Uninstall GUI from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

I installed Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on my development machine. I don’t want GUI, i could download Ubuntu Server ISO and install it, but i have ISO for Ubuntu Desktop, so i decided to install Ubuntu normally, then un-install GUI.

First i removed lightdm and rebooted, now Ubuntu boot with out GUI.

apt-get purge -y lightdm

I had to press CTRL+ALT+F2 to get into login screen. But most part, i used SSH to login, so it is not a problem for me.

I uninstalled all unwanted packages one by one, i rebooted in between to make sure everything worked properly.

apt-get purge -y xterm
apt-get purge -y xorg*
apt-get purge -y x11-apps
apt-get purge -y unity*
apt-get purge -y x11-common
apt-get purge -y x11-utils
apt-get purge -y x11-session-utils x11-xfs-utils x11-xkb-utils x11-xserver-utils
apt-get purge -y gnome-*
apt-get purge -y totem-common
apt-get purge -y gir1.2-totem-plparser-1.0 libtotem-plparser18
apt-get purge -y xdg-utils xdiagnose xinput xdg-user-dirs-gtk xdg-user-dirs
apt-get purge -y apport apport-symptoms python3-apport bluez bluez-cups bluez-alsa brasero-common brltty
apt-get purge -y desktop-file-utils gedit gedit-common gir1.2-freedesktop gir1.2-notify-0.7 gsettings-desktop-schemas 
apt-get purge -y libfile-basedir-perl libfile-desktopentry-perl python-xdg python3-xdg remmina* sound-theme-freedesktop ubuntu-settings
apt-get purge -y adium-theme-ubuntu dmz-cursor-theme gtk2-engines-murrine gtk3-engines-unico hicolor-icon-theme 
apt-get purge -y plymouth-theme-ubuntu-logo plymouth-theme-ubuntu-text ubuntu-sounds ubuntu-ui-toolkit-theme xcursor-themes
apt-get purge -y gir1.2-gstreamer-1.0 gstreamer* 
apt-get purge -y espeak*
apt-get purge -y evolution-data-server-common
apt-get purge -y firefox*
apt-get purge -y gconf*
apt-get purge -y file-roller
apt-get purge -y gamin
apt-get purge -y metacity-common
apt-get purge -y fonts-tlwg-mono
apt-get purge -y nautilus*
apt-get purge -y pulseaudio*
apt-get purge -y policykit*
apt-get purge -y rhythmbox*
apt-get purge -y printer*
apt-get purge -y tracker*
apt-get purge -y transmission*
apt-get purge -y ubuntu-wallpapers*
apt-get purge -y update-manager*
apt-get purge -y usb-creator*
apt-get purge -y  update-notifier*
apt-get purge -y  yelp*
apt-get purge -y  zenity*
apt-get purge -y cups-browsed cups-bsd cups-client  cups-common cups-core-drivers  cups-daemon cups-filters cups-filters-core-drivers cups-pk-helper cups-ppdc cups-server-common
apt-get purge -y libcups2 libcupscgi1 libcupsfilters1  libcupsimage2 libcupsmime1 libcupsppdc1 python-cupshelpers python-cups
apt-get purge -y ubuntuone-client-data
apt-get purge -y apparmor
apt-get purge -y libqt4*
apt-get purge -y qtchooser qtcore4-l10n qtdeclarative5-ubuntu-ui-extras-browser-plugin-assets
apt-get purge -y libdbusmenu-qt5 oxideqt-codecs
apt-get purge -y example-content empathy-common
apt-get purge -y indicator*
apt-get purge -y parted
apt-get purge -y nano notify-osd-icons speech-dispatcher-audio-plugins sphinx-voxforge-hmm-en sphinx-voxforge-lm-en
apt-get purge -y whoopsie whoopsie-preferences libwhoopsie-preferences0 libwhoopsie0
apt-get autoremove -y

During the uninstall of packages, it removed network manager and eth0 lost its IP, so i run following command in console to get SSH access back.

ifconfig eth0

That was the IP used by the ubuntu install. To make IP permanent, i edited /etc/network/interfaces

vi /etc/network/interfaces


auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

cat /etc/network/interfaces

root@ubuntu:~# cat /etc/network/interfaces
# interfaces(5) file used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8)
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

Now on reboot, Ubuntu comes up with proper IP, No GUI.

Posted in Ubuntu

  • mike

    Hello Mate,

    Thanks for this I was stripping back an Nvidia Jetson board to get rid of all the chuff and found this useful.

    One thing that makes your Networking thing a lot easier is to simply:

    1. Create the /etc/network/interface file at the beginning
    2. apt-get purge -y network-manager && reboot

    Then pretty much you get rid of network manager straight away and reboot immediately to get back to SSH.



  • Paul Godden

    Nice post! I’ve got a second (v old) PC that has XP on it, that I wanted to dual boot – just for running a webserver on the local network on. This guide was perfect to help ditch the GUI!

    I had problems uninstalling lightdm initially though – I used ps-ef | grep bin/X from a console which showed that lightdm was still running. Killing X sorted that out.

    Regarding your (long) list of commands. I copied the whole lot and dumped them in a file which I made executable and ran. Go away and make a cup of tea and when you come back, all gone =)