Ubuntu Minimal Desktop

various linux minimal desktops

minimal install

share, rate, comments, complaints

thank you for your time to share, rate, comments and complaints this article on

others: BlinkListblogmarksco.mmentsconnoteadel.icio.usdiggFarkfeedmelinksFurlLinkaGoGoMa.gnoliaNewsVineNetvouzRedditSimpySpurlWistsYahooMyWebFacebook

please come back for more and updated on ubuntu minimal desktop installation.

thank you.

easy and fast

hell, this page is so very long…. i'm bored already….
ok. this is linux. it's all up to you. you decide what you want….
you can have other easy and fast alternatives, like:

complete control

or you can continue this minimal desktop installation if you like…
what make this installation different is that you have complete control what you want to install. you decide every single piece of your linux. you decide if you want opera over firefox or gnumeric over openoffice.org calc, etc… and it's still 100% ubuntu.

this guide is tested on the field with a complete newbies who never see/use linux before and use 100% windows and the system installed fine with all required hardware and software working!

warning & note:

  • i assume you install to an empty harddrive. at least. nothing important in the harddrive so that everything can be safely wiped out. i will not responsible for any data lost.

legends

  • everything started with a # meaning that is a comment line. that is for your eyes and you do not need to type it at all and you can safely ignore them.
  • all command started with $ is to be entered into terminal
  • if a command started with #$ meaning you should choose wheter or not to execute that command
  • multiple #$ means you should choose only one of the multiple commands
  • (almost) everything is optional. if you're in doubt in any part, you can safely skip it for later

ok let's get started…

  • first, install using server/alternate cd
  • boot your cd, choose your language, press F4 and choose "Install a command-line system"
  • if you use ubuntu minimal cd, enter 'cli' at boot prompt
  • if/when asked what to install, choose nothing. nothing at all. not base system. not minimal. nothing. deselect everything.
  • after ubuntu installed and restarted to your new installed system. login as usual.
  • now we start installing the system. let's the fun begins.

nb. it's most confusing for windows users that linux do not show any asterisk when you enter your password. the password line just blank whatever you type into it. and it's intentional. just key in your password and press enter.

update & upgrade

this step is optional but highly recommended.

as with everything in linux. all and everything is optional. you decide what you want.
do NOT install anything that you will not use/want.
if you want to install everything, you'd better go with the ubuntu livecd installer.

#first, make things easier...
#if you want these alias activated everytime you login, put it into bashrc with all other aliases
# with alias, you can shorten any command to save few keyboard strokes.
$ nano -w .bashrc
alias nano='nano -w'
alias update='sudo aptitude update'
alias upgrade='sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude safe-upgrade'
alias iapt='sudo aptitude install'
alias suapt='sudo aptitude'
alias sudeb='sudo gdebi'

now, do the update & upgrade

$ sudo aptitude update
$ sudo aptitude safe-upgrade
$ sudo aptitude full-upgrade

# then you can always use 'suapt install' in place of 'sudo aptitude install'
# this guide will keep the full syntax for clearity purpose.

quick start

this ONE SINGLE line is all you need to get your minimal desktop.

$ sudo aptitude -y install xserver-xorg-core xinit menu menu-xdg jwm fluxbox alsa-utils mrxvt gdebi-core synaptic logrotate localepurge

if you got missing packages or any error, please check the repo section and make sure your repo do not have this bug:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/116387

users & groups

add more users

$ sudo adduser newlinuxusername

add users to groups

add your users to certain groups to allow you play music/video, mount, etc…

$ sudo usermod -aG dialout,cdrom,floppy,audio,video,plugdev,fuse,lpadmin yourusername

FINISH !

that's all it!
you got somewhat minimal desktop.

now you can get into your desktop with:

$ startx

this is what you got:
2617083523_920f255ebe.jpg

then, you can use synaptic to install any other apps:

$ sudo synaptic

or, you can continue for more fun…

minimal X

if you do not like fluxbox above, you can choose to install any other wm. just replace the fluxbox above with any of these desktop/wm.

only choose ONE for small system. if you have enough resources, you might install more to try out any of them…

#$  sudo aptitude install jwm
#$  sudo aptitude install fluxbox
#$  sudo aptitude install fvwm-crystal
#$  sudo aptitude install icewm icemc wmctrl
#$  sudo aptitude install --without-recommends lxde-core
#$  sudo aptitude install --without-recommends lxde 
#$  sudo aptitude install xfce4
#$  sudo aptitude install gnome-core
#$  sudo aptitude install kde-core
#$  sudo aptitude install kde4-core
#
  • generaly, i try to sort them with their memory usage. if you have absolute minimal ram (64meg) use the first (jwm/fluxbox only)
  • at most bottom, gnome-core, kde-core and kde4-core is the heaviest. avoid them if you have very small ram (<128meg)
  • for n00b, maybe lxde/xfce4 is easier to use
  • see also: install fvwm-crystal on debian

LXDE

  • lxde is very cool. you need to add repo to install it. see http://wiki.lxde.org/en/Ubuntu
  • lxde recommends gdm, a huge monster apps that depends on other monster apps. use —without-recommends switch so that you wont install those monster.

first, put the lxde repo into /etc/apt/sources.list :

#$  sudo nano -w /etc/apt/sources.list
# then paste this line into it:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/lxde/ubuntu hardy main
# then:
#$  sudo aptitude update
#$  sudo aptitude install --without-recommends lxde
  • update: if you got problem from old lxde repo, make sure you remove the apps from that old repo first:
#first, remove apps from old repos
$ sudo aptitude purge lxde lxsession-lite lxappearance pcmanfm lxpanel
# then do the install
$ sudo aptitude install --without-recommends lxde

more on window manager

choosing your x session / window manager

you can choose alternatives xsession/xwindow manager ONLY IF you install more than one of those.
if you only install one, you got no alternatives to choose from.

sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager
$ sudo update-alternatives --config x-window-manager

or, you can create .xsession

# to create .xsession file, open a terminal and enter:
#$  nano -w .xsession
# and put one of these into it:

# uncomment (remove the #) only ONE that you want to use. 
# and comments (put # in front of it) all the others that you do not use

exec startfluxbox
# exec startlxde
# exec startxfce4
# exec icewm-session
# exec fvwm-crystal

graphical login, display manager

this is OPTIONAL!
skip this if you dont know about it. it uses more ram.
try install qingy instead of any of these.

you can even automatically login and startx when you turn on your pc.

unless you have to. ie, fix problem with X display drivers etc..
http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/x-display-manager

# install ONLY ONE of these
#$  sudo aptitude install wdm
#$  sudo aptitude install xdm
$ sudo aptitude install slim
#$  sudo aptitude install gdm
#$  sudo aptitude install kdm

slim seems to disregard .xinitrc
so, if you use slim and you might want to rename to .xsession

$ mv .xinitrc .xsession

windows refugee

network neighborhood

$ sudo aptitude install smbfs 
#$  sudo aptitude install smbc #ncurse client
$ sudo aptitude install pyneighborhood

browsers

lighter fox

$ sudo aptitude install libstdc++5 
$ wget -c ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/1.5.0.12/linux-i686/en-US/firefox-1.5.0.12.tar.gz
$ sudo tar zxvf ~/firefox-1.5.0.12.tar.gz -C /opt

swiftweasel, the optimized fox

compiled from firefox source and optimized for speed
http://swiftweasel.tuxfamily.org/

# first, setup the repo by adding this one line into /etc/apt/sources.list
 deb http://download.tuxfamily.org/swiftweasel hardy multiverse 
# then install the one optimized for your cpu
# examples:
#$ aptitude search swiftweasel
#$ sudo aptitude install swiftweasel-prescott

full blown browsers

sudo aptitude install  opera 

# full blown huge heavy monster fox
#$  sudo aptitude install firefox-2
$ sudo aptitude install firefox flashplugin-nonfree sun-java5-plugin ubufox adblock-plus firebug firefox-greasemonkey firefox-webdeveloper

plugins, extensions, etc

$ sudo aptitude install flashplugin-nonfree sun-java5-plugin
$ sudo aptitude install ubufox adblock-plus firebug firefox-greasemonkey firefox-webdeveloper

# to make plugins works for firefox 1.5 or swiftweasel
$ cd /opt/firefox/plugins
$ sudo ln -s  /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so 
$ sudo ln -s /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.5.0-sun-1.5.0.15/jre/plugin/i386/ns7/libjavaplugin_oji.so

internet explorer 5, 5.5, 6

$ sudo aptitude install wine cabextract
$ wget http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/downloads/ies4linux-latest.tar.gz
$ tar zxvf ies4linux-latest.tar.gz
$ cd ies4linux-*
$ ./ies4linux

google chrome

http://it.dennyhalim.com/2008/09/google-chrome-on-ubuntu-hardy.html

other browsers

connection

# dial-up
# terminal:
#$  sudo aptitude install pppconfig
# gnome:
#$  sudo aptitude install gpppon
# or
#$  sudo aptitude install gnome-ppp
# for kde:
#$  sudo aptitude install kppp
#$  sudo aptitude install kppp-kde4

dial up, softmodems / winmodems / linmodems

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DialupModemHowto

adsl pppoe

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ADSLPPPoE

minimal apps

you might want additional apps.
http://linuxondesktop.blogspot.com/2007/03/13-applications-to-install-on-ubuntu.html

see tiny linux applications

# other stuffs
$ sudo aptitude install openjdk-6-jdk pidgin gkrellm wine qemu gxine xarchiver evince
# tools for desktop
#$  sudo aptitude install conky
#$  sudo aptitude install gkrellm
# 
# stuffs i like, tools i use
#$  sudo aptitude install zim

alternatives apps:

multimedia (dvd,wmv,quicktime,realplayer,etc…) https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats

games emulation

emulator for playstation, super nintendo, gameboy advance, atari, amiga, sega genesis/megadrive

$ sudo aptitude install pcsx zsnes vbaexpress hatari uae dgen

Junior

# see the list of apps for junior. select which ones you want
$ aptitude search junior
$ sudo aptitude install gnuchess gcompris childsplay junior-art junior-internet
# make gnuchess works from gcompris
$ sudo ln -s /usr/games/gnuchess /usr/games/gnome-gnuchess

tasksel

WARNING: do not use tasksel to remove any apps until this bug is fix:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/tasksel/+bug/150252

easily install a group of apps with tasksel.

$ tasksel --list-tasks
#$  sudo tasksel install edubuntu-server
#$  sudo tasksel install lamp-server
#$  sudo tasksel install xubuntu-desktop

use OLPC XO without buying one

$ sudo aptitude install sugar sugar-activities sugar-emulator

ubuntu netbook remix

#these line into /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/netbook-remix-team/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/netbook-remix-team/ubuntu hardy main
#then do:
#$ sudo aptitude install go-home-applet human-netbook-theme maximus ume-launcher window-picker-applet
#$ sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart

more multimedia. medibuntu

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats

# get video from your handycam
#$  sudo tasksel install ubuntustudio-video
# 
$ sudo aptitude install vlc ubuntu-restricted-extras

$ wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/hardy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
$ sudo aptitude update
$ sudo aptitude install medibuntu-keyring
# what's in medibuntu? http://www.medibuntu.org/packages.php
$ sudo aptitude install skype googleearth mplayer

multimedia center

$ sudo aptitude install elisa
$ sudo aptitude install mediatomb

cd ripper

easy ripping

# choose one of these
#$  sudo aptitude install sound-juicer
#$  sudo aptitude install grip

secure ripping

$ sudo aptitude install ruby libglade2-ruby ruby-gnome2 libgettext-ruby-util cd-discid cdparanoia lame vorbis-tools flac normalize-audio mp3gain vorbisgain

# get latest rubyripper
$ wget http://rubyripper.googlecode.com/files/rubyripper-x.x.x.tar.bz2
$ tar zxvf rubyripper-x.x.x.tar.bz2
$ cd rubyripper-x.x.x
$ ./rubyripper_gtk2.rb

other options for linux secure ripping

dvd ripper

http://www.linux.com/feature/128105

# one of these
$ sudo aptitude install thoggen
$ sudo aptitude install dvdrip

connect your mobile phones

try one of these

$ sudo aptitude install gnome-phone-manager
$ sudo aptitude install wammu
$ sudo aptitude install xgnokii
$ sudo aptitude install gmobilemedia
$ sudo aptitude install kmobiletools
$ sudo aptitude install xgsmlib #not in hardy (yet?)

server

remote access

remote access server

depends on how you want to access your pc remotely.

$ sudo tasksel install openssh-server
$ sudo aptitude install openvpn
$ sudo aptitude install xrdp # allow any windows rdp client connect to your linux
$ sudo aptitude install x11vnc

remote access client

$ sudo aptitude install kvpnc # kde vpn client
$ sudo aptitude install network-manager-openvpn #manage openvpn on gnome
$ sudo aptitude install rdesktop #rdp cli
$ sudo aptitude install tsclient #framebuffer/x gui for rdesktop
$ sudo aptitude install gnome-rdp # heavy weight rdp for gnome
$ sudo aptitude install krdc # heavy weight rdp for kde

webdeveloper

$ sudo aptitude install filezilla  firefox-webdeveloper geany kompozer openjdk-6-jdk

software developer

$ sudo aptitude install geany build-essential checkinstall
#kernel source
#$ sudo aptitude install linux-headers-2.6.24-19-server openjdk-6-jdk

mindmap

$ sudo aptitude install vym freemind

chinese

chinese fonts

only to let you browse sites with chinese characters

$ sudo aptitude install ttf-wqy-zenhei

complete chinese system

$ sudo aptitude install language-support-zh
#$ sudo aptitude install language-pack-zh xfonts-intl-chinese xfonts-intl-chinese-big scim-pinyin

religion

$ sudo aptitude install biblememorizer bibletime gnomesword sword-text-kjv sword-text-web 
$ sudo aptitude install display-dhammapada
$ sudo aptitude install minbar itools zekr

restricted

includes binary driver for nvidia/ati/etc…

#$  sudo aptitude install linux-restricted-modules-generic
# or, if you install the server cd:
#$  sudo aptitude install linux-restricted-modules-server

$ sudo aptitude install envyng-gtk linux-headers-generic
# if you're using server cd, replace  linux-headers-generic with   linux-headers-server

other applications

see tiny linux applications
first, the easiest way is to check if the apps you want is in the repo:

$ sudo synaptic
#or
$ aptitude search what you search for
#then
$ sudo aptitude install what-is-found

if you cant find there, then try these:

misc etc

  • polipo: small caching proxy
  • gdebi: install deb packages and its dependencies
$ sudo aptitude install gdebi polipo
# warning: polipo cache can grow to fill your harddrive. do manual clean up once a while

ubuntu repositories

ubuntu /etc/apt/sources.list with better local mirror

use this mirror ONLY if you're in Indonesia. for Indonesia ONLY!

the default ubuntu mirror for indonesia (id.archive.ubuntu.com) point to ubuntu.indika.net.id is heavily broken.
you will get LOTS of 404 errors.
wonder why ubuntu use it…

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/IndonesianLocalSourcesList

# to easily replace id.archive.ubuntu.com with dl2.foss-id.web.id use this:
#$  sudo nano -w /etc/apt/sources.list
# then press CTRL-\ 
# and then enter id.archive.ubuntu.com in what to replace. 
# then enter dl2.foss-id.web.id for the replacement
# or, you can just copy from here and replace everything in your sources.list
# then CTRL-X to exit. and choose save when asked.

# for any other countries, you can use archive.ubuntu.com to use main server
# but depends on your isp, this might slow down your connection.

# deb cdrom:[Ubuntu-Server 8.04 _Hardy Heron_ - Release i386 (20080423.2)]/ hardy main restricted
# See http://help.ubuntu.com/community/UpgradeNotes for how to upgrade to
# newer versions of the distribution.

deb http://dl2.foss-id.web.id/ubuntu/ hardy main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://dl2.foss-id.web.id/ubuntu/ hardy main restricted universe multiverse

deb http://dl2.foss-id.web.id/ubuntu/ hardy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://dl2.foss-id.web.id/ubuntu/ hardy-updates main restricted universe multiverse

deb http://dl2.foss-id.web.id/ubuntu/ hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://dl2.foss-id.web.id/ubuntu/ hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository. This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is
## offered by Canonical and the respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu
## users.
#deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu hardy partner
#deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu hardy partner

# deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu hardy-commercial main

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-security main restricted universe multiverse

ubuntu main server

if you're from any other countries, you can use this repo.
it loads everything from ubuntu main server.
not from local mirrors.
thus, it might slower than your local mirrors.

# deb cdrom:[Ubuntu-Server 8.04 _Hardy Heron_ - Release i386 (20080423.2)]/ hardy main restricted
# See http://help.ubuntu.com/community/UpgradeNotes for how to upgrade to
# newer versions of the distribution.

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy main restricted universe multiverse

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy-updates main restricted universe multiverse

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ hardy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository. This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is
## offered by Canonical and the respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu
## users.
#deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu hardy partner
#deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu hardy partner

# deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu hardy-commercial main

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu hardy-security main restricted universe multiverse

additional / third party repos

# /etc/apt/sources.list.d/others.list

## Medibuntu - Ubuntu 8.04 LTS "hardy heron"
## Please report any bug on https://bugs.launchpad.net/medibuntu/

deb http://mirror.unej.ac.id/medibuntu/ hardy free non-free
#deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ hardy free non-free
#deb-src http://packages.medibuntu.org/ hardy free non-free

#ebox
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/juruen/ubuntu hardy main

# Google software repository
deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ stable non-free

#opera
deb http://deb.opera.com/opera-beta/ stable non-free

#swiftweasel
deb http://download.tuxfamily.org/swiftweasel hardy multiverse

#lxde/lxpanel http://lxde.org
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/lxde/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/lxde/ubuntu hardy main

# telepathy, empathy
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/telepathy/ubuntu hardy main restricted universe multiverse

# ekiga snapshots
# gpg --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 3596ED6E 
# gpg --export --armor 3596ED6E | sudo apt-key add - 
# you have to enable hardy-updates before install
#$  sudo aptitude install ekiga-snapshot
deb http://snapshots.ekiga.net/snapshots/ubuntu/ hardy main

QA

  • why everything use aptitude?
        • somewhat n00b friendly. minimal fussing with apt/source.list, no tedious install from source
        • it ease my life. any new apps, bugfix or security update i just do aptitude upgrade
  • why not apt-get
        • aptitude keep a record of what you install and offer you to remove unneeded dependencies.
        • google for more info

related

note: some of these projects may need you add more repositories
other similar projects:

Add a New Comment
or Sign in as Wikidot user
(will not be published)
- +
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License