Launch Ubuntu Desktop Mantic Minotaur on EC2

Ubuntu Mantic Minotaur was released in October 2023, the latest and greatest Ubuntu release by Canonical so far. See what’s new in the Official Release Notes and the Deep Dive page.

Let’s see how we can launch it on an EC2 instance on AWS using RDP for accessing it.

Step 1: Launch an Ubuntu Mantic Instance

Ubuntu Mantic is available on AWS Marketplace only, so you need to open the Marketplace, search for Ubuntu Mantic, and subscribe.

After subscribing and agreeing to the terms and conditions, you will have to wait for a couple of minutes before being able to launch it.


Step 2: Launch the server

The suggested requirements to run Ubuntu Desktop are at least 2 cores and 8GB of RAM, but take into consideration that on remote instances without GPU, the video is being rendered using the CPU.

Regarding disk space, you can fit the whole installation on an 8GB volume, but it won’t be enough for your own applications, so make sure to make some room for your needs.

When selecting or creating a security group, make sure you are allowing SSH and RDP ports (21 and 3389 respectively). You can select the “create a security group” option, which will allow you to enable port 21, but you will need to add the RDP port later (either to the same security group or creating a new one and attaching it to the instance). You can also create a security group before launching the instance.

Step 3: Install Ubuntu Desktop and the Snap Store

You can connect either using SSH (using a SSH client such as PuTTY if you are on Windows or the terminal in Linux) or using Instance Connect on the AWS EC2 console, as shown in the next picture:


After login, insert the following commands to install the Ubuntu Desktop packages.

sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade -y
sudo apt-get install -y ubuntu-desktop
sudo snap install snap-store --edge

This will download all the Ubuntu Desktop packages and dependencies, so it will take a while. Make sure you don’t get disconnected from the session while doing this step.

Step 4: Install and configure RDP

Install the xrdp server with the following command:

apt-get install -y xrdp

And configure it to use SSL to get an encrypted connection:

sudo usermod -a -G ssl-cert xrdp

Finally, we need to set up a password for the Ubuntu user:


And restart the service:

systemctl restart xrdp

Step 5: Configuring the Ubuntu session

At this point, you should be able to connect to your instance using RDP. If you do so, you will see a vanilla Gnome desktop without the Ubuntu session, so we need to create a configuration script that will be run on RDP connections.

Using Nano or your favorite text editor, create the following file:

sudo nano /usr/local/bin/ubuntu-session

Insert the following content:


export DESKTOP_SESSION=ubuntu-xorg
export XDG_SESSION_DESKTOP=ubuntu-xorg

exec /usr/bin/gnome-session --session=ubuntu

And make the script executable:

sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/ubuntu-session

Finally, we need to update the session manager to use our new session configuration:

update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/x-session-manager x-session-manager /usr/local/bin/ubuntu-session 60

Step 6: Connect to your instance

Open your favorite RDP client and connect to your instance. You can get the IP address from the EC2 console. The connection port is 3389.

I am using Remmina, since I’m on Ubuntu.

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There’s a minor typo on the first line, it should say October 2023, not October 2024; other than that this is well written & easy to follow :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the feedback!