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.)


7 thoughts on “Debian without X

  1. drunkenwallaby

    @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” 🙂

  2. Jeff Flowers

    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.

  3. corky

    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.

    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.

  4. tel93

    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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