How best to install the server and desktop versions on one machine

Asked by CThayer on 2006-12-11

I would like to setup a Ubuntu server on an X86 machine I have, but I would also like to run the desktop environment for development purposes. In other words, I would like the machine to serve (come up) as a server by default, but have the ability to login or switch to the Gnome GUI desktop environment when desired.

If this is possible, what is the best way to do the installations (e.g., install server 1st and then desktop, vice-a-versa, or some hack of one or the other)?

Thank you!

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A desktop install of Ubuntu will be able to do everything the server can. You could potentially just install the desktop and then add the server apps you want on the local machine.

The other alternative could be to run the desktop and run Ubuntu server in a virtual machine (such as QEMU or VMWare). That way you can keep your desktop development stuff running and just start the server up within the desktop as and when you need it

Do you really want to have to keep rebooting back and forth?

If you can clarify what you really want with respect to those options (or you really want to reboot back and forth) then we can go into more detail.

Toby Smithe (tsmithe) said : #2

You could also install a desktop, and disable X by default. This saves resources, and means you can start X by running startx. Look up about update-rc.d for information on setting up what starts on boot.

CThayer (craig-thayer) said : #3

I downloaded the desktop and server last night and installed the server first and desktop second and, you're right, this gives me both options but I have to reboot to select the one I want.

What I'm really after is the ability to switch logins at will (w/o rebooting). I'd like the system to come up in server mode (as that's what this machine will be primarily), but have the ability to switch to a development login (like Windows switch user) so I have the Gnome GUI environment rather than just a dumb terminal window. I want to be able to bring up openOffice, internet browser, a GUI mail handler, etc. in the development account while logged in, but, when I logout, keep the server running in its leaner environment (i.e., I want the ability to switch between server and development accounts at will, but leave the server running unless I logout of the server account before logging into the development account).

If I were you i would just have one install which has all the server apps and the desktop stuff installed. When you want to use the GUI you logon, if you logout then the server apps will still be running.

I should clarify there really is no difference between a server and a desktop on Linux. There are server kernels which are tuned for big iron machines - lots of CPUs - lots of memory, but in essence there is no other difference between an ubuntu-server and an ubuntu-desktop.

In fact you could install ubuntu-server and then do "sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop" and it would (after downloading and installing lots of extra stuff) *become* a desktop.

CThayer (craig-thayer) said : #6

Yes, that would be fine. My question is, then, how do I accomplish this?

If you have done little or no work so far on the system then you could just reinstall the desktop install and wipe the disk starting again.

Once you have the desktop install done, you can pick and choose which server apps you want to add in.

What server applications were you thinking of? Is this going to be some kind of webserver or some other application server?

CThayer (craig-thayer) said : #8

Yes, I am planning on using this machine for a websever. I'm not exactly sure how to go about that since I've never set one up before. I have a Domain Name provider (DirectNic) and a FIOS line, but my ISP (Verizon) uses DHCP. I don't know yet whether I can get a static IP from them or not, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I think I want to run Apache, MySQL, and PHP (i.e., the LAMP stuff). But, again, I've never set one of these up so it's going to be a learn as I go experience.

The other thing I'm concerned about is tsecurity (i.e., how to keep access to my internal network safe from access via anyone attempting to hack into this server). But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it also.

Thanks again for your help.

Sergio (sergioramires) said : #9

I have one question which is making me crazy.
How to install Ubuntu?
IΒ΄ve just downloaded and burned it to a CD.
I read the instructions, but, I had no idea on how to do it.

comstech (tdavis-comstech) said : #11

Hi I did exactly this server install of 6.10 then did update and upgrade
apt-get ubuntu-desktop but everytime I boot I only end up with a blank screen the speaker make the sound of the desktop waiting for the username to be entered.

I have booted into repair mode and played with dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg but the only card that works is vesa and I have tried it with every different screen res.

Anyone got any idea's

Regards Troy

2mk (2mk) said : #12

Hi. i am trying to do this task as well. It appears that installing the Ubunto 7.04 sever edition first and then install the gui using apt-det unbuntu-desktop is far easier that installing the desktop version then isntalling the LAMP components after. Is this correct? What are the things i will be missing from ubunto if i install the server edition first and then the gui desktop when conmpared to installing the desktop edition first and the LAMP coponets after?

please help,
newbie mike

CThayer (craig-thayer) said : #13
Morteza (morteza) said : #14

Dear Alan Pope (or anyone else with good experience with Ubuntu),

I just wondering if CThayer could install the desktop and add the server packages (Apache, MySQL, ...) and use different runlevels to achieve what is required?! I mean whether we can switch to different runlevels using "init"?

In Redhat I just do what I exlained above and use "chkconfig" to configure services in order to start in the runlevel 3 and be stoped in the 5.

What is your opinion about this, and what's the easiest method to configure services so in the Ubuntu via terminal?!

Waleed Harbi (waleed-harbi) said : #15

Hello Morteza,
Try sudo update-rc.d -f sendmail remove
It is like "chkconfig sendmail off" in RHEL & Suse & Fedora.


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