Posts Tagged ‘Target Units’

How to remove GNOME environment and Xorg server on CentOS 7 / 8 / 9 Linux

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022


If you have installed recent version of CentOS, you have noticed by default the Installator did setup Xserver and GNOME as Graphical Environment as well the surrounding GUI Administration tools. That's really not needed on "headless" monitorless Linux servers as this wastes up for nothing a very tiny amount of the machine CPU and RAM and Disk resource on keeping services up and running. Even worse a Graphical Environment on a Production server poses a security breach as their are much more services running on the OS that could be potentially hacked.

Removal of GUI across CentOS is similar but slightly differs. Hence in this article, I'll show how it can be removed on CentOS Linux 7 / 8 and 9. Removal of Graphics is usual operation for sysadmins thus there is plenty of info on the net,how this is done on CentOS 7 and COS 8 but unfortunately as of time of writting this article, couldn't find anything on the net on how to Remove GUI environment on CentOS 9.

The reason for this article is mostly for documentation purposes for myself

First list the available meta-package groups installed on the OS:

1. List machine installed package groups



[root@centos ~]# yum grouplist
Last metadata expiration check: 3:55:48 ago on Mon 11 Apr 2022 03:26:06 AM EDT.
Available Environment Groups:
   Minimal Install
   KDE Plasma Workspaces
   Custom Operating System
   Virtualization Host
Installed Environment Groups:
   Server with GUI
Installed Groups:
   Container Management
   Headless Management
Available Groups:
   Legacy UNIX Compatibility
   Console Internet Tools
   Development Tools
   .NET Development
   Graphical Administration Tools
   Network Servers
   RPM Development Tools
   Scientific Support
   Security Tools
   Smart Card Support
   System Tools
   Fedora Packager

On CentOS 8 and CentOS 9 to list the installed package groups, you can use also:

[root@centos ~]# dnf grouplist

Installed Environment Groups:
   Server with GUI

2. Remove GNOME and Xorg GUIs on CentOS 7

[root@centos ~]# yum groupremove "Server with GUI" –skip-broken

[root@centos ~]# yum groupremove "GNOME Desktop" -y

3. Remove GNOME and X on CentOS 8

[root@centos ~]# dnf groupremove 'X Window System' 'GNOME' -y

4. Remove Graphical Environment on CentOS 9



[root@centos ~]# yum groupremove GNOME 'Graphical Administration Tools' -y


Removing Groups:

Transaction Summary
Remove  123 Packages

Freed space: 416 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Running transaction check
Transaction check succeeded.
Running transaction test
Transaction test succeeded.




Graphical Administration Tools – is a group of tools that 

Or alternatively you can do

[root@centos ~]# yum remove gnome* xorg* -y

5. Change the Graphical boot to text multiuser

[root@centos ~]# systemctl set-default

6. Install GNOME / X GUI on the CentOS 7 / 8 / 9

Sometimes GNOME Desktop environment and Xorg are missing on previously delpoyed installs but you need it back for some reason.For example it was earlier removed a year ago on the server as it was not needed, but the machine use type changes and now you need to have installed an Oracle Server / Oracle Client which usually depends on having at least a minimal working version of X environment ont the Linux.

To install back the GNOME and X back on the machine:

[root@centos ~]# yum groupistall "Server with GUI" –skip-broken

[root@centos9 network-scripts]# yum groupinstall "Server with GUI" –skip-broken
Last metadata expiration check: 0:09:26 ago on Mon 11 Apr 2022 07:43:11 AM EDT.
No match for group package "insights-client"
No match for group package "redhat-release"
No match for group package "redhat-release-eula"
Dependencies resolved.
 Package                                       Arch       Version              Repository     Size
Installing group/module packages:
 NetworkManager-wifi                           x86_64     1:1.37.2-1.el9       baseos         75 k
 cheese                                        x86_64     2:3.38.0-6.el9       appstream      96 k
 chrome-gnome-shell                            x86_64     10.1-14.el9          appstream      33 k
 eog                                           x86_64     40.3-2.el9           appstream     3.6 M
 evince                                        x86_64     40.4-4.el9           appstream     2.8 M
 evince-nautilus                               x86_64     40.4-4.el9           appstream      20 k
 gdm                                           x86_64     1:40.1-13.el9        appstream     894 k
 gnome-bluetooth                               x86_64     1:3.34.5-3.el9       appstream      44 k
 gnome-calculator                              x86_64     40.1-2.el9           appstream     1.4 M
 gnome-characters                              x86_64     40.0-3.el9           appstream     236 k
 gnome-classic-session                         noarch     40.6-1.el9           appstream      36 k
 gnome-color-manager                           x86_64     3.36.0-7.el9         appstream     1.1 M
 gnome-control-center                          x86_64     40.0-22.el9          appstream     5.7 M
 gnome-disk-utility                            x86_64     40.2-2.el9           appstream     1.1 M
 gnome-font-viewer                             x86_64     40.0-3.el9           appstream     233 k
 gnome-initial-setup                           x86_64     40.1-2.el9           appstream     1.1 M
 gnome-logs                                    x86_64     3.36.0-6.el9         appstream     416 k

Installing dependencies:
 cheese-libs                                   x86_64     2:3.38.0-6.el9       appstream     941 k
 clutter                                       x86_64     1.26.4-7.el9         appstream     1.1 M
 clutter-gst3                                  x86_64     3.0.27-7.el9         appstream      85 k
 clutter-gtk                                   x86_64     1.8.4-13.el9         appstream      47 k
 cogl                                          x86_64     1.22.8-5.el9         appstream     505 k
 colord-gtk                                    x86_64     0.2.0-7.el9          appstream      33 k
 dbus-daemon                                   x86_64     1:1.12.20-5.el9      appstream     202 k
 dbus-tools                                    x86_64     1:1.12.20-5.el9      baseos         52 k
 evince-previewer                              x86_64     40.4-4.el9           appstream      29 k

Installing weak dependencies:
 gnome-tour                                    x86_64     40.1-1.el9           appstream     722 k
 nm-connection-editor                          x86_64     1.26.0-1.el9         appstream     838 k
 p11-kit-server                                x86_64     0.24.1-2.el9         appstream     199 k
 pinentry-gnome3                               x86_64     1.1.1-8.el9          appstream      41 k
Installing Environment Groups:
 Server with GUI
Installing Groups:
 Container Management
 Hardware Monitoring Utilities
 Headless Management
 Internet Browser
 Server product core

Transaction Summary
Install  114 Packages

Total download size: 96 M
Installed size: 429 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y

or yum groupinstall GNOME

[root@centos9 ~]# yum grouplist
Last metadata expiration check: 3:55:48 ago on Mon 11 Apr 2022 03:26:06 AM EDT.
Available Environment Groups:

Installed Environment Groups:
   Server with GUI

Next you should change the OS default run level to 5 to make CentOS automatically start the Xserver and gdm.

To see the list of available default Login targets do:

[root@centos ~]# find / -name "runlevel*.target"

The meaning of each runlevel is as follows:

Run Level Target Units Description
0, Shut down and power off
1, Set up a rescue shell
2,3,4 runlevel[234].target, multi- Set up a nongraphical multi-user shell
5, Set up a graphical multi-user shell
6, Shut down and reboot the system

If this does not work you can try:


[root@centos ~]#  yum -y groups install "GNOME Desktop"

7. To check the OS configured boot target

[root@centos ~]# systemctl get-default is a mode of operation that is text mode only with multiple logins supported on tty and remotely.

To change it to graphical

[root@centos ~]# systemctl set-default

or simply link it yourself

[root@centos ~]# ln -sf /lib/systemd/system/ /etc/systemd/system/

[root@centos ~]# reboot

If the X was not used so far ever, you will get a few graphial screens to accept the License Information and Finish the configuration,i .e.

1. Accept the license by clicking on the “LICENSE INFORMATION“.

2. Tick mark the “accept the license agreement” and click on “Done“.

3. Click on “FINISH CONFIGURATION” to complete the setup.
And voila GDM (Graphical Login) Greater should shine up.

You could also go the manual route by adding an .xinitrc file in your home directory (instead of making the graphical login screen the default, as done above with the sudo systemctl set-default command). To do this, issue the command:

[root@centos ~]# echo "exec gnome-session" >> ~/.xinitrc