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We have both Ubuntu 12.04 LTS server and desktop editions installed in office. How do I know if the installed ubuntu was server or desktop edition (forget GUI as all are CLI).

Uname -a and lsb-release or os-release just don't help you identify it.

I have seen a post on this forum but its 3 years old which tell you to identify from kernel but as far as I remember, from 12.04 edition onwards ubuntu used same kernel for both desktop and server editions so whats left to identify.

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You could try to get it out by looking what processes are running on the machine. On the Server there will be some Server Processes like Apache, Mailserver or Fileserver running. This Processes you normally wouldn't find within a Desktop Computer. Maybe also a look at the installed Packages will Help. Try this command to get the List cat /var/log/dpkg.log | grep " install " maybe you also need to look inside the older dpkg logs dpkg.log.1 or much older dpkg.log.2.gz –  konqui Mar 14 at 10:28
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It does not matter, there is no difference in kernels any more.

The only differences is the installer and the default packages. Once installed you can have exactly the same OS configured, no matter if you start from the server or desktop installer.

What's the difference between desktop and server?

The first difference is in the CD contents. The "Server" CD avoids including what Ubuntu considers desktop packages (packages like X, Gnome or KDE), but does include server related packages (Apache2, Bind9 and so on). Using a Desktop CD with a minimal installation and installing, for example, apache2 from the network, one can obtain the exact same result that can be obtained by inserting the Server CD and installing apache2 from the CD-ROM. The Ubuntu Server Edition installation process is slightly different from the Desktop Edition. Since by default Ubuntu Server doesn't have a GUI, the process is menu driven, very similar to the Alternate CD installation process.

Before 12.04, Ubuntu server installs a server-optimized kernel by default. Since 12.04, there is no difference in kernel between Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server since linux-image-server is merged into linux-image-generic.

For Ubuntu LTS releases before 12.04, the Ubuntu Desktop Edition only receives 3 years of support. This was increased to 5 years in Ubuntu LTS 12.04 In contrast, all Ubuntu LTS Server Edition releases are supported for 5 years.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ServerFaq#What.27s_the_difference_between_desktop_and_server.3F

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