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Ubuntu Server vs. Desktop

Introduction to Ubuntu Server

Ubuntu server is an open-source environment that does more than we might think. This operating system can work with everything with its capability for serving as an internal company server or scaling every way up and out to satisfy enterprise-level requirements.

It is a server operating system integrated by Canonical that executes on every major architecture, such as POWER8, ARM64, ARM v7, x86-64, x-86, and IBM System z mainframes by LinuxONE. Ubuntu OS is a server environment that everyone can utilize for the below and much more:

  • Database server
  • Cloud services
  • Container deployment
  • Development platform
  • Print and file server
  • Email server
  • FTP
  • Websites

Ubuntu server contains the following requirements:

  • Storage: 1GB disk space (1.75GB for every feature to be installed)
  • CPU: 1GHz
  • RAM: 512 MB

One feature that makes the Ubuntu server so engaging is it is cost-effective. Everyone can download a copy of the current release of the Ubuntu server and run it on as various machines as essential at zero cost (minus time and hardware).

The latest version includes essential updates to the environment. Now, Ubuntu Server supports ZFS, which is a file system using built-in snapshot abilities. Also, it includes the initial production version of the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) (a set of drivers and libraries for fast packet processing).

If we run a small enterprise and we are looking for a simple-to-deploy web server or file server, the Ubuntu server can manage that and other things as well. If we are an enterprise-level company searching to scale out the OpenStack Cloud, a Hadoop cluster, or a massive render farm, Ubuntu has us covered. Ubuntu server has been authorized for HPE Cloud, IBM, Joyent, Microsoft Azure, and AWS if we are looking to operate with Ubuntu on a virtual environment as a guest.

Why do we need Ubuntu Server?

Over the few years, the cloud has become an important focus point for users and IT, and that transformation has been a big boon to Ubuntu and Chronicle. Ever since IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) has taken off, Ubuntu OS has become one of the greatest players in executing these services through the cloud. Ubuntu has become the initial choice for DevOps engineers and administrators looking to set up OpenStack.

And then there is Docker, one of the most famous container deployment environments on the market. Ubuntu server set up Docker in an easy way. Containers can proceed a long way to support us expand our company offerings to customers, clients, and staff.

The new snap package aspect is another benefit of the Ubuntu server, which has several platforms in its class. Snap packages are global packages that include every essential dependency and can be installed with an easy command (like sudo snap install nextcloud). Also, snaps can be easily updated with a command (like sudo snap refresh).

Affected Areas of Ubuntu Server

Ubuntu Server affects everyone from end users and CFOs developers to IT pros. Let's consider one component of Ubuntu Server: the cloud. Now, assume about it:

  • Ubuntu Server is the most famous operating system in the world for OpenStack; and
  • OpenStack is the leading cloud computing environment in the world.

It means that ubuntu Server isn't only commanding the cloud, but it will be a big force for leading IT.

If our enterprise has yet to set up Ubuntu Server, don't worry- it will. As users and companies become more reliant on the cloud, Ubuntu Server will become more essential. The environment makes rolling out clouds and containers incredibly simple, fortunately for IT pros.

Release of Ubuntu Server

Ubuntu Server made its initial appearance with the publication of Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake) on 1 June 2010. Ubuntu images can be installed for either a server platform or a desktop, as with all releases since.

As the desktop, the server publication applies similar repositories, so there has been stability between the releases since inception. Ubuntu Server has been published sans GUI; because of the repository sharing, it's possible to get a graphical environment.

Competitors of Ubuntu Server

On the server platform, the competition is brutal, with proprietary and open-source solutions available. The main competition for the market is:

Ubuntu Server vs. Desktop
  • Windows Server
  • Fedora Server
  • CentOS
  • SUSE
  • Red Hat Linux

Only Fedora and CentOS servers are free from the above offerings.

Introduction to Ubuntu Desktop

Ubuntu desktop is a distribution of Linux integrated by Canonical, and it is one of the most famous distributions due to its ease of use. Also, it is one of the top references for users who are getting started with these distributions. The server edition is also working in the internet server majority. Linux distro is an operating System integrated by the Linux kernel, a Unix-like system made by Linus Torvalds in 1991.

Usually, Linux distributions are open-source and free, and several are great replacements for famous operating systems like macOS and Windows. In 2004, the Ubuntu Foundation was established by a South African-British entrepreneur and developer Mark Shuttleworth. He wished to make a more user-friendly Linux distro than Debian, which was very famous among Linux users. It was very difficult to install, although the Ubuntu Foundation operated to remedy that. Shuttleworth took Debian as a base for his operating system and named it Ubuntu because it was open-source. The word Ubuntu means "I am what I am because of who we all are" and "humanity to others".

Why do we use Ubuntu Desktop?

Let's look at every possible reason why Ubuntu may be worth giving a try:

Ubuntu Server vs. Desktop
  • User-friendly
    As an operating system made to get newcomers to the Linux platform, Ubuntu does a good job attaining the same. Why it significantly looks different from macOS and Windows, it includes a shadow learning curve.
    • Ubuntu applies GNOME, one of the most famous Desktop Environments in the Linux world. Assume the Desktop Environment as a painting on the high point of a Canvas, the Linux Kernel. We and our computers can interact in a visually and intuitive appealing manner with GNOME.
    • GNOME isn't the only DE that we can have with Ubuntu.
    • Ubuntu provides several variants known as "flavors" that dispatch with several desktop environments, including Xfce, MATE, LXQt, and KDE.
    • It provides beginners a lot of flexibility to experience and try different desktop environments and settle with anyone they like the most, which makes Ubuntu a more user-friendly operating system.
    With GNOME, Vanilla Ubuntu would be enough for a newcomer. If we have any old PC that struggles to execute modern applications, however, we might wish to try out Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and Ubuntu MATE.
  • Security and privacy
    We might have heard people saying that Linux is more secure as compared to other operating systems, and they are referring to the lack of Linux-targetted viruses and its open-source nature. When we state that software or operating system is open source, it means it is open for everyone for adding code or making modifications. Thousands of developers and people work together to fix security loopholes and issues.
    • Although, there have been instances when Ubuntu got a lot of backslashes through the community.
    • Canonical pushed Amazon search tools and apps in the operating system in Ubuntu 18.04.
    • Now, Amazon is not the most respected enterprise when we talk about privacy, and the Amazon Store would recommend users attach links to get commissions.
    • However, it was deleted in the later versions of Ubuntu.
    • A few people still use the previous Ubuntu versions, and they have the installed apps.
    Also, Ubuntu can collect our hardware information (GPU, CPU, RAM), usage data, and location data. However, we can opt-out at the time of the installation process or inside the settings when the installation is done.
  • Apps and software
    Most famous apps available on macOS and Windows, like Spotify, VSCode, Slack, Chrome, etc., are also present on Ubuntu. The operating system dispatches with its store known as "Ubuntu Software", which permits us to find and install applications with some clicks. Even if we don't see our favorite applications, we might stumble under their replacements, which we might end up loving more.
    One of the disadvantages of using Ubuntu Software is that it only permits us to install applications in Snap form. The installation process of a Snap has its benefits but might be slow and need large storage space than normal app installs. A few Linux users refuse to execute Ubuntu due to the above reason.
    However, we are not limited to using Snaps only. Most of the famous applications that are available in Linux provide a DEB installation file. We can think of DEB as the same as an EXE file in Windows or macOS.

Different between Ubuntu Server and Desktop

We will discuss some important points about the differences between Ubuntu Server and Desktop:

Ubuntu Server vs. Desktop

Graphical user interface

The primary difference between Ubuntu Server and desktop is the desktop environment. Ubuntu server doesn't include a graphical user interface, while Ubuntu Desktop does.

It's because almost all servers execute headless. It means they execute without a traditional mouse, keyboard, and monitor setup that enables users to interact with the device. Rather, servers are remotely managed by SSH. While SSH is established in Unix-based OSes, it is also easy to use SSH in Windows.

However, a few Linux Server OSes offer desktop environments, and several lack a graphical user interface. So, Ubuntu Desktop thinks that our device uses video results and installs a DE. Meanwhile, Ubuntu Server lacks a graphical user interface.

Distinct applications on Ubuntu Server and Desktop

Additionally, Ubuntu Desktop includes applications suited to normal use: there is an office productivity suite, web browser, and multimedia software. Although, Ubuntu Server also contains distinct packages, and they concentrate on server requirements. Ubuntu Server can execute as a Samba server, web server, file server, and email server. Some specific packages are apacha2 and bind9.

The packages of the Ubuntu server focus on permitting connectivity with users as well as security, whereas the applications of Ubuntu Desktop are geared towards utilization on the host machine.

Installation of Ubuntu Server and Desktop

The installation process of Ubuntu Server differs from Ubuntu Desktop because Ubuntu Server lacks a graphical user interface. Essentially, installing Ubuntu Desktop is like any software install. However, Ubuntu Server applies a process-driven menu rather.

Performance of Ubuntu Server and Desktop

Potentially, Ubuntu Server has better system performance because it does not have a graphical user interface by default. After all, there is no DE to handle. So, resources can be committed to server operations.

However, it does not always succeed in practice. For instance, we might install a few specifically resource-intensive service applications, hence slowing the device down. Conversely, we might utilize Ubuntu Desktop for word processing.

Installing Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server using the default options on two different devices will always output in the server providing better performance compared to the desktop. But things will be changed when software arrives in the mix.

Hardware requirements

We need at least 4 GB of RAM to execute Ubuntu Desktop, and disk space should be at least 20 GB because the desktop version offers a graphical user interface.

It is where it gets curious for Ubuntu Server. It doesn't have a GUI. The command line interface doesn't utilize a lot of system resources. As an outcome, we can run Ubuntu Server easily on a device with 512 MB and 5 GB of disk space.

On the server, the disk space and RAM are subjected to the web service we execute. If a web software needs at least 2 GB of RAM, we should include that much RAM. But even 512 MB or 1 GB of RAM can work in the easiest scenario.

Usage of Ubuntu Server and Desktop

We should go for Ubuntu Server if it is specifically to deploy web services.

Note: We need to have some common knowledge of the Linux command line for navigating from the terminal.

If we wish to use Ubuntu as a normal computer, such as Windows, we should go for Ubuntu Desktop. If we wish to use it to learn Linux commands, LAMP, or Docker server installation, we should continue with Ubuntu Desktop. Ubuntu Server can be a good choice for server usage. For common computing usage, Ubuntu Desktop is better than Ubuntu Server.

Similarities between Ubuntu Server and Desktop

Even with every difference, there are still some similarities between these two:

  • Kernel
    Since the release of the 12.04 version of Ubuntu, both Ubuntu Server and Desktop use a similar kernel. Previously, the two executed on a different core, which means we could not install the packages of the Ubuntu Desktop on the Ubuntu Server. Now, we can add many packages to any of the versions.
  • Support
    Upon the publication of the 12.04 version of Ubuntu, the support between the Ubuntu Server and Desktop also shifted. Ubuntu Desktop previously offered a three years support cycle. Besides, the Ubuntu Server offered a five years support cycle.

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