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Make NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit Headless


This tutorial will show you how to easily remove the desktop interface from your NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit to run it in headless mode. This can be useful for using the NVIDIA Jetson Nano as a small, low-power server with machine-learning capabilities.

The NVIDIA Jetson Nano is a mighty little single-board computer with a Quad Core ARM64 CPU, 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, and a 128-core NVIDIA Tegra (Maxwell-based) GPU, all while using as little as 5 watts. It’s also inexpensive and perfect for experimenting with machine learning and AI!

Please back up your storage device before proceeding! I’ll take no responsibility if this bricks your system. ☠️

Configure the Display Manager #

Stop the display manager, gdm3:

$ sudo systemctl stop gdm3

This will most likely drop you out of the graphical user interface and into the terminal. Perfect! Next, we’ll disable it to stop it from starting on boot and default to

$ sudo systemctl disable gdm3
$ sudo systemctl set-default

Uninstall Ubuntu Desktop and the Display Manager #

Simply run the following command to completely uninstall the Ubuntu Desktop environment and the display manager, and then run apt autoremove to clean up before reboot:

$ sudo apt remove --purge ubuntu-desktop gdm3
$ sudo apt autoremove

Finally, reboot:

$ sudo reboot

Last Words #

Again, please back up your storage device before following this tutorial. CUDA should still be working after removing the desktop environment. If it doesn’t, please let me know, and I’ll correct this tutorial.

Revision #

2023-09-10 Updated commands according to suggestions by mxplusb, thank you!

2023-08-31 Revised language, fixed command