The basic steps to install Ubuntu Server Edition are the same as those for installing any operating system. Unlike the Desktop Edition, the Server Edition does not include a graphical installation program. The Server Edition uses a console menu based process instead.

  • Download the appropriate ISO file from the Ubuntu web site.

  • Boot the system from media (e.g. USB key) containing the ISO file.

  • At the boot prompt you will be asked to select a language.

  • From the main boot menu there are some additional options to install Ubuntu Server Edition. You can install a basic Ubuntu Server, check the CD-ROM for defects, check the system's RAM, boot from first hard disk, or rescue a broken system. The rest of this section will cover the basic Ubuntu Server install.

  • The installer asks which language it should use. Afterwards, you are asked to select your location.

  • Next, the installation process begins by asking for your keyboard layout. You can ask the installer to attempt auto-detecting it, or you can select it manually from a list.

  • The installer then discovers your hardware configuration, and configures the network settings using DHCP. If you do not wish to use DHCP at the next screen choose "Go Back", and you have the option to "Configure the network manually".

  • Next, the installer asks for the system's hostname.

  • A new user is set up; this user will have root access through the sudo utility.

  • After the user settings have been completed, you will be asked if you want to encrypt your home directory.

  • Next, the installer asks for the system's Time Zone.

  • You can then choose from several options to configure the hard drive layout. Afterwards you are asked which disk to install to. You may get confirmation prompts before rewriting the partition table or setting up LVM depending on disk layout. If you choose LVM, you will be asked for the size of the root logical volume. For advanced disk options see Advanced Installation.

  • The Ubuntu base system is then installed.

  • The next step in the installation process is to decide how you want to update the system. There are three options:

    • No automatic updates: this requires an administrator to log into the machine and manually install updates.

    • Install security updates automatically: this will install the unattended-upgrades package, which will install security updates without the intervention of an administrator. For more details see Automatic Updates.

    • Manage the system with Landscape: Landscape is a paid service provided by Canonical to help manage your Ubuntu machines. See the Landscape site for details.

  • You now have the option to install, or not install, several package tasks. See Package Tasks for details. Also, there is an option to launch aptitude to choose specific packages to install. For more information see Aptitude.

  • Finally, the last step before rebooting is to set the clock to UTC.

If at any point during installation you are not satisfied by the default setting, use the "Go Back" function at any prompt to be brought to a detailed installation menu that will allow you to modify the default settings.

At some point during the installation process you may want to read the help screen provided by the installation system. To do this, press F1.

Once again, for detailed instructions see the Ubuntu Installation Guide.

Package Tasks

During the Server Edition installation you have the option of installing additional packages. The packages are grouped by the type of service they provide.

  • DNS server: Selects the BIND DNS server and its documentation.

  • LAMP server: Selects a ready-made Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP server.

  • Mail server: This task selects a variety of packages useful for a general purpose mail server system.

  • OpenSSH server: Selects packages needed for an OpenSSH server.

  • PostgreSQL database: This task selects client and server packages for the PostgreSQL database.

  • Print server: This task sets up your system to be a print server.

  • Samba File server: This task sets up your system to be a Samba file server, which is especially suitable in networks with both Windows and Linux systems.

  • Tomcat Java server: Installs Apache Tomcat and needed dependencies.

  • Virtual Machine host: Includes packages needed to run KVM virtual machines.

  • Manually select packages: Executes aptitude allowing you to individually select packages.

Installing the package groups is accomplished using the tasksel utility. One of the important differences between Ubuntu (or Debian) and other GNU/Linux distribution is that, when installed, a package is also configured to reasonable defaults, eventually prompting you for additional required information. Likewise, when installing a task, the packages are not only installed, but also configured to provided a fully integrated service.

Once the installation process has finished you can view a list of available tasks by entering the following from a terminal prompt:

tasksel --list-tasks

The output will list tasks from other Ubuntu based distributions such as Kubuntu and Edubuntu. Note that you can also invoke the tasksel command by itself, which will bring up a menu of the different tasks available.

You can view a list of which packages are installed with each task using the --task-packages option. For example, to list the packages installed with the DNS Server task enter the following:

tasksel --task-packages dns-server

The output of the command should list:


If you did not install one of the tasks during the installation process, but for example you decide to make your new LAMP server a DNS server as well, simply insert the installation media and from a terminal:

sudo tasksel install dns-server