When I install Debian without X, I get a relatively small system with a console login, the ability to install whatever else I want, and not much overhead at all. It installs its own system tools, configurations and all that; everything works out of the box but does not get in my face. I cannot do all that much, but every other feature is just an
aptitude install away. It does have some tools I do not need, but nothing too fancy.
I am looking for a way to get exactly that, but with working X. That means: I would like to...
- Get presented with a graphical login screen upon booting.
- After login, get the usual UI elements: a way to start applications, see which are running, be able to move their windows around and all that good stuff.
- (You see that I am being practical here. I don't care that much about which login screen, which start menu, which window manager, which task bar I get.)
I also would like to...
- Not have GIMP, LibreOffice, ALSA, a calendar, calculator or any other of a myriad of programs installed (which the Debian Desktop Environment option automatically does during install; and yes, I do understand why that is so, it is a Desktop Environment after all).
- Not have to spend a lot of time manually finding, installing and configuring all X / UI related packages. For example: I will find a topic like the 2 year old "minimal X.org xserver installation on Debian Wheezy" (except I am on
jessie, and can never be too sure if that
wheezieadvice is still correct). Next, I need to remember to get something like
openbox. At this point I can open an
xtermwith decorations and am practically in business. Except it seems to miss something because - unlike the Desktop Environment - it starts up with 800x600 instead of some other resolution, my non-ASCII keys do not function well (they did in the D.E.), the guest integration in the Virtualbox it is running in does not work right (it did in the D.E.) and so on; and of course I have to find out again how to get it to start on boot, how to get the login prompt etc.. At this point, I'm off into a practical nightmare of googling and it feels like 1995 all over again.
I am not trying to shave off every last byte for an embedded system here, just get a sensible starting point. If it still contains half a dozen features I do not need, that's fine with me, as long as it's not the overhead of well over 1000 packages during default installation. This is obviously not for a main installation on a PC; but for something like a special-purpose VM installation, maybe in seamless mode.
Is there either some (preferably Debian based) distribution which comes near to my goal, or a "minimal-but-working-at-the-UI-level" virtual Debian package that gives me a simple, working system?