Newbies of Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Edubuntu will be confused by the name of her official released CDs – Desktop Live CD, Alternate CD and Server CD. Why she makes these different CDs?
Desktop Live CD
Live CD allows user to boot it from CD-ROM and experience the power of Linux. Live CD is a complete operating system that running from CD. You can use it for testing hardwares and/or softwares compatibilty. You can use it to taste the new version of the distribution. You can use it for internet kiosks or libraries.
You can install any software on the Live CD. Once you reboot or switch off, the change will be lost. Ubuntu Desktop Live CD provides the most common features to end-users, especially for newcomers. It is very easy to use and/or install. If you have no experience in Linux, you can install Ubuntu via the Live CD in a few steps. You can choose the default setting if you are in doubt. It requires more memory compare with Alternate CD.
In addition, you can install Ubuntu by Live CD on a Windows system via Wubi. Wubi allows you to install Ubuntu in Windows system as a file. You can uninstall it just like other Windows softwares.
Unlike Live CD, Alternate CD is a text mode installer. It requires an experienced Linux user to operate. It provides more drivers, such as FakeRAID, software RAID and some other drivers and features. You can also choose LVM and encrytped directory too. It is more flexible and powerful compare with Live CD. The final product is a graphical desktop environment. It can install for a lesser memory machine, thanks to the text mode installer.
It is a text mode installer and similar to Alternate CD. You can choose some common servers to install, such as LAMP, mail server, DNS, SQL server and File Server. The servers that you have chosen are almost configured but some of them need to be tuned for different usage. It is targeted to experienced Linux users. The final product is a command line environment.
Ubuntu makes 3 different CDs in order to keep it fit in a 700MB CD and targeted to different users. Although it may cause confusion, it is a good idea for different market and user.