The different between Ubuntu Desktop, Alternate CD and server CD

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.

Alternate CD
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.

Server CD
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.

HOWTO : Convert existing ext3 to ext4

According to the current issue (issue #22, Page 26 “Letters”) Full Circle Magazine at, we can convert the existing ext3 to ext4 by the following command. However, I did not try it yet until the release of Ubuntu 9.04.

tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index /dev/DEV

ext4 is running fast and stable under Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha. I have installed it on a AData 300 Series 64GB Solid State Drive (SSD, MLC) with no problem. However, the BIOS should not select Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI). According to some source, ext4 is also good for SSD usage.

Canonical’s Landscape service for Ubuntu server and desktop

The slogan at states “Landscape makes the management and monitoring of Ubuntu systems simple and effective by combining world-class support with easy to use online management tools.”

You will have 60 days of free trial of Landscape upon registered to the Canonical’s Landscape website. However, you should wait for more than one week to receive the instruction to operate the Landscape.

Upon receiving the email from the official of Canonical related to Landscape, you can register your Ubuntu server or/and desktop by installing some packages. The procedure is simple and easy.

Landscape provides a very simple and easy way to manage your Ubuntu servers and desktops via web interface. Landscape continues to improve and enhance her services. You can surf her blog for the details.

You can buy the support and service of Landscape for your registered servers and/or desktop by 2 options – Standard 9×5 and Advanced 24×7 by annual. Or, you can buy Landscape as a standalone product in term of annual license at $150-USD.

You can update or/and upgrade all your servers and/or desktops at the same time via web interface by a single click. You will be informed if there is any update or/and upgrade available by email when you are subscribed.

Landscape is a good tool for all system administrators for maintaining more than one Ubuntu servers or/and desktops remotely or locally.

Recommended to all system administrators and users who are running Ubuntu servers and/or desktops.