I made the decision a couple months ago to migrate away from Windows over to Linux on all my machines, for several reasons
which I wont get into here.
After looking at the more common desktop interfaces for Linux ie.. Unity (which I hate), GNOME3, and KDE I found a Linux Desktop
distro with a GUI that I really like. Its called Linux Mint. I installed it on my laptop first. It came with Windows Vista, which I always
hated with a passion. If I put the laptop in a sleep state, and later "woke it up", it would take on the order of 3-4 MINUTES
to be ready to use. After I installed Linux Mint, waking it up from a sleep state takes 3-4 SECONDS.
I was impressed with the simplicity of Linux Mint's interface. So when it came time to find a Linux distro for my servers, I Googled LinuxMint Server Edition. Well there's isnt one. I dug deeper and found out that Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, so I started testing Ubuntu Server Edition. It doesn't come with a desktop GUI. The Linux Server "gurus" out there think a Desktop GUI has no place on a server. Well I disagree. I WANT a Desktop environment on my server(s).
So, I've been perusing the web for weeks now, looking for a desktop environment for Ubuntu Server. Sure you can install a desktop on Ubuntu Server, after the fact. Its just that I don't like the commonly available Linux desktops for Ubuntu (see above).
After Googling "Install Linux Mint on Ubuntu Server" I have gotten a LITTLE closer to my goal.
These are the steps I did today to install Mate:
sudo nano /etc/opt/sources.list
I added the following line to the bottom of the above file:
deb http://packages.mate-desktop.org/repo/ubuntu precise main
After saving the file I entered the following commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mate-archive-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mate-core
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment
sudo apt-get install xinit
After the above commands, I rebooted and was shown a command prompt again. hmmm.
In order to start the desktop environment after logging in I needed to issue the following command:
This does bring up a desktop environment which is suitable for my needs, although it still doesnt look like Linux Mint's desktop.
It didn't include a browser, so I popped out to a terminal prompt and entered this command:
sudo apt-get install firefox
This installed Firefox, and put a link in the Mate menu for it. So at least I have a browser now.
I'm sure there is a config file I can edit to get Mate to run by default, although this might be a good compromise.
ie once I get the server installed/configured I can put it back in the rack, reboot, and it won't be running the desktop GUI by default.
Once I find the command to shut down the desktop GUI, after I am done using it, I will post that here.
Edit: When I logged out of Mate, it automatically shut down the Desktop GUI, which is actually VERY handy on a server!