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 donโ€™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 thoughts on “Install GUI in Ubuntu Server

  1. gui is for lazy linux admin. the power is in the command lines.


    ghosthunter007 Reply:

    Command line is great but gui is also great learn to use both and you will be happy.


    Schnob Reply:

    If you have only one machine (like me, private, at home) and you like to install a mail server on that particular ubuntu server and you also want to test it with some web-mail servers, a gui makes it much more easier to see, if the web-mail account got the mails from your ubuntu server.

    Just to point out my current problem, having no UI on the ubuntu server ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. So now it is wrong to be lazy? A lot of great inventions comes from satisfying the needs of the lazy.


  3. Why are the so called “geeks” always so rude to newbees or people who try to make somthing easier?
    Do they still walk to work or use they also a car?


  4. There is no doubt that the command line is best for some task to be done, However if you don’t know command line, point and click away, Isn’t That The Concept of Ubuntu, Choose How You Want It To Be, Your’s, Choice, Humanity!


  5. At last I checked Win Server 2003-2008 have GUIs in them…However, in the book Windows Server 2003 Administrator’s Companion 2nd Edition, Illustrations exists regarding the use of the CMD line for certain issues…It looks to me as if the GUI and CMD line do the same thing at the end.

    Moreover, knowing the majority or all commands in CMD line is a plus. It seems that it becomes critical when speed is of the essence. Surf all the windows needed or type a command…

    The issue becomes making it easier-to-do…


    TJG Reply:

    The command line can do anything the GUI can do. but the GUI cannot do everything that the Command line can do.


    ghosthunter007 Reply:

    Then you have the wrong tools installed.


    hunterghost700 Reply:

    Not every CLI task can be satisfied via GUI tools.

  6. To me, learning from GUI is the starting point to get used to the admin tools. Nothing to laugh at such learning style at all.


  7. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you get the job done, be it in a gui interface or cli, just as long as the job is done and done properly. These Linux nerds drive me crazy with their “it’s so easy in the cli” crap….everyone starts from somewhere.


    Brenon Reply:

    Problem is that in the cli you get different commands that are supposed to do the samething for different unix/linux distros. Causes a problem sometimes so a GUI is helpful from time to time. To me cli is almost like flying blindly. Object oriented approach allows for a better lay of the land.


  8. @linuxadmin no you arrogant n00b, it’s for admins that give their customers the power to admin the server without responsibility for their actions!


  9. You just have to restart your system or just shutdown using the command:

    $ shutdown -h now

    And after turning your computer back on, open the web browser on you new GUI desktop and continue this tutorial to install Webmin.


  10. @Unknown It’s exactly oposite, first you have to learn how to drive the car AND understand it how it works:)
    Or from your point of view, you can drive a bloated car with GUI, or formula with CLI :)

    regards, Alex


    Woody Reply:


    So all aspiring formula one drivers HAVE to start out in an F1 car? I think that is unlikely. I believe that there are drivers out there who couldn’t build their own car from scratch. Should they be allowed to drive? :)

    @linuxadmin – I get annoyed with the arrogant mentality encountered on these bulletin boards. I’m a web developer, I don’t need to know every detail of how to set up a server and a GUI would make doing some jobs so much easier. On Macs we can use MAMP Pro for a testing server and it’s perfect. Linux is a total mess for someone who knows a bit, but really just wants wizards to set it up for her.


    Alex Reply:

    For driver who does not know what a wheel, clutch, gear stick is and how engine works & vehicle drives in corners… for god sake NOOOO!!!! :) I really hope that driver has good insurance ;P

    Why is Linux a mess?? U’re using Mac, right? That also *NIX based OS like linux and u like it?

    What you’re saying, I’m driving F1 too fast for you because u just want do design regular “car” body on a truck ๐Ÿ˜›
    And thats why there a so many breaks in *nix based web servers. Insufficient system settings.


    Woody Reply:

    Linux is great, I use Win/Mac & Ubuntu. But the mentality of a lot of people is that you shouldn’t be allowed to use it if you don’t know how to!

    That’s just mental, and a reason people won’t switch to linux. MAMP pro provides a really easy way for me to run a testing server (note testing) for web development. Why can’t linux do this as well? I don’t need to know how to set up a full blown server to do that. It’s the difference between driving a car and building a car.

  11. @js-chong
    Yes you can, but running a desktop environment will need more processes to run and in must of the cases it reduces the server efficiency.

    You don’t need a desktop GUI to run a server but if you are used to the Gnome Desktop then you should install it.

    For the server your “GUI”, in this case, is Webmin.


  12. Gee maybe we need to remove the “command line recall feature so there won’t be any laziness ….

    I noticed we have a geek with a limited vocabulary, too. :-)

    I installed all the dependencies, then installed webmin, as per instructions. Get an error that “Package libmd5-perl” is not installed. Re-installed libmd5-perl, showed success install, re-installed webmin, comes up with same error, libmd5-perl not installed. rebooted, same problem.


  13. Hi there! I installed Ubuntu Server and ubuntu-desktop for fun! I tried to stop it from load on boot with update-rc.d and rcconf commands but it continues to load on boot.
    How can I stop it from loading and manually startx?


    admin Reply:

    Try this

    Rename /etc/init/gdm.conf to /etc/init/gdm.disabled


    brucetuga Reply:

    Thank you!
    It does the trick!


  14. In the GUI/CLI war it’s always the middleman who suffers. Is it wrong to want a minimal desktop VM for development/testing?

    LAMP + firefox > LAMP + wget

    Thanks for the HOWTO


  15. I run VMware Server on Ubuntu, and guess what. All VMware commands are available via cli, but it still installs with a web interface. It is much easier, faster, and straightforward to monitor my VM guests that way.


  16. Hi! I have ubuntu 9.10 server..

    when i install “sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop”
    it give following error…

    couldn’t find package ubuntu desktop

    plzzz help me..


  17. I have always liked Ubuntu Desktop and have no knowledge of the CLI commands for administering Ubuntu Server except for a cheat sheet bought a book store. I would like to setup a server for my house, but I don’t have the time to tap away on the CLI all night trying to get what I want done. I have worked on Windows servers since 1996, but a home server with a GUI is the next step for converting Windows admins to Linux admins. I believe our end goal is to compete with Microsoft and take away their monopoly on GUI servers with GUI applications. The object is to get Windows users and admins to easily convert to Linux with an easy-to-navigate OS. Why should a company convert over from Windows to Linux when they will have to send their admins to extensive training to learn the Linux CLI and then how to install, manage, add applications & services, and upgrade their servers? We all love Linux, but in order to be successful, you must show the bling in order to lure more support.

    IT Managers want visuals to be convinced, that is why they buy RedHat and Novell SuSe software. I work at T-Mobile with the infrastructure and they have HP Superdome 2 servers and a contracted support to manage the HP-UX OS. This says to me that CLI servers are the choice for speed, but it is cheaper to contract support than have a full-time staff, and in this economy we don’t want unemployed admins, we want converted admins. I admire you Linux ninjas for your knowledge, how much training is required to become a Linux server admin?


    Pedro Reply:

    Hello Home Admin,

    The best way is to start with CLI, after that you can install ubuntu desktop as shown above.

    Here is a exelent tutorial how to built your server starting with CLI:

    You just have to use a couple of CLI commands to start your server after that you can start using a user friendly desktop environment.

    Using CLI commands I consider it much more secure, when you are running on a desktop environment, usually, you have to run more processes to “view” what you what, and when something worst appends you have only the CLI as your last chance to save the server. And sometimes not even the CLI you get…

    Also there is a trick if you are running the server over a Dynamic IP. Go to your registar were you registered your domain and add the following line in their local DNS service (do not make confusion with NS records): CNAME

    Change the Apache Virtual Host file to add more than one domain in your server:

    For the e-mail, Google as excellent services for DNS MX records.

    Good luck on your home server!
    Linux is the best for server, don’t try anything else at home!


  18. There’s nothing stopping anyone from using the CLI in a terminal window. It’s kind of nice to have a few terminal windows open and unless there is a security concern, like the system being directly exposed to the Internet or holds confidential information, who cares if a GUI is installed?


  19. Ok I’ve installed everything but when I tried to shutdown using the $ shutdown -h now command I get an error saying I need to be root.

    how do to that?


    Pedro Reply:

    sudo shutdown -h now

    And enter your admin pass


  20. I have a question concerning this… Isn’t having a GUI on a server (for someone like me who is still learning how to use the full potential of the mighty command line) a good thing? If you don’t know command line yet and don’t have a GUI, doesn’t that basically render your server useless? Just a thought.


  21. I got the webmin installed but the user that has root access via sudo which works to get into the command line via SSH does not work for the webmin. What credentials should I use?


    ruchi Reply:

    use your user login details


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