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I have a fairly slow server coming tomorrow and I currently plan to have ubuntu server installed (which comes without a GUI) installed on it. This should make the server run much quicker but it don't know what will happen when I install XBMC on a server which is effectively a command prompt window.
You will need xorg installed for sure probably along with some kind gui desktop and a login manager.

What will you be doing on this server? Might just be easier to install xbmcbuntu, its fairly light weight.

Im running the previous version of xbmcbuntu upgraded to eden 12.1 on average machine I built from spare parts. Runs xbmc fine and I also have a bunch of server stuff running in the background.

e.g. Apache for a personal web site, torrent client, samba share, tvheadend, and a few other things. I just ssh into it from my windows machine via putty.
What? You absolutely DO NOT and gui to install and configure XBMC or window managers or login managers or anything of the sort.

see http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=141369

So on step 1 install Ubuntu server whatever version and goto step 2 follow it and done.

If i read this correctly he wants to run XBMC as a minified server
* un1versal shouts "Place your bets!"
(2013-04-17, 17:17)Kibje Wrote: [ -> ]If i read this correctly he wants to run XBMC as a minified server
XMC is not a server. XBMC will install X. XBMC will not start without a decent graphics card and driver giving accelerated opengl.
(2013-04-17, 17:17)Kibje Wrote: [ -> ]If i read this correctly he wants to run XBMC as a minified server
There's a thread for that.
Currently my server has no GUI, as in no desktop, start bar etc, it is just simply a shell interface as you would get by default with Ubuntu server. My terminology is a bit poor because I am new to this but my basic question is:

Do I need to have a desktop GUI installed on my Ubuntu server distribution in order to use XMBC.
No. You need xbmc on your media pc, not your server.
The correct answer is, as long as your server machine has a compatible GPU then yes, if not no. Now you could provide the server machine specs and get a better answer, if it yes then refer to my first post, if its no refer to nickr's last post.

My Graphics Card


Argh, I'm still a little confused. I am assuming at this point I can get away with ubuntu server installed without a GUI but I would like confirmation before I do it please. Thank you!
You can get away without a GUI and dont need one to install/configure and run both Ubuntu server and xbmc.

Refer to my first reply on how to install xbmc onto the server, if that radeon card it should all work just fine.

I think I was getting a bit confused by your use of ' GUI', because XBMC when running is also a graphical user interface. In linux the correct terminology for what you meant would be 'desktop manager', which runs on top of the X system which (simply said) provides the fucntionality to draw stuff

You do not need to have a desktop manager installed to run XBMC, but you do need X.
It is possible to use a ' light' desktop manager, so you can still start a webbrowser if needed. (XBMCbuntu uses LightDM for this reason)

uNiversal has a very complete script for setting up a machine without desktop manager, booting straight into XBMC.
If you want a lightDM setup, check the wiki on how to manually install xbmc under linux which will explain how to do that.
Nope you may be still confused, for reference the solutions is what I said on my first reply in this thread (post #3) (alsonot my script) or wsnipex thread http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=116996 only difference on both threads is this guy wants Ubuntu server installed as a base.

Anything else with ATI/AMD GPU setups is just asking for head aches and more confusion..

Now if th OP wants XBMC running without a GUI that's a whole different road.