Turning Fedora Workstation into Fedora Server

I set up an Intel Mac Mini as a server in my house running Fedora. I installed Fedora 37 Server many times, but could never boot successfully.

After a lot of frustration, I installed Fedora 37 from a modifed ISO for MacBook Pros from here:

That worked wonderfully. The system booted and I set up my file shares, created a bunch of podman pods and it’s been running just fine for about 2 months. I was even able to successfully complete an upgrade to Fedora 38 as soon as mikeeq made kernels available.

But I am running it as a server. I’d like to remove all the gnome and other GUI packages off the server. The less stuff to patch the better. Is there any easy way to do this without hosing the whole system?

Workstation is nothing else as a basic Fedora Linux with some additional groups to make a workstation out of it (or any other spin and lab).

You can list them with sudo dnf groups list to see what you have under “installed groups” listed.

sudo dnf group remove "MATE Desktop" for example removes the MATE Desktop. You can remove more than one group while add them with a space separated like:

sudo dnf group remove "MATE Desktop" "C Development Tools and Libraries"

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I think it’s impossible to easily remove Gnome desktop without breaking the system…

Well Fedora Server doesn’t have a desktop. There must be some way.

Swap the packages and groups:

sudo dnf swap fedora-release-identity-{workstation,server}
sudo dnf swap fedora-release-{workstation,server}
sudo dnf swap @{workstation,server}-product-environment

Then remove the unnecessary groups and packages:

sudo dnf group list --ids
sudo dnf group remove gnome-desktop libreoffice
sudo dnf remove gdm\* \*gnome\*
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That didn’t remove Gnome.

Gnome is still there after I run these commands.

Can I just do dnf groupremove gnome-desktop or is that going to break things?

I don’t want a GUI at all, so I don’t care if Wayland and X-Windows is removed. I just need it to boot to a login: prompt.

That removed 274 packages, including all of QEMu and apache.

Now you can build up your system with the server groups you need. You probably realized that there are environment and normal groups. Check and choose what you need and install them. To get a working system again.

The release type you already changed with the commands @vgaetera gave you.

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Well, the way to install Fedora Server is using the server iso or netinstall iso. The issue is that once you have Workstation installed, Gnome claims packages from the base install as dependencies. By default dependencies are removed. You can add a --noautoremove but that would probably leave behind packages that could be removed.

The proper way to install Fedora server is to use the server or netinstall iso and not fiddle with removal of Gnome desktop.

For Apache, see group web-server.

For qemu/kvm/libvirt without GUI, see group virtualization-headless (as opposed to virtualization).

dnf group info <id>
dnf group install <id> [--with-optional]

You don’t have to use groups to install, you can also install individual packages, but the groups can be useful to find related packages.

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I think it is easier and cleaner to take the script that includes the kernel patches and whatever else and build an new iso based on the server kickstart, and not install Workstation and then remove al GUI stuff.

Probably a Apple T2 is still good enough to use as a workstation while using Linux. It is quite luxury to use a image where is dedicated for a workstation to use as a Server.

So I guess for an average user it is easier and faster to remove something than to test around with a script who changes the kernel.

The Fedora install would succeed, but would never boot. I never even got to a bootloader.

I don’t know that I needed the T2 patches, since I am running Fedora Server without a GUI. But it was the only way I could get the system to boot.

I would love to see Fedora add support for the Intel Mac mini to Anaconda, but with Apple basing all their new PCs on Apple Silicon (for good reason), I think that ship has sailed.

As my system is originally a matecompiz, I used this case here to switch my system from mate to workstation.

I missed the command:

dnf search fedora-release-identity-\* to find out how my mate id is named.

With the commands from @vgaetera I could change the system.

Btw. @apastuszak for more info’s about switching Fedomra Variants this here is a good topic too:

How Do I Switch Fedora Variants?

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Like I said, I tried to do that, but I could not get the server install to work for some reason.

Yeah. They gave up on motorola chips and switched to intel hoping to be able to limit the ability for other OSes to use their hardware and found out that did not work. Now they are switching again.

They switched to Intel because the consoles at the times (Xbox and Playstation) were using PowerPC chips and Apple couldn’t get IBM to make them chips in the quantities they needed because they were too busy fullfilling Microsoft’s and Sony’s orders.

They went to Intel and Intel offered them all sorts of exclusives. So they went for it. Then Intel began to flounder. Apple made their own chips for their smartphones which were ridiculously overpowered for phones. Only a matter of time before that turned into a desktop/laptop CPU.

Think back to the late 90s/early 2000s. If you wanted to run Solaris, you were buying a SparcStation with a Sparc CPU in it. SGI Irix needed a MIPS CPU. VMS needed a DEC Alpha CPU. HP/UX needed an HP PA-RISC processor.

MacOS is certified UNIX. And now Apple owns the hardware, the software and the CPU. It’s like we’ve gone back 20 years in time.

Apple Silicon caused Intel to clean up it’s act. The current 12th gen CPUs are way more power efficient than previous CPUs. I remember I bought a new laptop for my son when he graduated high school 4 years ago, and the fan in that things just screamed constantly. We got him a new laptop last year, and that thing runs so much cooler and has better battery life.

Apple has managed to make transitions from Motorola 68000, to IBM PowerPC, to Intel x64 to ARM. KInd of amazing they have been able to make that kind of leap. Windows has been stuck on x86/x64 forever. They did make Windows for some RISC PCs in the late 90s, but that died after a few years.

And, of course, Intel really ****ed a lot of people with the failure of Itanium.

Okay but how do I go from fedora custom to fedora workstation? Sun Aug 27 2023.