How to install GNOME GUI on CentOS

GNOME adds GUI to the minimal CentOS installation, which is otherwise only a command-line based interface.

In this article, we’re going to explain how can the GNOME GUI can be installed on CentOS minimal version. Since the interface is CLI mode, this is only going to be a bunch of simple terminal commands.

GNOME is a part of the GNU project and is a very simple DE that focuses on ease of usage and elegance. It uses the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid), and is the default DE of many distributions like Debian, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Kali Linux, etc. Find out more about GNOME here.

Installing GNOME on minimal CentOS

Let’s straightaway get to it.


We’re going to assume that users already have installed CentOS and have access to the root user, or a superuser. We’re going to write the commands according to the root user for the sake of simplicity. If you’re not the root user, just put sudo in front of all commands.

Start up the system and proceed:


Step 1 – Connect to the internet

You need an internet connection for this. So, if you’re on a wired connection, there’s nothing to do. However, if you want to connect to a wireless network, enter this:


It stands for Network Manager Textual User Interface. It is still not a graphical interface, but it’s close, and if you ask me, it is cool too. You can connect to the wireless network here. You should see a menu like this:

Connecting to a wireless network.
Connecting to a wireless network.

Navigate to ‘Activate a connection’ and press Enter. A list of available networks should appear. Choose the one that you want to connect to, enter its password, and you’ll be connected.

Step 2 – Update your system

First, we update the system. It is not always required, but its good practice.

yum update

Updating CentOS

Let it finish and proceed.

Step 3 – Install the GNOME package

Now, we install the GNOME packages. To install those, we’re going to use a command that installs all packages related to the GNOME DE.

sudo yum -y groups install "GNOME Desktop"

GNOME Packages installation
Installing GNOME packages

It may take a while, so lay back and get some snacks.

Step 4 – Configure the X window system

The program that runs a graphical environment on most Linux systems is called the X Window System. So, first, you’ll have to tell X that GNOME is the default DE that you want to use for the graphical environment. So enter this command:

echo "exec gnome-session" >> ~/.xinitrc

Now we’re done with the installation of GNOME and configuration of the X Window System. So let’s test it with:


After this program runs, you’ll see the GNOME graphical interface, something like the image below, which means it works.


Step 5

Now it has been installed and tested. However, we don’t want that every time that you start up your system, you have to enter startx to get the GUI. So let’s make it start automatically during startup. Use the following command:

systemctl set-default


You are done with installing GNOME on CentOS. Easy, wasn’t it? Now next time you boot, you should see the GNOME login screen. Enjoy the GNOME DE on your system.

We hope this article helped you. Cheers!

Pulkit Chandak
Pulkit Chandak is a Linux enthusiast and has been using and experimenting with open source software, and hardware too since a long time. He is a huge admirer of open source software and wants to ventilate it to all around him. He is interested in reviewing and writing tutorials on Linux and its innumerable distributions. He believes that freedom in software leads to freedom of the mind from the chains of limits.


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