Install GUI in Ubuntu Server

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We have already discussed how to install ubuntu 9.04 LAMP server .If you are a new user and not familiar with command prompt you can install GUI for your ubuntu LAMP server using the 2 options

1) Install desktop Environment

2) Install Webmin

1) Install desktop Environment

First you nee to make sure you have enabled Universe and multiverse repositories in /etc/apt/sources.list file once you have enable you need to use the following command to install GUI

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

The above command will install GNOME desktop

If you wan to install a graphical desktop manager without some of the desktop addons like Evolution and OpenOffice, but continue to use the server flavor kernel use the following command

sudo aptitude install --without-recommends ubuntu-desktop

If you want to install light weight desktop install xfce using the following command

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

If you want to install KDE desktop use the following command

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

2) Install Webmin in Ubuntu

Webmin is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix. Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache, DNS, file sharing and much more. Webmin removes the need to manually edit Unix configuration files like /etc/passwd, and lets you manage a system from the console or remotely.Currently There is no Webmin package in the Ubuntu repositories.This tutorial will explain how to Install Webmin in Ubuntu Jaunty

You can install webmin for your server web interface to configure apache2,mysql,FTp servers and many more.Now we will see how to install webmin in Ubuntu 9.04

Preparing your system

First you need to install the following packages

sudo aptitude install perl libnet-ssleay-perl openssl libauthen-pam-perl libpam-runtime libio-pty-perl libmd5-perl

Now download the latest webmin using the following command or from here


Now we have webmin_1.470_all.deb package install this package using the following command

sudo dpkg -i webmin_1.470_all.deb

This will complete the installation.

Using the Webmin APT repository

If you like to install and update Webmin via APT, edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file on your system

sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list

add the line

deb sarge contrib

Save and exit the file

You should also fetch and install my GPG key with which the repository is signed, with the commands : cd /root


sudo apt-key add jcameron-key.asc

You will now be able to install with the commands

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install webmin

All dependencies should be resolved automatically.

Ubuntu in particular don’t allow logins by the root user by default. However, the user created at system installation time can use sudo to switch to root. Webmin will allow any user who has this sudo capability to login with full root privileges.

Now you need to open your web browser and enter the following


Now you should see similar to the following Screen

After login if you want to configure Apache,Mysql server you need to click on Servers on your lefthand side you should many servers are ready to configure

This is very Easy to configure most of the servers and Enjoy your new Ubuntu Jaunty LAMP Server.

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89 Responses

  1. Noname says:

    sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list … lol “gedit”
    with nogui ?

    sudo (vi, nano…etc) /etc/apt/sources.list

  2. Matt says:

    Webmin has been abandoned since 2007, iirc. Have you tried eBox?

  3. Paul says:

    Webmin is not abandoned and is still being actively developed. (See for details.) I use it for DNS & DHCP management all the time.

  4. Matt says:

    That is good news! I had given up on it after seeing and couple of mailing list emails. The first of the emails indicated that the primary developer was trying to get someone to take over the project. The second set of emails indicated that the primary developer had not been able to get any help.

    Who cares, I guess. It’s being updated, which is what is important.

  5. Deechster says:

    Very helpful post. I tried to do this with apttitude (<- sp & context?) during the Ubuntu Server install process several times over the weekend and did not have much success. Too bad I didn’t read this article on Friday.

    Because I like doing things the right way from the start, how would one go about doing this during Ubuntu Server install instead of after the server is installed?

    Thanks again,


  6. Dan Hansen says:

    if you want to install the ubuntu gui in ubuntu server 9.04 without useless apps, you have to use

    “sudo aptitude install

    no-install-recommends ubuntu-desktop”

    and not the apt-get install command

  7. Paul Hemans says:

    Thanks heaps, finding this post was such a relief!

  8. Surya says:

    Hi, Good article. I tried to install with option --no-install-recommends and this option is obsoleted and replaced by --without-recommends

  9. The Doctor says:

    Weak. Why would I want to install a GUI that requires more RAM, CPU usage, dedicated monitor & keyboard (plus associated power consumption)… or am I expected to RDP/VNC into it?

    Just install Webmin & get a Ubuntu Server book. SSH into the server to admin it. You’ll still have a nice, “point-and-clicky” fall back.

    OP could’ve mentioned /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ usage.

    “sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/webmin.list” & paste the following:

    # /etc/apt/sources.list.d/webmin.list
    # wget -q -O – | sudo apt-key add – && sudo apt-get update
    # Webmin packages
    deb sarge contrib

  10. Ram Sainath says:

    Hi people:
    Hope my earlier posting got through. If it did, this one’s the same !!
    I’m a rookie to this website. Did everything you said to all the way to the last step sudo apt-get install webmin . Two problems: (1) COULD NOT launch/view the secure website on Firefox UNTIL I created an exception for a “missing” certificate (edit/preferences/advanced/encryption/view certificates). I thought wget (got to add sudo before the wget) followed by sudo apt-key add jcameron-key.asc should have taken care of the certificate problem.
    (2) No able to remote access this secured site from another desktop.
    Any suggestions ?
    Thanks people

  11. Geek says:

    Why bother with this and still have problems like Ram Sainath mentioned earlier with certificates, etc.

    My recommendation, install already pre-build system that is already setup by experts. One was already mentioned earlier ebox. So take a look at servers that have web based user interfaces, but no GUI, so no security risks and no system slowdown. Here are some I have found: – Ubuntu Based – CentOs Based – CentOs Based – CentOs Based

    If anybody knows of any additional server distros that have web based control pre-installed, but no GUI, I would be interested to see them here.

  12. Sridhar Pandurangiah says:

    I ran
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

    on Ubuntu 9.04. It updated a whopping 200+ packages! Too bad I didn’t read Dan Hansen’s comment.

    Nevertheless when I give the command

    /etc/init.d/gdm start

    I get the message
    bash: /etc/init.d/gdm: No such file or directory

    Best regards


  13. asdasdsad says:

    Worked like a charm!

  14. Jim says:

    Thanks! Good article for those of us who are new to Linux and want to learn by playing around with their home Linux box.

    The updated link for the WGET command is

    Installing a pre-build by experts is a good idea for production but, for learning purposes, doing everything yourself and encountering problems and obstacles is a great way to learn.

    “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice”

  15. Devendra says:

    hi all
    how can install ubuntu server in gui mode please guide me

  16. Martin says:

    Hey, thanks for this article, it just saved my life! I have no intention of running a server, i simply downloaded the wrong version of ubuntu and didn’t realise until after install. Problem is I have no CD drive so changing is no simple matter and I need a GUI to get unetbootin working, i had no idea what package i needed to install lol cheers 😀 this article is not as useless as some posts indicate!

    P.S. Devendra, I don’t think its possible to install the server in GUI mode, servers are designed to work without GUI so they are faster, this article is simply to help people who are less experienced, there is a link at the top that takes you through the install though. as one of the other comments suggest though anyone who needs a GUI on a server doesn’t have enough experience to run it properly and should probably learn more first otherwise it may be rather insecure.

  17. littlebear says:

    Erm, servers can run with GUI and they aren’t much slower, the rendering of drawing do take some processing but it’s more convenient then firing up ssh and type commands.

  18. Clayp says:

    a server with a gui is just a prerequisite for freenx or other remoting tool that will absolutely kill the upstream speed of the server, unless you are just managing a box within the domain. If you use ssh to view an idle server with a gui, you can see that on any box with a post 2000 cpu gdm/xdm barely uses any cpu slice and memory. So go ahead, just don’t fool yourself and think that you can use a gui to manage the server from more than a few local hops.

  19. gtwcmt says:

    Im just getting into linux after a long break,(very long) having a GUI makes things a little more easier when trying to do some tasks. Drag and drop is so much easier than typing in lots of code.

    webmin is a good UI, I have tried a few of them even tried ISPconfig to manage the server but it caused me a lot off issues.

    Trying to use webmin and ispconfig is pretty much ok, but I think webmin is a lot better, though it comes with very little documentation on screen.. though there is lots of guides on line and videos on the Utube.

    BTW I think the page needs to be updated as the pre install lib fails
    and the software is updated..


    should be entered for the latest (current) version.

    Also Im checking out the ebox link, looks ok and comes with GUI?? I will soon see if it does what I think or want..

  20. junkbox says:

    @The Doctor – Comments like yours are always amusing.

    “Weak. Why would I want to install a GUI that requires more RAM, CPU usage, dedicated monitor & keyboard (plus associated power consumption)… ”

    It is obvious that You would not. However since You have different computing needs/skills/expectations than others it may be better just to thank OP for his post or leave comments to constructive suggestions.

    I was under the impression that our cause here was to promote the use of ubuntu and other open source alternatives to ALL potential users.

    Just as you can think of no reason to have a GUI I can think of many, The most obvious being that if we are to sway users away from ‘traditional’ servers, they’re going to need a GUI. these users may very well have as much or more experience as you or I, but because they had to eat, they had to support/build using the existing and/or most common business technologies, and for better or worse, they’re heavily GUI.
    Simply, you don’t teach your kid to use a computer from the command line (like we had to learn), not if you want them to like it anyway.
    Imagine you’re running Ubuntu Servers whose sole function is to run Windows servers/workstations in Virtual Boxes, you’d want the power of the server kernel behind you, but you can’t set all that up realistically from the command line.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    Thanks for the article, (I know it’s old) I couldn’t remember what replaced “no-install” “–without-recommends” got it.

  21. guyInTheStreet says:

    Thanx for this guide. It’s been a decade since I last installed a Linux distro. Lots have happened.

    Currently I am installing a home server (printer sharing, NAS, music streaming, backups), and even if I understand the “install nothing unecessary” dogma for servers, I like to be able to log in to a GUI and browse for info using a real web browser from time to time. Ease of use is more important for me than a minimalist approach to installed functionality, as administrating this server will not be something I do on a daily basis.

    Actually my choice was between using Linux Mint and disable the automatic GUI and using Ubuntu Server and add GUI. This guide made the choice pretty easy, as Ubuntu Server makes handling the initial server setup very easy.

    Of course I do not run the GUI all the time, but I find it handy to have access to it.

    I hope some updates for this guide are done, regarding versions and stuff. I also think a guide like this should be available at the official Ubuntu Server pages.

  22. thiyagi says:


  23. Yin says:

    I can think of a couple of reasons for a GUI on Ubuntu Server. Installing the GUI means you’ve just installed Ubuntu Desktop. If someone has a dedicated host or VPS, this blog entry could be very useful for getting a GUI installed. For those scenarios, the next step would be to install and setup VNC (e.g. vnc4server) so the desktop can be accessed.

    If you want to transfer a large file that requires sessions and login cookies, wget kind of falls flat in that area. I suppose you could download 1GB files to your computer first and then SFTP it up to the box but most people’s upstream bandwidth is rather poor and no one likes to wait. Installing the GUI allows for Chrome or another lightweight browser to be installed to visit that annoying website to login and download the content.

    The other thing I can think of is installing proprietary software that requires the GUI to install or a GUI to configure. There are several products out there that are dumb like this.

  24. Erik says:

    I want to install the server (because I need to demo Apache, etc.), but I also need to allow remote GUI sessions, so people can get used to Ubuntu. Speed is of utterly no performance – being able to demonstrate all kinds of things is. How do I configure the server so that the GUI automatically comes up when the system powers on? (I’ll look in other threads to see how to get the VNC server going)

  25. Javier Maldonado says:

    If speed is not of essence, why not install the UBUNTU desktop first and then the server packages?

    Most of the postings here are meant to systems in homes or small businesses anyway…

    I understand that the server version runs a different clock and different type of interrupts…but who cares if the setup is for something like one server (or even five).

    At least this let students and self learners know what goes on using servers…after they learn then they will forgo the GUI altogether..if need be.

    Managing a LAMP goes command line anyways (at least a great amount) the more mundane aspects can be done with the GUI…

    I am a student and I see the reasoning behind both sides, however, UBUNTU was born with making the software available to all…that means rocket scientist and elementary school children…

    My two cents…

  26. guyInTheStreet says:

    Erik: I tried to install xcfe into Unbuntu server in a VMWare instance while waiting for hardware, and it seems like default is that it actually starts the GUI automatically once it is installed.

  27. drexelsharp says:

    Great article. Helped me out a lot.
    just wanted to add for the nOObs that find this post (like myself). After doing the installs…

    To run the GUI, type:


  28. Eddie says:

    Thanx drexelsharp! After doing everything I was about to give up. You saved me.

  29. Zim-Mac says:

    Guys I am new to ubuntu server i need to install the gui desktop so that I can be in familiar territory how do I set it up from the desktop cd.

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