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Im running a virtual linux server on a low-end system, and i wold like to configure the server to boot in terminal window and not to the Gnome log in window, this is because of the low specs on the hardware.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

To disable gdm in Ubuntu 9.10 and 10.04 rename /etc/init/gdm.conf to /etc/init/gdm.disabled. In Ubuntu 9.04 it's /etc/event.d/gdm.conf

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fast and simple, this was what i was after. –  Darkmage May 5 '10 at 13:41
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The Ubuntu Server Edition is probably easier to use to create a fresh install of a headless server. But if you want to avoid reinstalling, use Aptitude to purge your desktop packages will get you there too.

Mainly you need to remove the ubuntu-desktop meta-package and let Aptitude remove all its dependencies. I think you can do this with:

sudo aptitude purge --purge-unused ubuntu-desktop

This should remove the entire GUI subsystem -- Xorg, Gnome, GDM, etc. It should leave you with the ubuntu-minimal and ubuntu-standard packages and their dependencies (to be sure, you can pin them in Aptitude). These are the base packages that all Ubuntu versions use (Server, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc).

Once you've done that, fire up Aptitude to install the packages you want on your server. If you want a lighter GUI, install Xubuntu (XFCE instead of Gnome, meta-package xubuntu-desktop) or Lubuntu (LXDE instead of XFCE, meta-package lubuntu-desktop).

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note it is possible to disable, rather than remove, GDM/X-windows. i'll leave that to another answer; Bobby's answer is good for earlier versions but won't work for the latest. –  quack quixote May 5 '10 at 12:44
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If you're intending to run Ubuntu as a server only, you should have a look at the Ubuntu Server Edition, which would eliminate all desktop-related processes and free up some resources.

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The easiest way for preventing boot up into an x environment (at least on Ubuntu 10.04) is to edit your grub file. Do this by:

  1. Typing the command: sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  2. Then locate the line that states: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet" (it might ="quiet splash").
  3. Change this line to read GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet text", save your changes and exit.
  4. Run the command: sudo update-grub
  5. Reboot

When you boot up, you will be in text mode. If you want to use the desktop, run the command: startx.

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Why did you install Gnome in the first place if you want a headless server? Anyway, maybe this little guide on how do deactivate the GUI helps you. Basically you use rcconf stop gdm and X.org from starting.

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that article looks ancient. ubuntu 10.04 doesn't even have /etc/rcX.d/gdm links anymore; it uses Upstart. this means the update-rc.d commands the article shows will not work. rcconf may have been updated to work with Upstart services, but it may not be too. that article would still be useful for earlier ubuntu versions tho. –  quack quixote May 5 '10 at 12:19
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