Newbies of Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Edubuntu will be confused by the name of her official released CDs – Desktop Live CD, Alternate CD and Server CD. Why she makes these different CDs?
Desktop Live CD
Live CD allows user to boot it from CD-ROM and experience the power of Linux. Live CD is a complete operating system that running from CD. You can use it for testing hardwares and/or softwares compatibilty. You can use it to taste the new version of the distribution. You can use it for internet kiosks or libraries.
You can install any software on the Live CD. Once you reboot or switch off, the change will be lost. Ubuntu Desktop Live CD provides the most common features to end-users, especially for newcomers. It is very easy to use and/or install. If you have no experience in Linux, you can install Ubuntu via the Live CD in a few steps. You can choose the default setting if you are in doubt. It requires more memory compare with Alternate CD.
In addition, you can install Ubuntu by Live CD on a Windows system via Wubi. Wubi allows you to install Ubuntu in Windows system as a file. You can uninstall it just like other Windows softwares.
Unlike Live CD, Alternate CD is a text mode installer. It requires an experienced Linux user to operate. It provides more drivers, such as FakeRAID, software RAID and some other drivers and features. You can also choose LVM and encrytped directory too. It is more flexible and powerful compare with Live CD. The final product is a graphical desktop environment. It can install for a lesser memory machine, thanks to the text mode installer.
It is a text mode installer and similar to Alternate CD. You can choose some common servers to install, such as LAMP, mail server, DNS, SQL server and File Server. The servers that you have chosen are almost configured but some of them need to be tuned for different usage. It is targeted to experienced Linux users. The final product is a command line environment.
Ubuntu makes 3 different CDs in order to keep it fit in a 700MB CD and targeted to different users. Although it may cause confusion, it is a good idea for different market and user.
The desktop CD allows you to try Ubuntu without changing your computer at all, and at your option to install it permanently later. This type of CD is what most people will want to use. You will need at least 192MB of RAM to install from this CD.
Server install CD
The server install CD allows you to install Ubuntu permanently on a computer.
Alternate install CD
The alternate install CD allows you to perform certain specialist installations of Ubuntu. It provides for the following situations:
* creating pre-configured OEM systems;
* setting up automated deployments;
* upgrading from older installations without network access;
* LVM and/or RAID partitioning;
* installs on systems with less than about 192MB of RAM.
Live CD可以免安装体验 也可以用于网络诊断 比较方便
Live CD还可以用于备份系统 还可以用于安装gentoo lfs等发行版
Live CD能干嘛 就看你的想象力了
实乃是居家旅行 走亲访友 杀人越货之必备良药
alternate install cd是首选 占用资源小 兼容性好 速度快 定制性相对强
desktop是一个live cd ,只用于桌面系统，也可以在LiveCD状态下安装。
desktop是一个live cd ，在桌面环境里面 以向导的方式引导安装
live CD 就是把安装好的软件放到光盘中， 安装时就把其上的内容复制到硬盘再简单配置就行了。
只有在机子硬件配置很低时用 live CD安装较慢，其余都比alternate的要快。
The Desktop CD Install installs from within a nice graphical interface, and I believe previously had no repository on the CD, it just copies the files across from the cd and eats up memory because it is running a live version as it installs. Excellent if you do not want to install via a menu driven intreface or a command line system.
The Alternative CD installs in a command line environment or menu driven interface, is easy to customize as you go along if you know what you are doing, making it easy to install on low system requirement and does not cause many of the failed installations as the Desktop CD. The alternative CD has a repository on the CD.
The Server CD does not install any desktop environment, such as kde or gnome, and installs a kernel that is less responsive to user inputs (via mouse or keyboard) and is more responsive to disk activity. IE it installs a slightly different kernel. With a server cd if you want a desktop you have to install it via the repositories by apt-get install ubuntu-desktop. The server cd has repository sources on the CD.
That I think are the main diffrences.