Amazon EC2 Linux instances do not come with a GUI. By default, you need terminal access for all application configuration. Most of the developers/sysadmins working with Linux would prefer the command line over Graphical User Interface. But developers who are new to Linux would require a GUI for installing and managing the applications. Once you installed the GUI essentials on your server, you can access it via windows remote desktop client. If you are using Linux, then you can use VNC viewer as a remote desktop client. In order to have a GUI, a lightweight LXDE desktop has to be installed on your server.
LXDE, which stands for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, is a desktop environment which is lightweight and fast. It is designed to be user friendly and slim, while keeping the resource usage low. LXDE uses less RAM and less CPU while being a feature rich desktop environment. Unlike other tightly integrated desktops LXDE strives to be modular, so each component can be used independently with few dependencies. This makes porting LXDE to different distributions and platforms easier.
Step 1: Connect to the server using ssh client putty.
Step 2: Make sure that RDP port is enabled on the ubuntu instance in which you are going to install lxde. Update the server and install lxde using the following commands.
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install lxde
Step 3: Once lxde is installed on your server, start the ldxe using the following command
sudo start lxdm
Step 4: Install xrdp to establish a remote desktop connection since you can’t have a GUI using putty. Use the following command to install xrdp
sudo apt-get install xrdp
Step 5: Set a password for the root user, since remote desktop connection requires username and password.
sudo passwd root
Step 6: Start the windows remote desktop client and enter the public DNS or the elastic IP of your server instance and hit connect.
Step 7: Enter the username and password of the server instance
Now you can start using your Ubuntu server with GUI via remote desktop connection