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sorry if this is the wrong section, but what is the difference between a normal OS and a server OS?

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Last Post by SJP99
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First you have to decide what "normal" is. As for a server server OS, it is configured to provide services to other nodes on the network. Typically, this would be web services, but not necessarily. Most useful OSs can be used either way, it is more a matter of tuning than an actual difference.

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i mean a normal OS that runs on an average desktop computer, why cant they use that on large servers?

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"They" use a server OS because "they" want an OS that is tuned to do the things servers do, not the things a desktop or laptop does. A server is likely tuned to handle lots of data fast, many network connections and heavy computation. It may need to handle dozens or even hundreds of simultaneous users or hundreds or thousands of network connections. It may need to deal with seriously big and fast database activity. Servers typically have a lot of RAM (32 or 64 Gig is not uncommon) and a lot of disk (multiple terabytes is not uncommon). If a server crashes, a lot of people are more or less seriously inconvenienced, so server OSs are likely to be upgraded on a slow and careful schedule and stay an iteration or three behind the leading edge. System administrators for these machines spend significant time looking at the way data is being handled, searching for bottlenecks, and tweaking things to get better performance.

Personal computers handle relatively little data, a few network connections, do quite a bit of graphic display and the associated calculations, and probably have exactly one user. They are likely to have only a couple of Gig of RAM, and do virtual memory (page to the hard drive) on the occasions when they need to handle more data than that. They typically have half a terabyte or less of hard drive. If a PC crashes, one person is inconvenienced, and usually the inconvenience is not large, so PC OSs tend to be a little less stable then servers, and they tend to emphasize ease of use, pretty graphics and such things in order to make the sale. PC OSs need to keep running "reasonably well" even if the system is badly administered (the vendors are likely to skip over the need to do any sys admin; and third party 'AI' products end up doing most of it).

Despite the differences, many thousands of PCs are used as servers (and a significant fraction of those are being run, unbeknown to their owners, by criminals who have subverted them to their own purposes).

What is your reason for asking / caring?

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hahaha....dont worry i dont plan on turning peoples computer in servers. ive just always wondered why there are server editions of windows and linux. so the OS doesnt really provide the server services..it just optimized to run on servers?

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hahaha....dont worry i dont plan on turning peoples computer in servers. ive just always wondered why there are server editions of windows and linux. so the OS doesnt really provide the server services..it just optimized to run on servers?

Some of each. Apache, tomcat etc. may or may be installed by default on a linux distro, but you can always download it or install it from your distro disk if it is there. I think that the Microsoft IIS server doesn't ship with their PC OSs (not sure); and I don't know if Windows Server OS has significant differences or just 'tuning' differences from the PC version. The default file system for a linux OS may be more or less suited to handling large disks, handling big (or many small) files, dealing with much throughput, etc. Similarly for server-ready databases. So, yeah, it is mostly 'tuning' but in some cases, you have to 'tune to a whole new key'.

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okay..some come preinstalled with server software..but the OS doesnt provide the server services?

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You should probably stop picking my brain now and go look elsewhere: I'm not an expert, just an interested amateur (if that word applies to someone who uses something with only middling levels of understanding). I think the prior discussion has most of the interesting keywords so Google or Bing search should get you to the good stuff pretty quickly. You might also want to look at Wikipedia.

From my perspective, you appear to be chasing around in circles, and I'm not sure why. In any case, if you want more depth, you do need to look elsewhere.

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not sure what you mean by circles....but ill keep looking on google (ive been looking for awhile now) thanks anyways.....

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