutes. I'm going to walk through how to do the installation on Ubuntu 11.10 with the assumption that you only want the GUI occasionally, and don't want it consuming server resources all the time.

The first step is to get the GUI tools installed. ``` sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop ```

That was the simple part. At this point you now have the GUI installed, but it will start the GUI every time the system boots, loading all of that extra cruft into memory. The next steps that I followed from a post on Techinote shows the steps to disable the automatic startup of the GUI environment.

``` sudo apt-get install lightdm

sudo nano /etc/default/grub ```

find the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT and set it to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="text"

``` sudo update-grub

sudo update-rc.d -f lightdm remove

sudo shutdown -r now ```

Done!

Your system will now be at the text-based login screen (as it was before this all started). When you need to use the graphical environment, simply type startx and it will move you into an already authenticated GUI desktop environment. This will allow you to setup and configure tools with a GUI (like CrashPlan) without having to rely the UI being constantly loaded and running in the background.