Why are there no terminal-only distros?

Debian, Arch, and Gentoo were pretty close, but why are there no terminal-only distros? I know linux at heart is terminal-only, but hey I hate graphics(trust me I am viewing this site via w3m and Debian). Can someone recommend any command that gets rid of the GUI completely?

Ctrl Alt Backspace
You will come out of the window system into terminal mode, or at least to xdm if you run a display manager

Or boot in single user mode. All Linux variants can do that… grub calls it advanced mode.

Or just open a single window and make it whole screen.

Or use a tiling window manager


Well they all are. You just have to configure it to disable the display manager, which might be xdm, sddm, lxdm, or whatever.

In Void linux with runit, you just remove the link to sddm in /var/service.
Dont ask me what you do to disable a daemon in those horrendous systemd distros.

If you install the minimal or base download of a distro, you get it without a window system. At least that is what happens with Void. It just comes up with a terminal login prompt.


Gentoo has no systemd? also, what’s wrong with systemd? curious. Because when comparing Debian to Devuan(debian without systemd), there was no issues…

I mean I want to disable/erase the GUI completely. I’ve mastered the terminal, and find “terminal dwelling” more useful than GUI.

Just dont install the desktop environment in first place
Most distros have a minimal download with no DTE

I said it here

If you install the minimal or base download of a distro, you get it without
 a window system. At least that is what happens with Void.
 It just comes up with a terminal login prompt.

You just missed it

Dont start that discussion you will get a cyclone of opinions
2 points

  1. It violates the basic Unix philosophy of -“do one thing and do it well”
    If it was just another init system it would pass this test
  2. It is large and complex and everywhere, and therefore full of bugs


Ubuntu SERVER installs no GUI… even the installer is text based (something Canonical call subiquity) and if I remember, the default installer for Debian is text based, and it only installs a GUI if you ask it to, as software choice etc… The RPM family are a PITA, i.e. RHEL, OEL, CentOS, by default the installer via a clickety-click-click GUI, and if you’re not careful, e.g. RHEL 8, it will install a GUI…

I just recently installed (again) RHEL 8.5 on a gigabyte Brix - ostensibly a server, I let it install a GUI - so I know all the X11 stuff will be there (stupidly, it DOESN’T install xeyes or xclock - these are two apps I use to verify X11 is working remotely [e.g. tunnelling X over SSH]).

I got rid of the GUI - so it’s effectively headless :

systemctl set-default multi-user.target

Couldn’t be any easier.

There is also a way to interrupt the installer from running a graphical installer, to console based one via anaconda…

Pretty sure the NetInst ISO for Debian ONLY installs a desktop / GUI if you explicitly select that option during the install…

Note also - Raspbian / RasbPiOS : Raspberry Pi OS Lite install runs no GUI - you can add one later, or choose not to… That’s how I run my RPi4B 4 GB model RasPi OS arm64, headless server, PiHole, fail2ban and OpenVPN server… The thing I like about Raspbian is that I can edit the boot/config.txt on the SD-Card from another computer and set a fixed IP address (or even the USB 3.1 external SSD I boot the Pi4 off!).

That command offers me no hint as to what it does.
Systemd, as a language is going back to the days of bookshelves full of manuals.
How are people supposed to remember that stuff?