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What is the name of the software for Linux which has a command prompt (terminal)?

I am trying to download Linux with command prompt so that I can run it on VMWare, using a sandbox.

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migrated from Nov 27 '10 at 5:42

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All distros have terminals. – Flotsam N. Jetsam Nov 27 '10 at 16:21

Most Linux distros are capable of running with a command line. If you want one that is purely a command line then you just need to deselect all the graphical tools when you install.

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Just about any Linux can run from a command line.

Similarly, just about any Linux can run a complete desktop from your VMWare sandbox.

SUGGESTION: Try downloading a pre-built VMWare appliance of Ubuntu server from here:

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In some sense Linux is "all terminal", that is, the GUI runs atop the command line. If you remember the Windows 3.1-era, you'd boot your computer to DOS and then run Windows as a command, it's much the same with Linux today. The desktop that most distros run (KDE, GNOME) is just another program like, for example, Firefox.

You can get a terminal in a couple of easy ways. Most desktop environments (have a terminal):

  • GNOME has gnome-terminal
  • KDE has konsole
  • almost anything else has xterm

Since a desktop environment is running "atop" the command line, you can also grab an already-running terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1, that is press Control, Alt and the F1 key at the same time. To get back to the graphical session, press Ctrl+Alt+F7.

To answer your question then, any type of linux will do, but since you haven't any interest in running a desktop environment, you can safely get any "server" type of distro, Ubuntu Server, for example.

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XFCE has Terminal and LXDE has LXTerminal. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Nov 27 '10 at 18:26
And you can always install something else, I use urxvt-256color – Rob Nov 19 '11 at 6:12
Yeah, urxvt is a nice choice over xterm to get Unicode! – twopoint718 Jan 10 '14 at 17:39

If you are looking for a minimal Linux distribution without a GUI, snag the Debian netinst CD image. Install it, don't select any "tasks" or collections of packages, and you'll have a very minimal Linux system with pretty much nothing else but a shell and nano. Fits under 1GByte of hard drive space and works nicely if you want a super-minimal Linux VM. Plus just about any software you want is just an apt-get away.

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