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I am running 12.04 x64 desktop in VirtualBox. I did find this article about how to setup and install a LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) server in Ubuntu (which has details on how to install several different packages manually) but first I am going to try looking for a repository that contains a ubuntu-server package (or something like it). I don't know if this exists but it seems like it should.

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ubuntu-desktop is a meta package for installing a desktop environment (ubuntu), not the whole ubuntu system (desktop version).

I don't know about a meta package for LAMP, but I'm quite sure that "ubuntu server" refers to a whole system, not to a package, as you can see in the Ubuntu releases' download page.

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I understand, at least somewhat, that ubuntu-desktop is a desktop environment, not a whole system. But is there is no analogical package which will install a "Ubuntu server environment"? When I was running Ubuntu as my main OS (long ago) I could install kubuntu-desktop, xubuntu-desktop, or ubuntu-desktop in any order. It did not matter which release I installed first. – aesthetic priest Jun 13 '12 at 15:45

If the goal is to have Apache, MySQL and PHP installed on your desktop, just install the Apache, MySQL and PHP packages. A 'server' package wouldn't necessarily install all these for yet, and may also include some other packages you don't want.

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There are no differences between packages in the different flavours of Ubuntu. The only difference is which packages comes "preinstalled" in them. So, the package for installing MySQL is the same in all Ubuntu versions, like the desktop, server, kde etc versions.

So just install the packages for LAMP, and you turn your ordinary Desktop installation of Ubuntu to a Server one. It is not like MS Windows where you get an artificial crippled version as a Home user compared to the Professional version. In Linux distributions all version are "Professional" ;-)

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