How can I strip down Ubuntu?

I’m trying to fix what I consider a bloated install of Ubuntu. When I install Ubuntu on a machine, I get things that I don’t want – web browsers, office applications, media players, accessibility utilities, Ubuntu One, and so on. My goal is to create a way that I can have an install of Ubuntu that contains only the most minimal packages – the administrative tools and package manager, a GUI (my preference would be GNOME), a text editor, core drivers (video cards, network cards – wired and wireless, input devices), and anything else that I have to have to run a stable distribution. From there, I would like to pick and choose which packages I install to create my own customized system.

After playing around with other distros like Arch and Slackware, like how they provide a barebones install by default. However, I get trapped in a “configuration hell” – right now, I tried moving away from Ubuntu and to Arch, but after spending 6 hours with it, I still don’t have a usable system. It’s half configured and I don’t have any usable software packages to enable me to work.

Is anything that can help me available? Either something like the OpenSUSE builder that lets you choose applications and packages for the CD, an advanced installation mode where I can choose the packages to install and which to ignore, or a guide on how to strip Ubuntu down to its bare bones?

And I suppose a natural follow up to this is once I have a stripped down Ubuntu, will this affect updating at all? When Canonical releases the next version of Ubuntu, I don’t want any bloatware reinstalled. And yes, most of the applications that come with Ubuntu, I simply don’t use. Ever.

Here is Solutions:

We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first solution because it is tested & true solution that will 100% work for you.

Solution 1

Start from Ubuntu Server and build up. It uses the same repos as the desktop distribution and you can install various desktop configurations.

I just suggest you stay away from the big metapackages like ubuntu-desktop or you’ll end up will the full blown distro.

If you only want to strip down (rather than building up) you’re going to have to remove ubuntu-desktop (which depends on loads of things) and convert all the automatically met dependencies to manually installed. If you don’t aptitude will nuke them as it (amongst other tools) will automatically clean up “obsolete” packages — those are packages that fulfil no dependency or user choice.

Solution 2

Use the Ubuntu Server media, and choose the option to build the minimal installation. People call this “JeOS”, although I think the term “JeOS” may have been deprecated. The Ubuntu Server Guide says:

While installing from the Server Edition ISO (pressing F4 on the first screen will allow you to pick “Minimal installation”, which is the package selection equivalent to JeOS).

Solution 3

Ubuntu has a mini.iso which is a totally stripped down version of ubuntu that you can use to build up yourself. It’s about 28MB or so.

As of this reply the latest version is 12.04 Precise, so you can just replace the distro release name in the url to get the mini.iso for that release.

For 64bit:

For 32bit:

You can then install your GUI/Desktop environment of choice using apt-get and so on with whatever packages you wish to install.

Solution 4

Rather than stripping down, why not instead ‘build up’?

As well as downloading Ubuntu JeOS (Just Enough OS), you can also find netboot images from the repository folders.
Using mini.iso is probably recommended, as you use uNetbootin to copy it onto a pendrive.

Solution 5

Install the Ubuntu Server and ssh in. That is as stripped as it can possibly get.

Solution 6

Here’s what I did to remove unwanted default packages from a normal desktop install:

  1. Remove the ubuntu-desktop package. This doesn’t actually remove any programs – it’s just a meta-package that depends on the default packages. If you don’t remove it you’ll wind up with broken dependency errors.
  2. Check out its dependencies in a package manager (I like to use aptitude). Uninstall the ones you don’t want.

I’m not sure how extensively you want to trim, but that should do it for the default GNOME apps. Upgrading has worked fine for me. If the new release includes new default packages you may need to install them manually if you want them – otherwise it seems to work okay.

Solution 7

  1. Do a “minimal” install as many people suggested
  2. Install your required packages with:
    sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends package-name, where package-name is the package you want to install

The configuration requirements depends on which packages you select to install, keeping a minimal install depends on knowning “minimal” tools or rely on manual configuration.
The more user friendly configuration tools which make Ubuntu great for most people usually have an high number of dependencies.

Solution 8

I’m not sure exactly what you mean when you say “bloatware”, but it sounds like you might be interested in Xubuntu – it is also a GTK-based distro, but designed to be very lightweight. You can then install any apps or pieces you’d like on top of it as you would with the regular Ubuntu distro.

Solution 9

Install Synaptic Package Manager ( sudo apt-get install synaptic ) and go through the ‘Installed’ list and remove what you dont want, the descriptions are at the side and that way you can really streamline your setup without having to build it up from scratch…

As always just be careful what you remove, although first thing I always get rid of is ‘mono-runtime’ and it’s dependencies as well as ‘thunderbird’ since my e-mail is mainly web-based…

Solution 10

You could use

apt-get remove "package"

until all of the packages that you don’t want are gone, then use remastersys to create a livecd

Note: Use and implement solution 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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