I am wondering if there is any difference between the installation methods of Ubuntu minimal and server.
The Minimal CD will download packages from online archives at installation time instead of providing them on the install CD itself. Downloading packages at install time reduces the size of the install CD to approximately 5 to 20MB depending on architecture, as well as providing only the packages needed for installation. The download time savings achieved by using a Minimal CD can be significant, as only current packages are downloaded, so there is no need to upgrade packages immediately after installation. The Minimal CD uses a text-based installer like the Alternate CD, making the CD image as compact as possible.
Basically you get whatever is needed to get you to command line and you will need to install anything else yourself: so next you install a window manager if you want.
You can use
tasksel on the command line to install servers (where you end up with a server install)
The Server Edition provides a common base for all sorts of server applications. It is a minimalist design providing a platform for the desired services, such as file/print services, networking, DNS, web hosting, email hosting, wiki server, version control server.
Basically you get to choose at installation what server applications you want.
Regarding the kernel these should be the basic differences between a server and other installs:
- Preemption is turned off in the Server Edition.
- The timer interrupt is 100 Hz in the Server Edition and 250 Hz in the Desktop Edition.
- The Server Edition is optimized for i686 processors while the Desktop Edition is optimized for both the i586 and i686.
- Virtualization is better supported in the Server Edition through the enabling of IPC namespaces, and the Xen hypervisor.
- Multiple routing tables for the IPv6 protocol are also supported in the Server Edition.
- For 32-bit systems the Server Edition is configured to use PAE which allows addressing up to 64GB of memory while the Desktop Edition is configured for 4GB.
A minimal install where you install a desktop afterwards will get you an Ubuntu Desktop Edition. A minimal install where you install servers afterwards will get you an Ubuntu Server Edition but you will need to optimize the kernel yourself.
You would be better off starting with the Desktop or Server Edition instead of a minimal install if you intend to end up with a normal version of Ubuntu.
This page says, "While the minimal iso image is handy, it isn't useful for installing on UEFI-based systems that you want to run in UEFI mode. The mini iso lacks the proper files for booting the computer in UEFI mode. Thus, the computer will boot in BIOS compatibility mode, and the installation will be in BIOS mode." It then suggests a server install as an alternative.