Installing XFCE on Ubuntu Server: A Complete Guide

Introduction

Welcome to this article on installing XFCE, a lightweight desktop environment, on an Ubuntu server. As you might know, by default, Ubuntu Server doesn’t come with a graphical environment, which makes it an ideal choice for running various server applications. However, sometimes you might need to have a graphical interface for various reasons.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on installing XFCE on Ubuntu Server, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll guide you through the entire process of installing XFCE on Ubuntu Server, including its advantages and disadvantages.

Before we start, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what XFCE is and why you might want to install it on your Ubuntu Server.

What is XFCE?

XFCE is a lightweight and highly configurable desktop environment. It is designed to work well with older hardware, providing users with a fast and reliable desktop experience. XFCE is also highly customizable, which allows users to tailor the desktop environment to their liking.

Why Install XFCE on Ubuntu Server?

As we said earlier, Ubuntu Server doesn’t come with a graphical environment by default. However, sometimes you might need to have a graphical interface for various reasons like using a web browser, accessing GUI tools, or even running some applications that require a GUI.

In that case, installing XFCE on your Ubuntu Server can solve the problem. It provides a lightweight desktop environment that doesn’t consume much hardware resources and runs smoothly even on older hardware.

Prerequisites

Before we start installing XFCE on Ubuntu Server, there are some prerequisites that you need to fulfill.

Prerequisites
Description
Ubuntu Server
You should have an Ubuntu Server installed on your machine.
Internet Connection
Make sure you have an active internet connection to download and install necessary packages.
Sudo Access
You should have sudo access to run commands with elevated privileges.

How to Install XFCE on Ubuntu Server

Now that we have fulfilled all the prerequisites let’s dive straight into the installation process.

Step 1: Update Ubuntu server

Updating Ubuntu Server is the first step of any installation process. Using the command line, type the following command in the terminal to update your Ubuntu Server.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

This command will update your Ubuntu Server and install any available updates.

Step 2: Install XFCE Desktop Environment

Once the update is completed, run the following command to install XFCE on your Ubuntu Server.

sudo apt-get install xfce4

This command will install XFCE desktop environment on your Ubuntu Server.

Step 3: Install a Display Manager

A display manager is a graphical login manager that starts the display server and loads the desktop environment. For XFCE, we recommend using the LightDM display manager.

Run the following command to install LightDM.

sudo apt-get install lightdm

During the installation, you’ll be prompted to select the default display manager. Choose ‘LightDM’ as your default display manager and proceed with the installation.

Step 4: Configure XFCE

Once you’ve installed XFCE and LightDM successfully, you need to configure XFCE to run correctly.

To configure XFCE, create a new configuration file using the following command:

sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf

Then, add the following lines to the configuration file.

Section "Device"Identifier "Intel Graphics"Driver "intel"Option "AccelMethod" "sna"Option "TearFree" "true"EndSection

Save and close the configuration file by pressing ‘CTRL+X’, ‘Y’, and ‘Enter.’

Step 5: Restart Your Ubuntu Server

Finally, restart your Ubuntu Server by running the following command.

sudo reboot

After the reboot, your Ubuntu Server will boot into the XFCE desktop environment. Log in to your account and enjoy the graphical interface.

Advantages and Disadvantages of XFCE on Ubuntu Server

Advantages

Here are some of the advantages of using XFCE on your Ubuntu Server.

Lightweight

XFCE is considered to be one of the lightest and highly configurable desktop environments. It uses fewer system resources, which makes it an ideal choice for servers.

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Highly Customizable

XFCE is highly customizable. You can easily customize the desktop environment according to your needs and preferences.

User-Friendly Interface

XFCE provides a user-friendly interface that is easy to use and navigate. It is also intuitive, which makes it easy for beginners to use.

Disadvantages

Here are some of the disadvantages of using XFCE on your Ubuntu Server.

Limited Features

XFCE provides limited features compared to other desktop environments. It lacks some of the advanced features that users might need.

Less Aesthetically Pleasing

XFCE is not as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other desktop environments. It provides a more functional desktop instead of a visually appealing one.

Minimal Support

XFCE has minimal support compared to other desktop environments. It is not as widely used, which makes it difficult to find support and resources.

XFCE on Ubuntu Server: A Complete Guide

Here’s a table that contains all the information you need to know about installing XFCE on Ubuntu Server.

S.No
Steps
Description
1
Update Ubuntu Server
Update Ubuntu server using the following command: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
2
Install XFCE Desktop Environment
Install XFCE Desktop Environment using the following command: sudo apt-get install xfce4
3
Install a Display Manager
Install a Display Manager using the following command: sudo apt-get install lightdm
4
Configure XFCE
Configure XFCE using the following command: sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf
5
Restart the Server
Restart the server using the following command: sudo reboot

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I install XFCE on Ubuntu Server?

To install XFCE on Ubuntu Server, follow these steps: Update Ubuntu Server, Install XFCE Desktop Environment, Install a Display Manager, Configure XFCE, and finally restart your server.

Can I use other display managers with XFCE?

Yes, you can use other display managers with XFCE like GDM, KDM, etc. However, we recommend using LightDM for better compatibility.

Is XFCE a lightweight desktop environment?

Yes, XFCE is a lightweight and highly configurable desktop environment that uses fewer system resources.

Can I customize XFCE according to my needs?

Yes, XFCE is highly customizable, and you can easily customize it according to your needs and preferences.

Does XFCE provide advanced features?

No, XFCE provides limited features compared to other desktop environments. It lacks some of the advanced features that users might need.

Is XFCE visually appealing?

No, XFCE is not as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other desktop environments. It provides a more functional desktop instead of a visually appealing one.

Does XFCE have good support and resources?

XFCE has minimal support compared to other desktop environments. It is not as widely used, which makes it difficult to find support and resources.

Can I switch back to the command line from XFCE?

Yes, you can switch back to the command line by using the keyboard shortcut ‘CTRL+ALT+F1.’

Can I run GUI applications on Ubuntu Server?

Yes, you can run GUI applications on Ubuntu Server by installing a desktop environment like XFCE.

How do I uninstall XFCE from my Ubuntu Server?

To uninstall XFCE from your Ubuntu Server, use the following command: sudo apt-get remove xfce4

How do I switch from XFCE to another desktop environment?

To switch from XFCE to another desktop environment, you need to install the new desktop environment and then select it as your default display manager during installation.

Can I install other desktop environments on Ubuntu Server?

Yes, you can install other desktop environments on Ubuntu Server, like GNOME, KDE, etc.

Is it recommended to install a desktop environment on a server?

No, it is not recommended to install a desktop environment on a server unless you have a specific need for it. It consumes resources and can affect the server’s performance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, installing XFCE on Ubuntu Server can solve the problem of not having a graphical interface. It provides a lightweight desktop environment that doesn’t consume much hardware resources and runs smoothly even on older hardware.

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We hope this article has provided you with a complete guide on installing XFCE on Ubuntu Server and its advantages and disadvantages. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Take Action Now

If you want to install XFCE on your Ubuntu Server, follow the steps mentioned in this guide and enjoy the graphical interface.

Disclaimer

The information in this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only. We do not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided. We recommend that you do your research and consult with a professional before making any decisions.

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