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  • Writer's pictureZafer Arıcan

How to save ~1GB Memory on Jetson Nano by installing Lubuntu Desktop

Provided OS Image for Nvidia Jetson Nano has Ubuntu 18.04 with Ubuntu Unity as Desktop Environment. Although it provides a more-user friendly and nice-looking interface, memory load is high. Considering the limited RAM (4GB) and the fact that many use cases do not require desktop environment, replacing Ubuntu Unity Desktop with a simpler but more memory-efficient one can save you around ~1GB RAM.

As I am going to explain in this post, using LXDE based desktop environment reduces the startup memory consumption from 1.4 GB to around 0.4 GB.

In this post, I am going to show how to convert Ubuntu Unity Desktop Environment to LXDE based Lubuntu Desktop.

I assume that you have already installed Ubuntu 18.04 on Jetson Nano and you are able to ssh to it. After you ssh to your machine:

  • Remove ubuntu-desktop

sudo apt remove --purge ubuntu-desktop

  • Install lxdm display manager. It may prompt a dialog to choose a display manager. Choose lxdm

sudo apt install lxdm

  • Remove Ubuntu Unity's default display manager gdm3

sudo apt remove --purge gdm3

  • Ubuntu 18.04 do not have Lubuntu-desktop as a package in repo. That's why, Install LXDE desktop environment if you have 18.04.

sudo apt install lxde

  • For 18.10 and above you can install Lubuntu-desktop by

sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop

  • It is recommended to reinstall lxdm to reconfigure for lubuntu-desktop

sudo apt install --reinstall lxdm

After reboot, you will notice that a new login screen and a new desktop environment will welcome you if your Jetson Nano is connected to a display. If you run top or htop, the memory consumption will look like 400M.

Jetson Nano Memory with Lubuntu Desktop
Jetson Nano Memory with Lubuntu Desktop (htop)

Configuring VNC for LXDE

It is also possible to use LXDE when you do Remote Desktop to your Jetson Nano. It is enough to update xstartup file in ~/.vnc by commenting /etc/X11/Xsession and adding /usr/bin/startlxde . My xstartup file is as follows (Note that I use tightvncserver ):


xrdb $HOME/.Xresources

xsetroot -solid grey

#x-terminal-emulator -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &

#x-window-manager &

# Fix to make GNOME work




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Niv Eliyahu
Niv Eliyahu
May 18, 2020

After installing lxde successfully I am trying to install lubunu-desktop but I got "Unable to locate package lubuntu--desktop".

Do you know how to fix it?


Kevin Arturo Ramirez Zavalza
Kevin Arturo Ramirez Zavalza
Apr 20, 2020

How can you disable login screen to get directly to desktop?

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