The Debian image for the BeagleBone Black that they have on their website comes with a GUI by default. I'd like to completely disable the GUI, but in the simplest way possible. It is used as a headless device and doesn't need those resources sucked up.

I have successfully disabled it, but I feel my procedure is breaking things behind the scenes. All I am doing is:

apt-get remove lightdm

In retrospect, perhaps apt-get purge would be better.

Can anyone see holes in the method, or recommend a better method?


3 Answers 3


aptget remove lightdm should work fine, if you want to remove it. If you just want to disable it, go to /etc/rc2.d and delete the one with lightdm in its name.


Add following to /boot/uboot/uEnv.txt:

## For BBB Debian OS  
## This disables lightdm run from "/etc/init.d/lightdm".
  • 2
    For me the location of the file was /boot/uEnv.txt
    – Ben
    May 5, 2015 at 18:23

If you only want to disable the gui rather than removing it entirely, then instead of editing any rc.d files manually, the preferred way is to run the following command:

    sudo update-rc.d lightdm disable
  • 1
    Can you explain how this is any better than apt-get remove lightdm (which also does not edit any files manually)? Please do not respond in comments; edit your answer to make it more complete. Feb 14, 2017 at 19:15
  • @Scott - Disabling is not removing? apt-get remove lightdm removes it entirely, so you'd have to reinstall it entirely if you want to turn it on again. Disabling it just prevents it from starting, letting you turn it back on with just a simple configuration change later.
    – Fake Name
    Feb 28, 2017 at 2:48
  • @FakeName:  Are you asking me something or telling me something?   If you’re asking me something, please clarify.   If you’re telling me something, why you are you using a question mark? Mar 4, 2017 at 23:46
  • You asked how this answer is different from apt-get remove. This answer disables, rather then removes the package, which I would have thought was fairly self explanatory. Since I doubt you're asking about the definitions of "disable" vs "remove, I assume you're actually asking something else. Is that not correct?
    – Fake Name
    Mar 5, 2017 at 5:38
  • @FakeName: You have over 35,000 total reputation on Stack Exchange; you should know by now how to look at a post’s revision history.  If you look at the revision history for this answer, you will see that, at the time I posted my comment, the answer was very terse, not mentioning “disable” or “remove”, and not at all self-explanatory. (I’m still not clear why you used a question mark at the end of a declarative sentence, but no big deal.) Mar 7, 2017 at 0:09

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