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....

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Well, I've installed VMware Server 2.0b2 on my webserver, and it's pretty nice. The Web UI is, IMO, better than on ESX 3.5. The only thing I miss from ESX is the ability to clone VMs, which is kind of a big deal.

The reason for this is so I can clone a production server, turn it into a test server, and test updates and experimental software on the test server before putting them on my production server.

I may try to hack together a shell script to try and clone a running VM... I need to look into ESX 4.0...

I got an ubuntu installation down to 463MB by doing a netinstall. I can probably strip it down more. Minimal Ubuntu + VMware Server 2.0 might be a decent alternative to...

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Stripped down Ubuntu Desktop I often run Ubuntu Linux in virtual machines using VirtualBox. I use the Ubuntu Desktop ISO so I can get various niceties. However, the image contains a lot of packages that I don't need and before installing the guest additions the icons in Ubuntu dock (or whatever) take up the whole screen. The scrollbars are invisible unless you hover over them. I'm running in a VM--scrolling is important to me. I also want the VM virtual hard disk to be smaller so I can pass it around more easily. My solution is to copy and paste some terminal commands that make the VM more usuable without going overboard. Specifically, the script: Removes Libreoffice, the Amazon shopping thing, Gnome games, and Thunderbird Installs things I need like gcc and git Installs the VirtualBox guest additions from apt Makes the scrollbars always visible (like they used to be) The script: # remove libreoffice echo Y | sudo apt-get remove libreoffice-* # ***install things commonly used by...
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Unchecking filesystems and drivers isn't going to reduce the size of the kernel at all, because they are compiled as modules and only the modules that correspond to hardware that you have are loaded.

There are a few features of the kernel that can't be compiled as modules and that you might not be using. Start with Ubuntu's .config, then look through the ones that are compiled in the kernel (y, not m). If you don't understand what a feature is for, leave it alone.

Most of the kernel's optional features are optional because you might not want them on an embedded system. Embedded systems have two characteristics: they're small, so not wasting memory on unused code is important, and they have a dedicated purpose, so there are many features that you know you aren't going to need. A PC is a general-purpose device, where you tend to connect lots of third-party hardware and run lots of third-party software. You can't really tell in advance that you're never going to need...

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Question: I want to use Ubuntu Desktop on my hardware, but without all the bloatware pre-installed (e.g., LibreOffice, media players, etc). How can I install a minimal Ubuntu desktop?

If you want to set up a stripped down Ubuntu desktop, a clean approach is to first install Ubuntu server on your hardware, and then manually add desktop component to it.

Assuming that you already installed Ubuntu server on your computer, you can install minimal Ubuntu desktop as follows.

Install Minimal Unity Desktop

The following command installs Unity desktop and its hard dependencies, but nothing else.

$ sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends ubuntu-desktop

To see what packages are included in such minimal desktop, use the following command.

$ apt-cache show ubuntu-desktop | grep "Depends"

Depends: alsa-base, alsa-utils, anacron, at-spi2-core, baobab, bc, ca-certificates, checkbox-qt, dmz-cursor-theme, doc-base, eog, evince,...
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Supposedly, one ought to be able to remove unnecessary drivers from the kernel build script via:

fakeroot debian/rules editconfigs

Yet - every time I do this to disable building drivers that seem a no-brainer (e.g. disabling wireless drivers for a bare-bones VM guest kernel), there's a bunch of opaque check for dependencies that fail.

Is there a way to do this safely, without having to read every line of every script?

Use menuconfig to browse and search for kernel options. Install ncurses-dev first to use the menu in the terminal. Download the source from, untar it, and type

make menuconfig

in the source directory. I found this guide particularly helpful for customizing the kernel:

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I have an C++ application running in Ubuntu. What I'd like to do is to strip the application binary of its symbols so that they are not part of the binary, but use the addr2line utility to get backtrace information by referencing a symbol file instead of the symbols that are part of the binary. Is this possible?

The closest I've gotten so far is to generate a symbol file using:

strip MyBinary -o thesymbols.sym

And then I tried using that file with the addr2line utility like so:

addr2line 0x779e81 -b thesymbols.sym

But this yields the complaint:

addr2line: 'a.out': No such file

So then I tried:

addr2line 0x779e81 -e MyBinary -b thesymbols.sym

But this yields the complaint:

addr2line: MyBinary: Invalid bfd target

Can someone steer my in the right direction? What am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance for any help!


I realize now that when I thought I was creating a file that just contained symbol information with the...

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D8TA adjusted his/her AFDB on Thursday 23 Jul 2009 17:26 to write:

> I searched the forums but didn't find anything that helped answer my
> question. I am currently using openSUSE and SLES but was also
> experimenting with Ubuntu server. I can't find myself switching to
> Ubuntu because, well Yast just rocks! SUSE is very easy to use and
> administer. I have been running Linux for about 2 years now, I should
> say running SUSE for about 2 years now. My question is how can I strip
> down my SUSE installation like Ubuntu has done with their server
> edition? Is it just a matter of removing Gnome and X from Yast? Is there
> a better way to run SUSE as a server without all the GUI stuff? In
> removing all the GUI stuff will Yast still work?

Yast will still work but from the commandline with the ncurses version (
default ) so no Xserver or GUI is needed to run it.

However you did not state which version of...

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qwertyjjj said:

So, I installed Wubi and have ported my Mozilla profiles.
I would like to install VirtualBox and or wine on Linux and then I would to strip down the Windows boot section to the bare minimum to free up space for using Linux.
How can I strip down Windows to leave it as a bare minimum booting option in case I need it. Is it best to use add/remove programs to uninstall everything?
Secondly, what is virtualbox like on obuntu?
Thirdly, how can I change the boot options so that Ubuntu appears first instead of XP?

Without knowing what version of windows you have now I can't suggest the exact method of shrinking its partition, but it is possible to do so. Vista and 7 have ways to reduce the partition size on a live install of windows. You get to the drive manager and there is an option to do so. Before you do that, remove any and all software you want to so as to free disk space, then DEFRAG the drive with a quality defragment software....

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Hard drives are getting cheaper by the day, so if you are looking for a way to vastly increase your Ubuntu installation's performance, you might want to consider setting up a striped volume across multiple disks (a.k.a RAID0). In this article I will show you how to create the volume and install Ubuntu Jaunty into it.

First, boot into the Live CD. I didn't try this with the Alternative Install CD, but I know it works with the standard. When you are in, you need to make sure you are connected to the internet.

You will need to make sure that you create a partition on each disk. There are many programs you can use; I like gparted, so I used that. Create one partition on each disk (these will be used for the striped volume), and you also need to create a tiny partition on any one of the disks for your /boot directory, which will not be contained in the striped volume. My /boot partition is 800Mb, which is more than enough; yours should be at least 100Mb.

Next we...

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I want to run VMware Server on a Linux host that is stripped down to the absolute minimum services. My goal is to leave as much RAM and other resources for my VMs as possible.

Can you suggest a good, lean Linux build that will give me only what I need to run VMware?

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That's a fantastic question! I do not play with the different distributions of Linux nearly as much as I should, so I tend to stick with a Linux distribution that I know, like, and is stable and fast. For me that is Ubuntu. And while you may know about Ubuntu because of its current position as the Linux desktop leader, there is also a server edition that you...

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