Install GNOME | How to enable GUI mode | RHEL CentOS 8

In this article I will share the steps to install GNMOE desktop to enable GUI mode in RHEL/CentOS 8 Linux. There are different GUI Desktop Environment in RHEL/CentOS 8.

 

RHEL/CentOS 8 Desktop Environment

By default RHEL and CentOS 8 supports below GNOME Desktop Environments

  • Server with GUI
  • Workstation

But with EPEL repo, we have an option to install KDE Desktop Environment

  • KDE Plasma Workspaces
NOTE:

KDE is officially not supported in RHEL 8 and has been deprecated starting RHEL 7.6

 

Install GNOME Desktop Environment on RHEL/CentOS 8

To install GNOME desktop environment on RHEL and CentOS 8 you do not need any additional repository. You can also install GNOME Desktop without registering your RHEL 8 node using subscription-manager. But if there are any package version conflicts then in RHEL 8 you must have a valid Red Hat subscription to register your node.

On CentOS 8 you do not any additional subscription, you just need an active internet connection to be able to download the GNOME Desktop Environment packages.

 

List the available Desktop Environment Groups

Starting with RHEL/CentOS 7.7, we have DNF as a replacement of YUM. Although you can continue to use YUM but it will also be internally linked to DNF.

To list the available groups for installation

NOTE:

Check this article if you are getting "there are no enabled repos" error
[root@centos8-kvm ~]# dnf grouplist
Last metadata expiration check: 0:19:26 ago on Mon 27 Apr 2020 11:21:11 AM IST.
Available Environment Groups:
   Server with GUI
   Server 
   Workstation
   Virtualization Host
   Custom Operating System
Installed Environment Groups:
   Server with GUI
   Minimal Install
Installed Groups:
   Container Management
   Headless Management
Available Groups:
   .NET Core Development
   RPM Development Tools
   Smart Card Support
   Development Tools
   Graphical Administration Tools
   Legacy UNIX Compatibility
   Network Servers
   Scientific Support
   Security Tools
   System Tools

 

Install GNOME Desktop Environment

To install GNOME Desktop Environment, you can choose "Server with GUI" or "Workstation"
Server with GUI contains server related environment mostly used for official purpose but if you are a home user then you can choose Workstation based on your requirement.

To install "Server with GUI" use

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# dnf groupinstall "Server with GUI" -y

OR to install "Workstation"

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# dnf groupinstall "Workstation" -y

 

How to enable GUI mode from command line?

Since we had installed our RHEL/CentOS 8 with "Minimal Install", GUI mode was disabled

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# systemctl list-units --type target --all | egrep graphical.target
  graphical.target          loaded    inactive dead   Graphical Interface

Now since we have installed GNOME Desktop environment, we can enable GUI mode.

Enable GUI mode by using graphical.target (Starting with RHEL 7 we have systemd targets instead of runlevel). The command to switch to GUI mode is systemctl isolate <target>

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# systemctl isolate graphical.target

Next check the graphical.target status

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# systemctl list-units --type target --all | egrep graphical.target
  graphical.target          loaded    active   active Graphical Interface

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# systemctl status graphical.target
● graphical.target - Graphical Interface
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/graphical.target; static; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active since Mon 2020-04-27 11:29:41 IST; 26min ago
     Docs: man:systemd.special(7)

Apr 27 11:29:41 centos8-kvm systemd[1]: Reached target Graphical Interface.

Also check your RHEL/CentOS 8 consoleInstall GNOME | How to enable GUI mode | RHEL CentOS 8

 

Change default target to start RHEL/CentOS 8 Server with GUI at reboot

Now we started GUI mode for the current session but the existing default target would be still set to multi-user.target

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# systemctl get-default
multi-user.target

To change default target we use below command:

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# systemctl set-default graphical.target
Removed /etc/systemd/system/default.target.
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/default.target → /usr/lib/systemd/system/graphical.target.

To verify the new default target

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# systemctl get-default
graphical.target

So now we enabled graphical desktop environment as default environment.

 

Install KDE Environment on RHEL/CentOS 8

As also mentioned earlier, KDE Desktop Environment is officially deprecated from RHEL and CentOS 7.6 onward

At the time of writing this article we had KDE Desktop available with EPEL (epel-release-8-8.el8.noarch) but the groupinstall was failing for missing NetworkManager-vpnc required by plasma-nm-vpnc-5.15.5-1.el8.x86_64

It is possible that later period this is released by CentOS 8 after which we can install KDE Environment on RHEL/CentOS 8

Below are the list of available groups after installing EPEL Repo

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# dnf grouplist
Last metadata expiration check: 0:11:09 ago on Mon 27 Apr 2020 10:15:50 AM IST.
Available Environment Groups:
   Server with GUI
   Server
   Minimal Install
   Workstation
   KDE Plasma Workspaces
   Custom Operating System
Installed Environment Groups:
   Virtualization Host
Available Groups:
   Legacy UNIX Compatibility
   Container Management
   Development Tools
   .NET Core Development
   Graphical Administration Tools
   Headless Management
   Network Servers
   RPM Development Tools
   Scientific Support
   Security Tools
   Smart Card Support
   System Tools
   Fedora Packager
   Xfce

List of active repos with EPEL

[root@centos8-kvm ~]# dnf repolist
Last metadata expiration check: 0:03:36 ago on Mon 27 Apr 2020 12:53:12 PM IST.
repo id                            repo name                                                                      status
AppStream                          CentOS-8 - AppStream                                                           4,830
BaseOS                             CentOS-8 - Base                                                                1,661
PowerTools                         CentOS-8 - PowerTools                                                          1,456
*epel                              Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux 8 - x86_64                                 5,352
*epel-modular                      Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux Modular 8 - x86_64                             0
*epel-playground                   Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux 8 - Playground - x86_64                    4,468
*epel-testing                      Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux 8 - Testing - x86_64                         898
extras                             CentOS-8 - Extras                                                                 15

 

Lastly I hope the steps from the article to install GNOME Desktop Environment on RHEL/CentOS 8 Linux was helpful. So, let me know your suggestions and feedback using the comment section.

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