Tutorial: Howto install a desktop on CentOS Basic or Minimum

31 May

So after following my tutorial about installing CentOS you’re facing your Linux prompt and wondering… Now what?? Well if that is your case you might need some graphics after all. I’m not a big fan of the Linux graphical tools cause they might ruin some of your configuration too. Eg. setup iptables and then modify something in the firewall tool. Say bye bye to your firewall config. Anyway, I today asked my Linux teacher how you can upgrade your existing installation with a desktop. His exact answer was: “I don’t know, but why should you? A new installation only takes 10 minutes…..” sigh. Like that was the question. So I did some googling and like many thing this one is well documented.

First setup the environment:

yum -y groupinstall "Desktop" "Desktop Platform" "X Window System" "Fonts"
yum -y groupinstall "Graphical Administration Tools"
yum -y groupinstall "Internet Browser"
yum -y groupinstall "General Purpose Desktop"
yum -y groupinstall "Office Suite and Productivity"
yum -y groupinstall "Graphics Creation Tools"

Could take a while but that’s what you need for your desktop env. The only tool I was really missing is the Logical Volume Manager but it’s easy to install:

yum –y install system-lvm-config

Now the cool part is that installing all these apps only takes diskspace. To really use them you need to start them. You can do so with the command startx or init 5 which starts runlevel 5 (the graphical environment). After a reboot of the server you will end up with runlevel 3 again (Full Multiuser Mode – without graphics). If you do want to load the desktop part on startup you need to modify the /etc/inittab file and change the runlevel to 5.


Have fun clicking around!


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