Debian without X

Through a strange series of backlinks I found a fresh blog about a Debian system set up completely without a GUI — console only, and some of starting points for making it work.

Before you pooh-pooh it as yet another wacky Pentium II fan devoted to making a 200Mhz machine “usable,” the test hardware is a Pentium 4 — 2Ghz, with commensurate hardware. I don’t see mention of a video card, so I’m assuming that board will run Intel graphics, if it matches this one.

If you’ve considered going X-less as an experiment, or if you are that wacky Pentium II fan, you’ll probably want to watch the progress. If it goes in the direction I expect, it’s going to be an incredibly fast, incredibly useful end product. (Added note: Ubuntu fans would do well to watch that site too, since much of how Debian behaves is the same in Ubuntu.)

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7 Responses to “Debian without X”


  1. 1 dosnlinux 2008/03/21 at 12:17 PM

    I’ve been X-less before. http://dosnlinux.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/cli-for-30-day-1/

    The most annoying part I found was web browsing. The web is boring without all the CSS and colors, plus I wish you could scroll line-by-line in links and not by pages.

  2. 2 drunkenwallaby 2008/03/21 at 3:33 PM

    @dosnlinux: You can scroll line by line with links2. Ctrl+n for line down and Ctrl+p for line up!

    I’ve been living without X for quite some time too. The most annoying part I found was watching videos in fb which is not worth suggesting to anybody.

    However, using a lightweight tiling-wm gives you more or less the “best of two worlds” :)

  3. 3 Jeff Flowers 2008/03/22 at 11:40 PM

    I did something similar back in 2001, using NetBSD. I did learn a lot but eventually, web browsing and picture viewing made me use X again.

    Nowadays, I use Evilwm because it is so tiny.

  4. 4 corky 2008/04/04 at 5:31 AM

    Everyone should go textmode-only every now and then. It’s like fasting — it helps clean out lots of mental cruft.

    Two of my latest finds might interest you if you’re ready for another go:

    vifm is a lightweight file manager with vi-like key bindings. 123K executable versus mc’s 726K. http://vifm.sourceforge.net/

    dvtm tiles your terminal in much the same way tiling window managers like ion or dwm manage your X desktop. I’ve found this to be a more productive environment that having each text mode app running in a separate tab of the terminal.
    http://www.brain-dump.org/projects/dvtm/

  5. 5 AndresVia 2008/09/02 at 12:19 AM

    Is not Debian wich behaves like Ubuntu! is Ubuntu wich behaves like Debian!

  6. 6 K.Mandla 2008/09/02 at 6:49 AM

    Which is what I said.

  7. 7 tel93 2008/09/02 at 7:04 AM

    On my Debian laptop I go textmode sometimes:
    cmus in tty1
    centericq in tty2
    irssi in tty3
    elinks in tty4

    Most of my apps are textmode anyway.


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