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I've Googled for installing sharepoint 2010 and found that there are many versions of it - Foundation, SharePoint Server, Designer, Workspace, etc., and also there are various OS - Win Vista, Win 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Am i now confused as to what is the difference between the different SharePoint versions and which versions should be installed on which OS.

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SharePoint Foundation is a platform for developing collaborative applications. Licences for this come with Windows Server 2008 (ie: Free if you have Windows Server 2008).

SharePoint Server is an application built on SharePoint Foundation, which adds many powerful enterprise features, such as Web Content Management, Variations and Business Connectivity, amongst others. Licences for this vary with the SKU, and can be very expensive.

SharePoint Designer is a client tool for customising SharePoint environments.

SharePoint Workspace is a client tool to let you take copies of SharePoint content offline, with automatic sync when you are back online.

SharePoint 2010 is designed to be installed on Windows Server 2008 64bit only. You may be able to install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on a 64 bit installation of Windows 7, but this is for small scale evaluation purposes only.

Here is a comparison of the features available between the different version of SharePoint 2010 (also, the first Google Result for 'SharePoint feature comparison'): http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/buy/Pages/Editions-Comparison.aspx

Here are also the system requirements for SharePoint 2010: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485.aspx

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thanks James! By this it means that Designer is to design and workspace is one that integrates with VS 2010 for development. Server is simliar to IIS Web server. Am i correct? –  Romil N May 11 '11 at 9:17
    
Not really. Designer is for designing, correct, but Workspace has nothing to do with VS2010. Workspace will be used by office workers who spend a lot of time out of the office disconnected, and need a local copy of the SharePoint content. SharePoint Server is a SharePoint product built on SharePoint Foundation. SharePoint Foundation itself is an ASP.NET application which runs on IIS. –  James Love May 11 '11 at 9:40
    
ok.. but then if one needs to do development in sharepoint ( i believe that happens inside VS 2010) which version comes into the picture? –  Romil N May 11 '11 at 10:07
    
It depends what you need to do. You can use SharePoint Designer to built simple data views, workflow and connect to external data sources. If you want deployable solutions with managed code you'll need Visual Studio 2010. You can develop against both SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server, but you have to be fully aware of what each is capable of out of the box before you start developing, otherwise you may reinvent the wheel, and create features that already exist. –  James Love May 11 '11 at 10:21
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