Linux OS is the same on all distribution. Flavours (different distribution) simply implement certain functions differently so as to distinguish themselves from and between other distributions. Functions like program managers (apt on Debian, yast/yum on OpenSUSE, etc.), network, applications and theme managers. Basically it is all the predefined selections that diverse each distribution flavour. Some distros may or may not have the latest Kernel release, may or may not have the latest and greatest pretested apps, it is all about the methodology of the flavoured distro your selected. Distributions allow you to modify pre-defined selections usually upon installation.
If you have the same flavour of distro (eg: Ubuntu) then the server verses the workstation/laptop selections only differ in what is pre-selected for installation and download, with most of the packages the same on each sub-flavour (ie> Desktop usually is the same as Laptop, except maybe the laptop sub-flavour may have additional scripts and/or program added at install or upgrade). It is just like ice-cream. I love Chocolate with a vanilla swirl, just like my Linux I use both OpenSuSE, Ubuntu, Read Hat - all the same but for differentiate management methodologies. I use different distro at different times, just like I love Chocolate mostly, but strawberry in the afternoon. It is all a mater of what flavour turn's you on.
So, just like buying food in the local shop, your got to read the labels (included programs apps and device support) to see if that suits you and your laptop or workstation. This is why some laptop suppliers recommend particular flavours of Linux distributions.
Hope this assists you.