I would like to make my Raspberry Pi a server. With a normal PC I can install Debian, and I can choose what I like. So, how can I do the same with Raspberry Pi?

I don't like to install Raspbian, because it has a GUI and a lot of software installed by default; I can remove it with apt-get, but it isn't a clean installation...

Is there a Raspbian server version?


3 Answers 3


Raspbian is primarily intended to be used as a desktop replacement and/or a network video/media player, so it needs a GUI to fulfil the purpose, and as far as I know there's no separate server (=headless) version because, as you noted, it's very easy to remove the GUI part using standard system methods.

Regarding "clean" versus "unclean" installation, you should not worry this much, it's not Windows. Any package, once removed, does not occupy any disk space and does not leave any processes running. You may delete all traces of packages, including unwanted configuration settings, using --purge:

apt-get remove --purge PACKAGE

And you may even clean the apt cache with

sudo apt-get clean

to pretend it was never installed on your system.

  • Thank you lenik. Now I remove manually all the package that I don't use, like office app. For remove the GUI totally can I use this command ? 1. sudo apt-get remove --purge x11-common 2. sudo apt-get autoremove
    – anerdev
    Dec 14, 2013 at 14:17
  • 1
    yes, something like that should work. you may also use wildcards in the package names like sudo apt-get remove 'x11-*' (don't forget the quotes)
    – lenik
    Dec 15, 2013 at 6:27

There are scripts out there to remove all the GUI stuff from Raspbian. I wrote one myself but I haven't maintained it.

Otherwise, there's also hifi's Raspbian installer which will install a very minimal Raspbian system so you can still use all the default Debian/Raspbian commands e.g. apt-get

You can get the installer here - https://github.com/debian-pi/raspbian-ua-netinst


Another thing you can do is install Arch ARM Linux. It's a very minimalist OS for the Raspberry Pi, only having the required packages.

You could then install the software you want, and not have to worry about any extra, not-needed software pulling resources.

Granted, you'll need to learn how to install and update software on Arch Linux (it uses Pacman instead of apt-get.) However, that's not too hard. Most of the software available for Raspbian is available on Arch Linux, at least the major ones.

It all depends on how much work you want to do and if you need features on Raspbian. Basically, Raspbian == ease of use, Arch Linux == speed and configurability.

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