What is the difference between Server and Workstation, other than a preinstalled desktop-environment?

I currently use Sway on my Fedora Workstation. This means the whole GNOME DE is installed on my machine, but i never use it at all. I even disabled gdm and start Sway after logging in on a text console.

Since i want to reinstall the whole machine from scratch anyway (i’m replacing the hard drive as the old one is failing), i began wondering… Is SELinux policies and the like are the same in the two editions?

SELinux begins its work before user-space so its on both server and workstation. I run Sway DE too. On one machine, it is the only DE. On another, I run it just like you do (but I didn’t have to disable gdm. I just boot to level-3 and run “exec sway”)

For the first machine, I installed Fedora using the Netinstall image then opted for the “Minimal Install” route (added the Standard package group too). After installation, you will need to install mesa-dri-drivers and other Sway dependencies as necessary.

The rest should be intuitive if you are used to the terminal.

The difference is in the packages that are installed.

  • Fedora Server installs no graphical environment (useless in a server) and provides installation of DNS, mailserver, web server, etc.

  • Fedora Workstation installs a graphical X Windows environment (GNOME) and office suites.

  • The workstation distribution contains a full graphical interface, plus menus, buttons, dialogs, office suites, graphical editors, games, and much, much more. They also include things like PHP or Java, web servers, middleware like Apache Tomcat, NFS servers and clients, and more of the back end things.

  • The server distribution strips away the entire graphical interface. The idea with a secure server is to run as little on it as possible, and to have, ideally, a dedicated server for each major service. This latter is not often realized, but it is more secure.

Hope that Helps !!

EDIT : I had incorrectly stated that Kernel are tuned differently for both flavors and use of EPEL Repository on Server. I have edited my answer and removed it.

I don’t think that is true.

There is no point in using EPEL on Fedora, because EPEL makes Fedora packages available to CentOS/RHEL. RPM Fusion is not enabled by default (anywhere, I think), but there is certainly no reason it couldn’t be enabled on a Fedora Server system.

Server vs. Workstation:

  • There are some differences in the default partitioning, regarding default filesystem (XFS on Server vs. EXT4 on Workstation) and the creation of a home partition, swap, etc
  • Additionally, the default firewall rules differ slightly, Server allows access to SSH, DHCPv6 and Cockpit, while Workstation allows SSH, DHCPv6, samba, and ports above 1024.
  • Default package selection, Server installs the server-product-environment group, while Workstation installs workstation-product-environment, the main difference being graphical software (workstation) and the Cockpit control panel (Server), as well as some Server-related default services.
  • Server boots into multi-user.target, while Workstation boots into (I think) graphical.target. not 100% sure of that.

If you want, you should be able to figure out the full set of differences from the Kickstart files that create the releases. Practically speaking, I would follow @twohot’s suggestion and build on top of the minimal install. It’s what I usually do for my servers as well.


+1, I’m quite sure the same kernel builds are used for all our products.

+1 to this too. One can always install RPMFusion repos on the server install, similarly to any other supported Fedora product.

I would never suggest using any repositories apart from Fedora and RPMFusion on any Fedora installs. (If you need EPEL packages, you should use an EPEL install)

The two kickstarts files can be seen here:


master implies the current development release, which is Fedora 33. Change the branch to see F32 etc. The repository contains kickstarts for all Fedora images.


@FranciscoD and @lcts ,

Thanks for pointing that out. I have amended my Answer



Is Sway a DE? The last time I checked it was a display manager like X11 and Wayland. I might be wrong.

Actually a Window Manager for Wayland. Its not like X11 or Wayland. Instead, It requires Wayland just like i3 requires X11. You can liken it to Mutter which is used by Gnomeshell


Got it @twohot. Thanks for clarifying this.

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I actually went with the netinstall way, installed a really minimal system with it, then installed my required packages semi-automatically (writing Ansible playbooks so i can easily do it again on my notebook).

My new desktop PC is finally happy not having an almost-full disk :slight_smile:


I’m happy that it worked out
Can someone thick/mark this thread as solved?
@gergelypolonkai you can also do that by ticking “SOLUTION” on the post that solved it

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