Ubuntu minimal with i3wm without a desktop environment

New Linux user here. I would like to install Ubuntu minimal and use i3wm without a desktop environment. I have watched this video and replicated it, but I am wondering if I can install all the necessary packages from the X server without installing a display manager (lightDM in the video). What are the commands after install? I know some people use i3 without a DE just from reading posts on here and on reddit and I’m interested to hear how that’s setup and how it functions day to day.

Yes, you can install all of the necessary packes for x without a display manager.

Its been such a long time since I didnt run a display manager. But I beleive the only command needed to start up i3 is “startx”. That is after you configure some file.

Yeah I think it’s the xinitrc file. I don’t know if that’s the case for ubuntu mini but I think that’s what it is for Arch. I could be misunderstanding this though. So what are the commands you used to install the x server files in the first place? And do you run them first thing after a fresh install? Thank you for the help.

You’re looking for .xinitrc in your home folder. Just put in exec i3

You can also put this into your .bash_profile to automatically launch X when on TTY0

# start X if on TTY 1
if [[ -z $DISPLAY && $XDG_VTNR -eq 1 ]]
    exec startx

Do you know how to install the x server packages after install? without relying on a display manger.

I don’t know the ubuntu specific names. Have you searched for them using apt already? i3 should pull them in as dependency anyway though, so you don’t even have to install them manually.

you’ll need a few packages. The ones you need off the top of my head are:

sudo apt install xorg xinit

I’m not 100% sure that’s all you’ll need since I’m not on Ubuntu, but that should get you started.

if you want a nonstandard config, it’s gonna be easier to avoid canonical altogether.

I would like to know how to install the necessary x server packages without installing a display manager or desktop environment

IIRC it’s xserver-xorg-core for the very basic and minimal X server. You also need xinit for for starting the WM manually without a DM and of course i3 for the WM itself. Don’t forget a terminal emulator, eg. xterm or rxvt-unicode! Assuming that Ubuntu pulls mesa, drivers etc. as dependencies, that’s all you need. I’m not a Debian/Ubuntu expert

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Alright thanks I will try it out and report back if anyone is interested.

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I did this last month with vanilla debian. worked pretty well IMO.

Are there any other installs for the X server that wasnt mentioned by gentooman?

I’ll ask again. Why are you manually installing X? Install i3 and it will pull in all dependencies automatically

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I’ve had issues on certain distros where installing i3 didn’t install X as a dependency.

Arch, Fedora, OpenSUSE come to mind.

Can’t speak for Ubuntu though.