While modern Linux systems have attractive desktop interfaces, you may be wondering if you can use Linux without it. The straight answer is “yes”.
What is a desktop environment?
While the desktop environments under Windows and macOS are tightly integrated and integrated into the system, desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE and Xfce under Linux are just collections of programs that you can install in addition to the base operating system.
Replace DE with a window manager?
It is possible to run a window manager instead of a full desktop environment on Linux, and many users already do. You might want to use Fluxbox instead of one of the desktop environments that came with your distribution. All you have to do is install the desired window manager with your package manager.
Running without a GUI?
It is also possible to run Linux without a GUI at all. Many servers already do this because they are managed through serial consoles and SSH with no keyboards and monitors attached. This is known as “headless walking”. This is because Linux derives its roots from Unix, and Unix was developed at a time when there was no such thing as a GUI.
You could run your desktop system without a display manager and rely on text-based apps if you wanted. You can run the same commands as you would in a terminal, as well as text editors and even web browsers.
Some more advanced distributions like Arch Linux come with no GUI by default. The only practical limit might be that modern websites expect users to run graphical distros and refuse to view their content in text browsers like Lynx.
If you want to completely disable your graphical user interface, you can disable the display manager. When you run Light DM, you can use the systemctl command:
sudo systemctl disable lightdm
After restarting your system, you will find yourself in the text console. To select your preferred window manager or desktop environment, add the following line to the .xinitrc File:
…Where Window manager is your preferred window manager. Then enter startx at the shell prompt to start the GUI.
Linux gives you a choice in the user interface
The great thing about Linux is that you have a choice of how you want to interact with the system. You can use a traditional desktop user interface or dig deeper into the command line.
The best choice of Linux desktop depends on your personal tastes. Your personality and work style have the greatest influence on the user interface you choose.
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