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 really powerful 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 perfect for experimenting with machine learning and AI and it’s inexpensive too!

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 in to 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:

$ sudo apt remove --purge ubuntu-desktop gdm3

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.