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Sorry if this is a simple question, but - eeks - I'm really a Windows person(!). I'm getting a PowerEdge Server to do really just ONE thing: I need to run interactive sessions of MATLAB (parallel computing with high CPU/RAM use). Should I install the server or desktop version of Ubuntu? As an aside, I would have just gotten a workstation, but I got a good deal on the server with better specs - Dual E5-2690s :)

I know basically nothing about this, so any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

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If this is all you are going to the machine for, I would go for a minimal install of desktop to keep as much CPU//RAM free as possible. –  BiggJJ Jun 27 '13 at 1:56
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Take a look st the answer to the question Is it possible to run matlab on a remote server and control it using the matlab GUI from a thin client? and then consider replacing "remote server" with "local host". The server used as an example in the answer is an Ubuntu server. –  karel Jun 27 '13 at 2:09
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Honestly, there's really no reason to use the Desktop version of Ubuntu on a server. Especially if it's going to be using a high amount of CPU/RAM/etc. I would install Ubuntu Server and go from there. If you really need a GUI to work with, then you can install a lightweight desktop environment like XFCE or LXDE. Gnome, KDE, or Unity are the heavyweights, so try to stay away from those in this particular instance. For more information regarding desktop environments, read this comparison of X Window System Desktop Environments.

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