Linux – Is it possible to run graphical applications such as Firefox without installing a desktop environment

arch linuxcommand linefirefoxguilinux

I have been an Ubuntu user for 2 years and am contemplating moving to Arch. I love their philosophy, The Arch Way, and I admire their tenacity to bare the system to the user. I think if I am ever going to tame my Linux Box and be a superuser, it is the only way. I am willing to go all the way to get a real Arch experience, compiling packages from source to install and editing configuration files to change system settings. However, there are applications that are a part of my daily workflow and I don't know if they will run without a gui/desktop environment. Crucial among them is Firefox.

It would be great if I could use one or two graphical applications without having to install a desktop environment. Is this possible on Linux?

Best Answer

Well, Firefox REQUIRES X server. What you would need is to install Firefox with the help of the package management - it should install the bare minimum of the packages, including the X server. Then, you just need to run the X server without the desktop environnment. Basically something like:

$ X

Then you just start Firefox in this X server:

$ DISPLAY=:0 firefox

You can switch from the X server and the framebuffer by using CTRL+ALT+F1 and CTRL+ALT+F7.

Hope it helps.

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