I have a VPS, for which I am paying next to nothing and grandfathered in. Therefore I am unwilling to part with it. And I want it to perform a smidgen more by making it accessible via VNC.

Mind you this VPS runs with 256MB RAM, burstable to 512 MB only. And it is stuck at Ubuntu version 9.04, for which the usual Ubuntu archive is not providing any more new installations as it is out of support I believe. Upgrading to a supportable Ubuntu version is harder than pulling teeth at this time.

So, my question has two parts:

  1. What is the best and lightest weight window manager that will run under jaunty with 256MB RAM?
  2. (the twist) Where can I download all necessary parts so that I don't need to use any repositories to install it?
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    You should upgrade your system especially since Ubuntu 9.04 is EOL and no longer supported since 2010. Running this in a Server environment is risky and you shouldn't do that. – Ulrich Dangel May 4 '13 at 19:08

Generally the most lightweight GUIs are , or and there are some that are still quite light but not as pure as the mentioned *box window managers, those are and .

Now, first you should check if these are compatible with 9.04 (they should be).

Afterwards try them out in a virtualbox, as Anthon already said, to get used to the installation and configuration. If an installation via apt-get is not possible you can probably just copy the files over via ftp or sftp or host it as an archive and use wget and untar or something like that.

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I would go for Xubuntu, it is lightweight and official. Download the CD image from here.
It should run in 192Mb of RAM.

If you have the change setup a local virtual machine (VM) with 9.04 to try things out before potentially breaking your VPS.

After you get that running do Then setup ssh so you can ssh from your VM to VPS (I assume you the server already have that running on the VPS). On VM:

cd /var/tmp
sudo dpkg -l > vm_dpkg.lst
ssh root@vps "dpkg -l > /var/tmp/vps_dpkg.lst"
scp root@vps:/var/tmp/vps_dpkg.lst .
diff v*_dpkg.lst

Compare the output and make sure you scp the missing debian packages from VM to VPS (either from /var/cache/apt/archives/ or from the DVD).

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