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I have installed Debian wheezy on my machine with a netinst image, now I would like to deactivate the desktop and boot straight to the command line, not only that but I would like to not waste any resource on the X11/gnome/gdm at all if not needed.

I tried ( as root )

update-rc.d -f gdm remove
update-rc.d -f gdm3 remove
update-rc.d -f wdm remove

but Debian keeps booting into the login manager, I really don't need that, how I can deactivate this kind of boot and start X only when needed ?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Look in /etc/rc2.d/. There are probably links to /etc/init.d/xdm and /etc/init.d/kdm which you haven't removed yet.

You can also edit the file /etc/X11/default-display-manager, which includes the full path to the default display manager Debian is using. If you replace the content of that file with /bin/true, you are probably disabling the start of any login-manager as well.

The TTYs are spawned anyways. If no login-manager is launched, TTY1 will remain the active TTY and you can just log in using the command line.

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I'm sure i have no xfce or kde-related package installed because I just installed the "default" gnome desktop environment, I will go for /etc/X11/default-display-manager and see if this solves. – user2485710 Aug 14 '13 at 17:22
A quick ls /etc/rc2.d/ would provide proof. I'm sure you have no idea what packages you never wanted have been installed. You're using Debian, not Gentoo. :-) – Bananguin Aug 14 '13 at 17:28
I commented out with a # the line inside /etc/X11/default-display-manager and added a new one with /bin/true and now it boots into a tty, or, in better terms, it doesn't boot any display manager, just like I wanted. Debian is my choice at the moment because of the really low requirements and the pre-compiled packages in the repository, I'm running it under an 800Mhz single core CPU with 128Mb of ram, to run Gentoo under this system you will need ages; but Debian is perfectly fine for now. – user2485710 Aug 14 '13 at 17:40

For Debian 8 with systemctl:

systemctl disable gdm
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