Misadventures With An Ubuntu Server [SOLVED]

Hello Linux Community,

I installed Ubuntu’s Server to my computer, after deciding to try learning, and running, an even lighter UI than Peppermint or Xubuntu for a change. (I always try to keep Peppermint independent of my nutty ongoing experiments with Linux.)

I’ve read in a couple of places that the Windows Managers Fluxbox or Openbox can be installed independently of any DE, so I thought I’d give it Fluxbox a try --installing it within Ubuntu’s 14.04.3 server. I’ve had no luck however. :frowning:

This is what I did: I first installed Ubuntu’s server, then opted for personal package management from the list of server options. I then installed xorg, followed by Fluxbox. But when I rebooted, I had no GUI. Why-- I wonder? I have no problems installing Xubuntu or Gnome in this manner --and without installing xorg. Why, I’m wondering, doesn’t Fluxbox, or Openbox, display a GUI when rebooting?

Grrr! >:(

http://blog.nomissolutions.com/labs/2015/03/02/adding-a-gui-to-an-ubuntu-server-install/

Any guesses or ideas would be appreciated concerning how I went wrong here.

Thank you,

perknh

Hi perknh, and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

Have you tried running:

/usr/bin/startfluxbox

Hello, PCNetSpec, what a treat it is for me to be here. Thank you so much. :slight_smile:

To answer your specific question, well, I’ve done so now! But I’m still having no luck. I’ve run it a couple of times, and I’ve gotten these messages:

Error: Couldn't connect to XServer passing null display.

Also, I’ve gotten this message too:

sudo: /usr/startflux: command not found

Maybe I copied that message down incorrectly --because it doesn’t say fluxbox. But, no matter what, I can’t get Fluxbox to boot up.

Now this is Ubuntu Server 14.04.3. And I picked Manual Package Selection under sever options. You would think this should be the lightest GUI going within an Ubuntu server.

Thank you,

perknh

[quote author=perknh link=topic=12616.msg103194#msg103194 date=1446150622]

Hello, PCNetSpec, what a treat it is for me to be here. Thank you so much. :slight_smile:

To answer your specific question, well, I’ve done so now! But I’m still having no luck. I’ve run it a couple of times, and I’ve gotten these messages:

Error: Couldn't connect to XServer passing null display.

Also, I’ve gotten this message too:

sudo: /usr/startflux: command not found

Maybe I copied that message down incorrectly --because it doesn’t say fluxbox. But, no matter what, I can’t get Fluxbox to boot up.

Now this is Ubuntu Server 14.04.3. And I picked Manual Package Selection under sever options. You would think this should be the lightest GUI going within an Ubuntu server.

Thank you,

perknh

P.S.

Hi PCNetSpec

I just read this link below: Maybe I should try installing Openbox first. :-\ You do know that this is all an experiment for me. I’m just trying to learn more about Linux. I figure learning something about servers and light GUIs is about as basic as it comes --but basic things of with which I should have some familiarity.

(Since this is a UK forum, I was determined not to end that awkward sentence with a preposition. We Yanks need to show our friends in the UK that we’ve been edumacated, you know! ;D)

Thank you, PCNetSpec.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ServerGUI

What happens if you run either

startx

or

xinit

then try starting fluxbox

/usr/bin/startfluxbox

?

You might also want to install lightdm and lightdm-gtk-greeter:

sudo apt-get install lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter

Wow! PCNetSpec, you did it! The command startx did it for me on the first hit.

startx

I did not need to install Openbox at all. Do you still think I should add

sudo apt-get install lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter

, or is that unnecessary now?

Now, I’ve got months of learning ahead for me. Good --this will keep me out of trouble!

PCNetSpec, thank you. :wink:

It’s hard for me to answer that perknh, I’m not 100% sure what fluxbox installed … do you have a graphical login screen (do you want one even) ?

LightDM should give you a graphical login screen and start the X session for you.

Sure, I’ll add it. No I don’t have a graphical login screen. I knew Fluxbox was going to be difficult for me to learn. I’ve already installed Synaptic Graphical Installer, and Chromium browser too; but no matter what I do, I can’t find that browser! Once I can find Chromium browser, I can begin to watch YouTube videos, and read online articles, within Fluxbox, about Fluxbox! Right now I have to go back and forth between Peppermint and Fluxbox because I don’t know how to do a thing within Fluxbox yet. Without access to a browser, I’m lost.

Believe me, PCNetSpec, this Line User Interface (CLI) is enough for me right now. Right now I’m just trying to wrap my head around how these window managers work on the most elementary of levels.

Thank you, PCNetSpec.

perknh

Does chromium start from the command line:

chromium-browser

?

If so, it probably just needs adding to the fluxbox menus

Yes, PCNetSpec --that did it. I’m now writing you from my Chromium browser which is installed on an Ubuntu server from Fluxbox! :wink: Well, now, of course, I discover I have no audio, but I do seem to have video. Your command chromium-browser worked from Fluxbox’s XTerm Terminal Emulator. So you see, little by little I’m getting there.

I got a warning from Xvidtune saying that if I don’t know what I’m doing with Xvidtune to close out of Xvidtune immediately --which I did, of course. Not doing so, it says “can do permanent damage to my monitor and/or video card.” But I figure my audio has to be in there somewhere --especially since I saw the word audio in one of its presentation boxes. That has to be what tune is all about --Xvidtune.

By the way, I reinstalled and am only using the command startx to begin Fluxbox. I’m doing this because this command is even easier to do than plain ole signing in!

By studying this Ubuntu server with a Fluxbox installation, I’m developing an even a greater appreciation for of all the work that goes in to making Peppermint such user-friendly distribution. I can see now how exceedingly difficult it is to make a distribution so easy to use. Or, putting it another way: Peppermint may be simple to use, but it certainly wasn’t easy to make simple.

Right now I feel as if I’m starting at the beginning all over again with my Linux education!

Thank you, PCNetSpec.

perknh

P.S.

So far I’ve added Chromium, Synaptic Package Manager, and Skype, Sensors and Inxi, so I thought I’d try using the top command to see how my computer’s CPU and memory were doing with Fluxbox in this server installation. I was expecting my computer’s CPU and memory usage to be way down, even lower than when running Peppermint --since this is Fluxbox. But to my surprise, my computer’s memory usage is at about 28%, while the cpu usage, from what I can tell, is next to nothing. Could Peppermint 6 actually be lighter on resources than Fluxbox? Is this even possible? Is this because I’m running a WM on a server? If so, I’m shocked! I don’t recall memory usage in Peppermint ever being this high when everything was essentially idle. My CPU usage is always about the same in Peppermint. Also, my computer’s system temperature is about the same as in Peppermint (45-46 C).

I have to redo this experiment. I don’t believe what I am seeing here! :o

P.P.S.

Yes, I ran the top command again. My computer’s memory usage is that high. It’s at 28%. And, my old computer’s memory usage used to run at 30% with Windows Vista. Ouch --this hurts! :frowning:

With top you are reading the total memory used, including buffers and cache.
For simple explanation see here
To get current ram usage run:

free -m

and look for he line -/+ buffers/cache:

Listen to what Sezo is telling you … the server kernel may be tuned to buffer more data to RAM than the desktop kernel but this isn’t a “bad” thing, and you shouldn’t count it towards total RAM usage as unaltered cached data is immediately dropped should that RAM be required by a another process.

so as SeZo says, use
free -m
then look at the unbuffered memory usage

mark@Silver-HP ~ $ free -m total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 7106 [b]1744[/b] 5361 14 163 657 -/+ buffers/cache: [b]924[/b] 6181 Swap: 8299 0 8299

Red = Total RAM being used including buffers/caches
Green = Total RAM being used by active processes, discounting data that has been buffered for speed of access

It’s the green figure you want to be reading and comparing.


Audio … do you have ALSA or Pulseaudio installed ?

What’s the output from:

dpkg -l | grep pulse

and

dpkg -l | grep alsa

I’m wondering if you’d have been better off starting from an Ubuntu or Debian “minimal install” than the server edition … but now you have it installed, no real point in changing.

Hello SeZo and PCNetSpec, and thank you, both.

Yes, I am very much listening to what SeZo is telling me, but my math was wrong. I wasn’t factoring in the number in green as I should have been doing.

For dpkg -l | grep pulse, the output is:

perknh@trusty:~$ dpkg -l | grep pulse
ii libpulse0:i386 1:4.0-0ubuntu11.1 i386 PulseAudio client libraries
perknh@trusty:~$

For dpkg -l | grep alsa, I get no output at all.

The output from free -m, with Fluxbox on this Ubuntu server (with Chromium and this forum page open) is:

perknh@trusty:~$ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5862 897 4964 117 23 417
-/+ buffers/cache: 456 5406
Swap: 6035 0 6035

The output from free -m, from Peppermint (with Chromium and this forum page open) is:

perknh@peppermint ~ $ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5863 1600 4262 199 62 613
-/+ buffers/cache: 925 4938
Swap: 6027 0 6027

From what I can see, Peppermint uses about twice as much memory as Fluxbox --which still is pretty darn good if you compare it to Windows, which uses twice as much as Peppermint! :wink:

That ram usage is still high, I had machines runinng Debian with Openbox at around 60 to 70mb ram (after cold boot) with just the Terminal open.
Obviously this is hardware combination specific, so YMMV.
If you are after a slimline desktop OS then as Mark suggested, you would be better off starting with either Ubuntu mini.iso or Debian Network install
then install fluxbox (or any other DE)

What exactly is the goal here perknh ?

You could try tracking down and eliminating unnecessary processes … but you’d need to define necessary/unecessary

if the goal is primarily low resource footprint, you might even want to ask yourself if you can get away with an older and lighter kernel.

My goal has been to eliminate unnecessary processes, have a low resource footprint, and remain with my friends at both Peppermint forum and now here. I’ve been very fond of both Debian and Ubuntu distributions --although I do know less about Debian than Ubuntu, but I find Debian more to my philosophical bend. Debian is not nearly as rigid as the Free Software Movement which has distributions such as Trisquel. The FSM talks about freedom but than straightjackets its users but not allowing the inclusion of Chromium browser, or specific proprietary programs such as Skype (which most people know how to use, but who may be in their eighth decade of life and don’t need to be change in some way, or be lectured about Free Software, or even Linux, at this point in their lives.)

If I had to choose between either eliminating unnecessary processes or a low usage footprint, I suppose going for the low usage footprint would probably extend the life of my computer more than eliminating unnecessary processes which may, or may not, contribute to a low resource footprint. I chose to begin with Fluxbox because I liked what I saw when Otherstuff reviewed Manjaro’s Fluxbox edition on a YouTube video. He made Fluxbox look interesting.

As an experiment, I’m now going to replace this Ubuntu server on this Toshiba laptop with Peppermint 6, and then install Fluxbox on top of it just to see if Fluxbox will lower this particular computer’s memory footprint. I doubt that it will, but who knows?

I’ll be back. :wink:

Thank you, SeZo and PCNetSpec.

perknh

Hello SeZo and PCNetSpec,

Peppermint 6 to the rescue! :wink:

I’m convinced running a WM, or any browser, from a server isn’t lightening anything up for its users. Also, I believe it is Chromium browser itself that is the largest memory hog.

Wouldn’t you agree that this is much improved --much better than running Fluxbox solo from 14.14.3 Ubuntu’s server? Now, I should probably replace Peppermint 6 32-bit with Peppermint 6 64-bit now that PCNetSpec was come up with a fix for Skype for 64-bit installations of Peppermint.

Thank you,

perknh

[spoiler]This is from Peppermint 6 (64-bit) without Chromium browser, or any pages open.

perknh@peppermint ~ $ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5863 565 5298 81 47 277
-/+ buffers/cache: 239 5623
Swap: 6027 0 6027

This is my computer’s memory usage when using a 32-bit version of Peppermint 6 --without any browser or any apps open as various WMs (32-bit).

Peppermint 6 (32-bit)

perknh@pepperflux ~ $ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5973 487 5486 75 47 256
-/+ buffers/cache: 184 5789
Swap: 6035 0 6035

Fluxbox:

perknh@pepperflux ~ $ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5973 623 5350 36 41 464
-/+ buffers/cache: 117 5856
Swap: 6035 0

Openbox:

perknh@pepperflux ~/Desktop $ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5973 727 5246 55 41 514
-/+ buffers/cache: 171 5802
Swap: 6035 0 6035

IceWM

perknh@pepperflux ~ $ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5973 508 5465 35 36 361
-/+ buffers/cache: 109 5864
Swap: 6035 0 6035

JWM

perknh@pepperflux ~ $ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5973 531 5442 31 38 382
-/+ buffers/cache: 110 5863
Swap: 6035 0 6035

i3

perknh@pepperflux ~ $ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 5973 583 5390 36 50 413
-/+ buffers/cache: 119 5854
Swap: 6035 0 6035
[/spoiler]

If you have 6GB RAM, I really can’t see the point in this … I mean, is saving a few megabytes at the expense of functionality really worth it when you have plenty to spare ?

or is this just an experiment ?

Thank’s PCNetSpec,

That’s good to know. Over in Peppermint forum, I read periodically how wonderful these WMs are --how they make everything run better, and how they take stress off your hardware. So, yes, I’d guess you’d say it is an experiment, but one that won’t help my wife and me much with our personal computers here. But after helping me out so much, I just wanted you and SeZo to see the numbers for the various WMs while using Peppermint, and not Ubuntu’s 14.04.3 server.

I can see there’s really no benefit to running a server for us at all, and although Chromium may be a memory hog, we’re not going to give it up.

So, PCNetSpec, thank you and SeZo, for helping me consider, and explore, the idea of using a WM for our personal laptops here. I see now that my brainstorm didn’t amount to much. Now I’m just going to explore some WM for fun. :wink:

perknh