In this post I discuss the problems of managing Drupal 8 with Composer on shared hosting, and suggest that Composer brings more problems than it solves on typical shared hosting environmnents. The problems with relying on Composer on shared hosting may go deeper than the question of whether the user can manage without a GUI, and it is questionable whether Drupal can remain usable in a shared hosting environment if Composer is a hard requirement or dependency.
Drupal VM started as one of various virtual machine install scripts for Drupal development which run on Virtual Box. Because it was one of the best, and because of great support by geerlingguy (Jeff Geerling) it has become the default development environment for professional use. It provides a 'headless' Ubuntu virtual machine (nothing to do with headless Drupal!), with no desktop included. For those who want a Ubuntu desktop included with their VM, there is DrupalPro.