I have a Ubuntu 12.04 server installed on a Hyper-V platform, mainly used for Nagios SNMP monitoring, but I'm interested to try and get a GUI installed so I can use the server for some other applications that don't use CMDLine.

I'm not sure if this is possible - but similarly in Backtrack the GUI is started via typing startx in the shell, but can choose not to use the GUI and continue using the CMDLine on boot. Is this possible with Ubuntu server, have a GUI installed, but have the choice to utilise cmdline when it first loads, and choose to load into the GUI as and when needed?

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This is easy enough to do, though not always a good idea (see `Arguments Against a GUI').

If you still want to proceed, it should be as simple as running:

aptitude install xauth

(Or use apt-get instead of aptitude if you prefer). If you also want a full desktop-environment (more than just X); you can also try:

aptitude install ubuntu-desktop

Fore more information and some alternatives to a full GUI, see this article.

EDIT: Meant to say, if you don't want to boot to the desktop environment by default, make sure to run update-rc.d -f gdm remove. You can stop GDM if it's already running with /etc/init.d/gdm stop. All of this will require root, of course, so sudo or su to taste.

  • Would installing Ubuntu-desktop still allow me to only access the GUI via startx – PnP Jun 12 '12 at 21:07
  • I don't know if it configures X to start GDM automatically or not by default, but running startx && /etc/init.d/gdm start should do it if not. You can also add GDM to your xconfig to start it evertime x starts. Chances are you don't want to do this on a server though. – Sam Whited Jun 12 '12 at 21:11

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