Desktops vs. Servers

Ted LeRoy
A free video tutorial from Ted LeRoy
Enterprise Security Architect - Online Instructor
4.4 instructor rating • 3 courses • 4,989 students

Lecture description

Desktops vs. Servers

Let’s discuss Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server.

Why are there two versions? What’s the difference between a Desktop and a Server?

Time to learn.

The Desktop operating system is geared toward individuals, end users, or family members. It has a full Graphical User Interface or GUI, and all of the features you’d expect of a home or work computer. It has word processors, spread sheet software, web browsers, ways to play music and videos, and much more.

The Server operating system is for providing services to many people. It could be a web server that presents web pages to visitors. Or, a database server that stores bank account information, or a file server that stores your files in a networked, multi-user environment.

The hardware for a desktop is designed for a person to use. When we say Desktop Operating System here, we also include laptops.

You’ll have a monitor with great resolution, a keyboard, a mouse or touchpad, speakers, a camera, a microphone, and all of the things you’d expect to find on a system you use every day.

There isn’t, however, much redundancy, in the form of redundant hard drives or power supplies. If your hard drive dies on your laptop or desktop, it could be catastrophic, unless you regularly back up to the cloud or an external drive.

Servers don’t provide any bells and whistles you’d be interested in as an end user. The do, however, have redundancy built in. You can get Servers with multiple hard drives configured so that, if one drive dies, the others will pick up the slack, until you can get a replacement installed. They also come with the option of multiple power supplies. If one power supply dies, it will run on the other, until it is replaced.

Desktops are designed for individuals, or at least one person at a time, and servers provide for the needs of many.

The primary difference between Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server, is that Desktop comes with the features end users want, and Server is stripped of those, but provides features Server Administrators want.

We’ll be covering both, but understand that anything that can be done at the command line on a Server, can generally can also be done on a Desktop, once you reach the Terminal window. 

The converse is not true. I don’t know anyone who would recommend installing a GUI on an Ubuntu Server, unless you have a very good reason to do so.

Let’s install some Operating Systems!

Learn more from the full course

Ubuntu Linux Fundamentals - Learn Linux Server with Ubuntu

Gain essential skills with Ubuntu Linux Server in this Beginner's course.

09:41:29 of on-demand video • Updated February 2020

  • You will learn what Linux is
  • Linux distributions or "distros"
  • Ubuntu Linux history and how Ubuntu is differs from other distros
  • Installing Linux
  • Installing and using VirtualBox
  • Working at the command line
  • Adding and removing packages with apt
  • Configuring remote access
  • Securing remote access
  • Using remote access clients for Windows, MAC OS X, and Linux
  • Adding a non-root user and giving it sudo (root) permissions
  • Why you should use caution when working as root
  • Versioning configuration changes
  • Using the help systems available
  • Working with files
  • File permissions
  • Linking to files, sym or soft links, hard links, and inodes
  • Managing your server, ps, top, htop, nmon, df, free
  • Scheduling tasks with cron
  • Securing your server, ufw, apt update and upgrade
  • Stopping bad guys with Fail2ban
  • How to edit text files with two popular editors, vim and nano
  • Why you should save copies of system files before editing them, and how to do it
  • Installing and securing nginx web server
English [Auto] Bhutto could come in desktop or server. What's the difference between a desktop and a server and why do we care. Why is it important to which operating system we download desktops are designed for different uses desktops usually only have one user at a time your whole family could use one desktop or laptop but you might have different Loggins for different people. Servers on the other hand serve many people at the same time or could serve many people at the same time. They're designed to possibly serve many people at the same time. So they could have hundreds of users all trying to access their file shares on a file server at the same time or a web server that serves up Web pages when when they're requested from a user or from you so you have to have a server up all the time a desktop if it's not up well you're gonna lose your staff or you're not going to be able to work until you fix it. But it's not a huge catastrophe and nobody's hopefully losing any money over that so laptops. Also laptops and desktops also have some features and some things that you won't find on a server. So a typical laptop has a camera and microphones might have a fingerprint reader. It has a trackpad keyboard of course a video screen that's capable of very nice sharp resolution and it's kind of portable and a desktop is very similar except of course you can't carry it around and it's it's not very redundant. In other words it's hard drive fails on that the hard drive is gone. Hopefully you've backed up somewhere. Please always backup or if it's a power supply dies you can get another power supply. Again very similar for desktop. You'll have to go inside and replace the power supply button. Not. Not a crazy difficult thing. And again your computer's down for a while. That's that's not fun but you'll get it fixed and hopefully none of your data is lost. A server on the other hand if a server is down especially for a company that runs on the Internet or on its Internet presence for servers down. That could mean loss of revenue service down for a long time that could mean a company has a serious financial hardship. So you want servers to always be up so servers have redundant power supplies. You have more memory they have better processors they have redundant hard drives. So if a hard drive dies on a server just one hard drive in there. There's an array of many then the server could stay up until you replace that hard drive and it rebuilds it into the array power supply. Similarly if it has to power supplies two or more and one fails it'll stay up until you replace that power supply and replace the power supply mostly to keep the redundancy. So again if something if you had to power to power supplies fail you don't have to. Then your server is still down. So very different design considerations. Likewise with the operating system so the operating system on a desktop or laptop is going to have a nice graphical user interface or gooey. And it's going to have a lot of features that you'll want it will have an office suite and let you easily install and use printers and let you line up all your files in your your video so you can see the little clips and pictures you can see pic clips of your pictures and try to figure out which one you want to use a server on the other hand. It's gonna be kind of bare bones as far as what you can do with it through that. There's there's probably not gonna be a gooey. There won't be if it's a boon to server but also it's going to be kind of limited in what you could do from that perspective. It's not going to have a video camera. It's not going to let you sort out your music in a nice graphical fashion but it will let you manage the server using tools that are designed to manage servers will go into bash scripting a little bit. That's shell scripting it's a very powerful tool for managing servers. It lets you automate tasks that you have to do frequently you can schedule those tasks so they run automatically and just give you a report. All those things are built in and if you have a desktop operating system in a boot too you can still do the things you can do on a server. You just go to the command line. You can type the same exact thing and do the same exact thing right on your your desktop or laptop. So the converse is not necessarily true. If you learn how to do something on a laptop and you want to go find the graphical user interface on the server. It's just not there so we'll have some more focus for the most part on the server side and the graphic graphical user interface will kind of guide you on the desktop side. So let's go install desktop and server for a boon to our virtual box.