Debian Lenny Minimal Desktop

After you have read my post on minimal install of Debian, you may want something more than the command line, i.e. a minimal desktop. Although there are many, many minimal desktop environments (or simply window managers, etc.), I chose to go with Xfce. It is a good compromise between a desktop environment (DE) and minimal desktop. It is faster than Gnome or KDE and is still a DE. But what do you need to have it installed?

First off, you need an X server, and is a very good (maybe only?) option. You also need a display manager. XDM, GDM, and KDM are three commonly used display managers. I chose XDM but it wasn’t very pretty to look at. Then I chose GDM over KDM because it required less packages, and it was pretty. Finally, I needed to install Xfce 4. All of this was installed with just one command:

sudo aptitude install xorg gdm xfce4

If you want to use minimal Gnome or KDE desktops, you can replace xfce4 with gnome-core and kde-core, like so:

sudo aptitude install xorg gdm gnome-core

If using KDE, you might want to try KDM instead of GDM.

sudo aptitude install xorg kdm kde-core

Hat tip: HOWTO: Minimal Debian Install (GNOME/KDE); Where do you set the default display manager to be xdm?


4 Responses to Debian Lenny Minimal Desktop

  1. John Inkpen says:

    I did two minimal installs – Arch and Gentoo. I could not get my mp3 player, camera, web camera and a few other toys to work without having to call in the big guns. Will Debian xfce4 work with my devices? I do not really need a Minimal Install – I did a couple just to see what I thought of it.

    ps: on a side note Slackware 12.2 full install is as fast as Arch/Gentoo but I have less hair now then I had before I did the Gentoo minimal install:)

  2. hs says:

    I would say my post is very incomplete. Found a great article on minimal desktop at Minimalist Linux to Confuse the Masses.

  3. Prasinos says:

    For a nice and lightweight display manager you can use “slim”. It is quite functional while being small (and it does not have KDE or GNOME dependencies). It is available in Debian.

  4. hs says:

    Another good choice is LXDE. To install, run: sudo aptitude install lxde

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