Linux – Redhat/CentOS – Add Gnome Desktop

Occasionally one ends up with a bare terminal mode Redhat/CentOS Install.  But, if you prefer nice GUI, ala Microsoft Windows, all is not lost.

How to add Gnome to a CentOS 6 minimal install

yum groupinstall "Desktop" "Desktop Platform" "X Window System" "Fonts"

and, to start the GUI, run “sudo startx”.


Prior to finding, I had tried:

Post Install GUI:

which states to:

  • use yum groupinstall  to install “X Window System” / “Gnome Desktop Environment”
  • And, ran startx
yum groupinstall "X Window System" "GNOME Desktop Environment"

and, tried starting a GUI via:

sudo startx

but, failed to notice the warning message on the groupinstall “Gnome Desktop Environment”, that clearly stated:

Warning: Group Gnome Desktop Environment does not exist.

And, so upon issuing startx I ended up getting a very in-descriptive error message:

module fbcon not found


It seems CentOS 6.3 changed the names of Yum group names.

And, I wished I could say that is all the fun to be had.  But, no upon re-starting up my poor system, the system returned to poor terminal screen.  Yes, most of my work will be from the command line.  But, not everyone that will be using this system are so conversant with a Unix command line.

So how to auto-start in GUI.

Goggled till I bled.

Saw a lot of help, but the easiest for me to quickly surmise as being good; based on prettiness and thus easy accessibility is:

Configuring CentOS Runlevels and Services

The key lines that did it for me says to check the /etc/inittab file and look for the un-commented entry:


This tells the init process that the default run level for the system is runlevel 3. To change to a different run level simply change the number to the desired runlevel and save the /etc/inittab file.

Earlier statements in same document had listed what the various runlevels mean:

  • Runlevel 3 – Similar to runlevel 2 except that networking services are started. This is the most common runlevel for server based systems that do not require any kind of graphical desktop environment.
  • Runlevel 5 – Boots the system into a networked, multi-user state with X Window System capability. By default the graphical desktop environment will start at the end of the boot process. This is the most common run level for desktop or workstation use.

So with the above enough of a guidance, launched another terminal window and confirmed my current level:


The runlevel came back as 3

knowing that runlevel 5 will take me to Nirvana, I went ahead and used vi to edit /etc/inittab:

  • commented out id:3
  • added id:5



Forced to listen to Kid Rock sing “Picture” …. I wished I had a good girl with me; it sure beats spitting at this computer all evening.

Kid Rock – Picture featuring Sheryl Crow


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s