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4 Steps to Install GUI on Ubuntu Server Quick Guide

In this tutorial, we will learn how to install GUI ( graphical user interface ) on Ubuntu server 20.04. We will install ubuntu-desktop in the following example.

Four steps to install GUI on Ubuntu Server:

  1. update the apt package index and install tasksel
  2. choose which GUI we will use
  3. use tasksel command to install the selected GUI
  4. boot into the graphical target after reboot


What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is an open-source Linux-based operating system. It is a Debian-based OS, meaning that it uses Debian’s repositories for software. It is one of the most popular Linux distributions and has a user-friendly GUI.

  • It’s free.
  • It has a huge community of developers and users.
  • You can customize it to your liking with themes, extensions, etc.
  • Ubuntu is perfect for people who want everything to be in order – you’ll never have to worry about viruses or malware again!

Why do we need a GUI? What are some examples of GUIs?

A graphical user interface (GUI) is the visual part of an operating system that allows users to interact with programs and other software. Some common examples include Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux distributions such as Ubuntu or Debian, etc. Although many people may not realize it, GUIs are more than just pretty pictures: they allow us to interact with software in ways that would otherwise not be possible.

different types of Ubuntu GUI

There are many different types of Ubuntu GUI available for download or purchase from the official website. Some popular ones include Xfce (Xubuntu), GNOME (Ubuntu), LXDE (Lubuntu), MATE Desktop Environment (Ubuntu Mate).

What is the best Ubuntu GUI?

There are many different GUIs available for Ubuntu, but not all of them will work well with your specific hardware. For example: if you have an older machine, then it might be a good idea to choose a GUI that is lighter and less resource-intensive. That said, the best Ubuntu GUI is ultimately going to be the one that works best for you.

GUI Installation on Ubuntu Server

1. Update the apt package index and install tasksel.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install tasksel

2. List the GUI we have installed and we can install:

$ sudo tasksel –list-tasks

Main available Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) installations using tasksel’s tasks
Task Description
kubuntu-desktop Kubuntu desktop ( KDE Desktop )
lubuntu-desktop Lubuntu Desktop ( LXQt desktop )
ubuntu-budgie-desktop Ubuntu Budgie desktop
ubuntu-desktop Ubuntu desktop ( default GNOME )
ubuntu-desktop-minimal Ubuntu minimal desktop ( default GNOME )
ubuntu-mate-desktop Ubuntu MATE desktop
ubuntustudio-desktop Ubuntu Studio desktop ( Xfce-based desktop )
ubuntustudio-desktop-core Ubuntu Studio minimal DE installation ( Xfce-based desktop )
xubuntu-desktop Xubuntu desktop ( Xfce desktop )

3. Use tasksel command to install the selected GUI. For example to install the default Ubuntu GNOME desktop execute. This step will install all the files and take some time to finish.

$ sudo tasksel install ubuntu-desktop

4. Run the following command to make sure our system boots into the graphical target after reboot

$ sudo systemctl set-default

5. Run command sudo reboot to reboot. At this point, the GUI should start.

$sudo reboot

What are the benefits of using Ubuntu with a GUI installed?

Some benefits of using Ubuntu with a GUI installed include:

  • Easier navigation and access to files and programs
  • More user-friendly environment
  • More aesthetically pleasing interface
  • More security


What are the disadvantages of using Ubuntu with a GUI installed?

Some disadvantages of using Ubuntu with a GUI installed include:

  • Takes up more memory and storage space on your computer which may slow down performance.
  • Potential for viruses and malware attacks. This is because there are more “open doors” to your computer when using a GUI.
  • Ubuntu is designed to be used without a GUI so some functions and commands may be difficult or confusing to use for those not familiar with the operating system.