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I'd like my Debian 10 box with vanilla GNOME to prompt for login at a tty/text terminal instead of having the gdm GUI pop up by default. Is there a way to change some config such that it works like this, and then the GNOME interface can be started manually with e.g. startx?

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    Well I think you want to use multi-user.target target. Systemd uses targets where Sysv / init system uses runlevels. So basically what you need to do is. 1) Check your current target using systemctl get-default. This will most probably return graphical.target. Now you can change this by running systemctl set-default multi-user.target && reboot. I forgot to mention that you can run systemctl isolate multi-user.target to force an immediate switch to the textual interface Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 14:51
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    This should be an answer, worked like a charm.
    – lanf
    Commented Dec 25, 2021 at 20:06

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Well I think you want to use multi-user.target target. Systemd uses targets where Sysv / init system uses runlevels. So basically what you need to do is. 1) Check your current target using

systemctl get-default

This will most probably return graphical.target. Now you can change this by running

systemctl set-default multi-user.target && reboot

Or, without the need to reboot your system, you'd run

systemctl isolate multi-user.target

to force an immediate switch to the textual interface

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  • Exactly what I needed! Thank you
    – jbrahy
    Commented Jun 24 at 7:40

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