I am confused as to what defines a "server" distribution against a normal, desktop distribution. What I mean is that if you wanted a corporate server, you might be able to pick just about any linux distro and go, however for some reasons to which I appear to be oblivious to, you might want to roll with SUSE Enterprise, or RED HAT Enterprise. Why would someone want to choose a specific server distribution? Is it because of the support offered by the companies behind them? Is it that these companies often include proprietary tools in their distros, not normally found in others, to give them an edge? Is it something else?

Please help me clarify things in my mind. Thank you in advance.


Back in the Dark Ages of Linux 2.4 and early 2.6, people would sometimes compile kernels differently for "server" or "desktop" use. Desktop use would emphasize low latency, and keeping application's code in memory. Kernel use would emphasize throughput at the expense of latency, and caching file contents as opposed to application code. Here's an example blog post from that period.

I can't claim comprehensive knowledge or authority nowadays, but my suspicion is that "server distribution" means one that accounting can find a Purchase Order for, and an invoice from the vendor. Folks who are used to making distinctions between "servers" and "desktops" (those whose sole experience is with Windows) are going to keep on making that distinction where ever else someone can bill them for their lack of knowledge.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.