How to: Run Ubuntu Server with a GUI?

How to: Run Ubuntu Server with a GUI?

Windows Azure allows you to run several Linux distributions and one of them is Ubuntu Server. I have been trying to use Ubuntu to deploy a WordPress installation so I was playing with the Ubuntu images. Because I am new with this I realized there is no easy way to remotely connect to a GUI and that the server version does not come with the Desktop package installed out of the box. However, installing the desktop/GUI on Ubuntu Server is rather simple:

First I recommend you get the latest updates first by running:

sudo apt-get update

You can install the default Ubuntu desktop by executing the following:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

alternatively you can install a light weight version:

  • To install graphical interface without addons like (Email, Openoffice): sudo aptitude install --without-recommends ubuntu-desktop
  • To install a very light weight desktop environment, just the basic GUI (xfce): sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

In order to start the desktop/GUI you need to type start-x

There are many desktop alternatives which you may install and use, like:

  • Gnome 3 installation: sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
  • KDE see Kubuntu installation: sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop
  • XFCE installation: sudo apt-get install xfce4
  • LXDE installation: sudo apt-get install lxde
  • Openbox installation: sudo apt-get install openbox
  • Gnome Classic a Gnome 3 desktop that looks like Gnome 2 installation: sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

Local and or remote administration

Except from the above you can administer your server by using a web based solution using less resources:

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