Installing Ubuntu Linux.

I have windows XP and installed VMware server on it.
I would like to use UBuntu Linux in order to learn Linux System Administration.
I am not sure if I need to install Ubuntu Desktop or Ubuntu Server.
In some article that I have read and am not sure if the are correct, it says that the desktop version has GUI interface but whenever you need to add a service such as APACHE, DNS, etc... it's not an easy way.
it says Ubuntu server, it's not a GUI based.

Any recommendation on which version to install Desktop or Server, for learning purposes?
Thanks
jskfanAsked:
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omarfaridCommented:
are you particular about ubuntu? do you want to try other linux versions like centos or fedora?
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
<<are you particular about ubuntu? do you want to try other linux versions like centos or fedora?>>

it doesn't have to Ubunty, Centos or Fedora will be fine.. Especially if it's an ISO image, this way I don't have to burn it into a CD or DVD
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russell124Commented:
The server distribution does not come with the GUI installed by default, you only have the command line interface.

The desktop version comes with a GUI, and from the GUI you can access the terminal to issue command line arguments.

The GUI version will be a lot easier on you to get up and running, and get a feel for things.  If you are just starting, a blank command line is pretty intimidating.  With the GUI, you will always have access to the command line interface to practice your admin commands, but you can also navigate the file system and install apps via the GUI until you get a little more comfortable.

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jskfanAuthor Commented:
so any link to download whatever flavor that has GUI?
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torimarCommented:
CentOS: http://centos.weepee.org/5.3/isos/i386/CentOS-5.3-i386-bin-DVD.iso
Debian: http://www.debian.org/distrib/ftplist
OpenSuSE: http://software.opensuse.org/

Those are the most widely spread free Linux server distributions.

But you could just as well take the normal Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download
The differences betweein desktop and server editions are that the server comes with all main server applications active by default, and that there is no GUI - because servers usually are administrated via an SSH remote shell.
It's simply not true that setting up a web- or ftp server on Ubuntu desktop is more difficult. It isn't.

Just don't forget to concentrate on working in the terminal (CLI), because that is where you will do most of your Linux administration, not the GUI.
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sandercraigCommented:
most servers are based off Red Hat (Fedora, CentOS) while Debian based (Ubuntu, and Debian) are not as common server platforms. Better off learning CentOS, it's the most common, especially among web servers. Typically a GUI is not used because you tend to (through shell clients like Absolute TelNet) do everything through command since remoting with a GUI based client (Kaseya, GoToAssist, etc) is slower, and therein less efficient. Also you won't need it, it would be extra load on the machine, that could be used up by more virtual machines, websites, game servers, voip servers, etc.
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ai_ja_naiCommented:
Note: in Linux we don't use GUIs. The most powerful commands do not have GUIs and you can run in full power Linux from a command line without being entangled by windows and mouse.

It sounds strange because you are addicted to the flashy Windows interface, but all that slick interface is resource consuming and most important is bandwidth consuming on remote session management.

So go for GUIless environments, if you really want to get into Linux
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russell124Commented:
Coming from a previously windows only background, I found it easier to use the desktop distro at first, if only for the fact that it was easier to have the terminal open right next to FAQ's etc on the Linux desktop, instead of having to get remote access set up before hand and then ssh-ing into the server.  (That plus vi murdered me until I discovered nano)

Since you are running a Virtual machine, this isn't as big of an issue.

I understand that the GUI isn't needed for administration, and bogs the system down, isn't as powerful etc. etc., but I believe that using a GUI is a much more approachable introduction to Linux than a shell trial by fire.

That being said, since you are doing this in order to learn administration, do not rely on a GUI, and don't let it become a crutch, and if you are focused on administration, you will need to learn how to use the shell.
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
WHat about this:

1- The Linux Distros I have seen, they have a Terminal window where you type your commands.
But the Terminal window is initiated from the GUI.
Is this the command line that I need to manage just the local Desktop machine or the remote server machine too??

2-So if I install a server, I will have to install an SSH software (ex:Putty), in Windows XP and managethe Linux Server?
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torimarCommented:
"1- The Linux Distros I have seen, they have a Terminal window where you type your commands.
But the Terminal window is initiated from the GUI."

Yes, that is what it usually is like. Linux had left the stone age far before Windows did ;)
All the distros I linked to above will be like this (and most others, too): present a pleasant GUI and let you handle command line stuff in a terminal window. Your  problem here was that you only looked at the Ubuntu Server edition which is specifically designed to run on machines that are adminitrated via the command line.
If you stick to the download links I mentioned above, you will again see what you have seen before.


"2-So if I install a server, I will have to install an SSH software (ex:Putty), in Windows XP and managethe Linux Server?"

No, you did not understand.
A specific Linux server distribution is one that not you install, but your internet service provider who rents you a server. Such a server will of course be out of your physical reach, because it is located in your provider's server hall. It may only be accessed remotely, via SSH if possible.
If you have physical access to the machine, and if you are the one to install Linux on it, you may install any Linux you please (which comes with a GUI by default) and then turn it into a server.
Just don't install Ubuntu Server, which was specifically designed to be administrated remotely - and hence does not present a GUI.
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
torimar:
Just to clarify point #2
I don't understand what you mean by this:
<<A specific Linux server distribution is one that not you install, but your internet service provider who rents you a server>>>

I thought, it just like any windows environment, you have your servers that run server applications, you have your end users that run client application, I would like to mention also that you have the Domain Controllers, which is a central point of managing servers,Users,and Desktop computers.

Windows 2008 has Core servers, that don't have GUI, it's CLI (I believe it's Powershell), and you can remote to the core server from (Windows 2008 server, Maybe also from Vista??? or XP???) and this will give you advantage of managing core server with GUI..
I have not used WINDOWS 2008 yet, but just what I thought I read about...

Regarding Linux and your statement, Linux servers or Desktops all come with GUI except for UBUNTU. Correct?
Does it make difference if you install Linux Centos,Fedora,etc.... as a server version or desktop version? Since both versions(desktop and server) have GUI and also you can install services on the desktop and use it as a server.
One more thing to ask is LDAP, Does Linux have a GUI interface that uses LDAP just like Windows uses Active Directory.

Active Directory uses LDAP in the background and you can use CLI for LDAP too.
Linux uses CLI for LDAP , but I am not sure if it uses GUI just like AD.


 



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torimarCommented:
Ubuntu Desktop comes with a GUI, Ubuntu Server does not.
But you can turn Ubuntu Desktop into a server, and you can add desktop GUI features to Ubuntu Server.


The normal way for small businesses/startups is to not have their webservers running at their own location, but to rent a root server from an internet hosting provider (this one, for example: http://www.webfusion.co.uk/dedicatedservers). In this case, the provider will not install a GUI on the server, because it is strictly designed for remote administration. So they would choose Ubuntu Server edition.

If you host your server at your own location and have physical access to it, you may choose whichever solution suits you best.
All major Linux distros come with Live CDs to try them out before installing. I suggest you do that.


As to LDAP, it usually is managed via CLI. But there are frontends that you can use to manage it, like phpLDAPAdmin: http://phpldapadmin.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page, or Yala: http://yala.sourceforge.net.
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
Regarding the Use SSH and the terminal window of Linux.
you can use SSH to manage Linux server either from Linux desktop or even windows desktop. Correct?
so what's the differenece between using Linux Terminal window from Linux Desktop to manage the Linux server or using SSH(Putty) from Linux Desktop or Microsoft Windows Desktop to manage Linux Server?
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torimarCommented:
You don't use SSH when you sit in front of the machine; you only use it when connecting remotely.

Other than that, there is no difference. Connecting to a remote Linux server via Putty on Windows will give you pretty much the same options and rights inside the terminal as when you sit in front of the server.
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
When I said terminal window , is the one in Linux GUI where you can type CLI.
I wanted to know the difference between using the Terminal windows of Linux Desktop to manage Linux server and the Putty from Linux Desktop to manage Linux Server.
I know that SSH is mre secure, is that the only Difference?
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torimarCommented:
I'm afraid I don't really get you.

Are you talking about managing a Linux server remotely through another Linux machine? Or are you talking about managing a local server that you sit in front of?

When you are at the server itself that you wish to administrate, you don't use SSH or Putty. You simply use the terminal.

When connecting remotely, you use SSH because that is a more secure protocol than telnet or rlogin. "Being more secure" is the only difference.
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
<<When you are at the server itself that you wish to administrate, you don't use SSH or Putty. You simply use the terminal.>>


- Terminal windows in Linux that I am talking about, you open it from the GUI of the Linux Desktop. Can you use it to manage the remote Linux Server?
-if you are sitting at Linux server console, you previously said it doesn't have GUI, what do you use to manage it? Since window terminal you open it only from the GUI.

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torimarCommented:
"Terminal windows in Linux that I am talking about, you open it from the GUI of the Linux Desktop. Can you use it to manage the remote Linux Server?"

Yes.


"if you are sitting at Linux server console, you previously said it doesn't have GUI, what do you use to manage it? Since window terminal you open it only from the GUI."

When using a GUI, you get the terminal in a window; outside of the GUI, you get a full screen terminal that resembles a computer running DOS.
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
torimar:

Excellent........
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eagerCommented:
You can run any server-type program like Apache on Ubuntu Desktop.  There really is not a lot of difference between Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu Desktop, except the initial configuration.  Ubuntu Server is for people who are experienced in installing servers, which generally do not require the X windowing system.

Install Ubuntu Destop and use the package manager to install any programs which you want to learn about.
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