Getting a GUI in Ubuntu Server

Wanted to try out Ubuntu Server, but with a GUI.

You can get a GUI by running:

$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

However, then you will get the whole thing. This means it will also include all those applications and games that Ubuntu Desktop comes with. Don’t want that. You can get a much slimmer version by running:

$ sudo aptitude install --without-recommends ubuntu-desktop

In both cases, reboot when it’s done and it should boot into the regular desktop environment.

Administrator password

For some reason, you won’t be able to access the Synaptic Package Manager, or add package sources in the Software Center thing (or what it was called) until you have set a root password. When you open these it doesn’t ask you for authorization like other administration stuff does, but for the administrator password. I don’t know why this happens (can’t recall it happening when using regular Ubuntu Desktop), but you can set the root password if you open up a terminal and run:

$ sudo passwd root

If someone has an explanation to why this happens in Ubuntu Server and not in Ubuntu Desktop, I would like to hear about it!

  • Aloysius

    Great information for a newbie to Ubuntu Server, one day I might get past needing a GUI. Thanks very much!

  • Caleb

    Thanks!!! I use ubuntu-server and i didnt know it didnt come with a gui. THis will deffinatly help me.

    • Igorrr

      Thank you!

  • Mark

    Great stuff… web is full of instructions and this was just what i was looking for.. simple, easy and accurate! nice one 😉

    • Yeah, that was my impression too, which is why I noted my findings down here 😉 Good to hear they work!

  • Guest

    Thank you!