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How to Install GNOME Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

Linux is a widely used operating system that is used to run many mission-critical applications in data centers. It is known for its stability and performance. Another reason for its popularity is its exceptional command line support. Linux users can manage the entire system using only the Command Line Interface (CLI). This allows us to manage Linux servers more efficiently by automating repetitive tasks.

Many users and administrators prefer to use the command line interface to perform their day to day tasks. However, in some cases, a user-friendly graphical interface makes our lives easier. For example, we can use the GUI to surf the web, read/compose multimedia e-mails, and so on.

In this guide, we will see detailed steps to install GNOME Desktop (GUI) on Rocky Linux 9. We will also see how to enable graphical mode so that the system can boot in graphical mode by default. By following this guide, beginners will be able to easily manage a Linux system using an easy-to-use graphical interface.


Before proceeding, we must ensure that the system meets the following installation requirements:

  • Stable internet connection with medium to high speed.
  • A user with superuser rights. In our case, this will be the root user, as indicated by the pound sign (#).
  • At least 2 GB of RAM and an additional 1 GB of disk space.

Note that the last requirement will vary from system to system. For example, a heavily used system will require more hardware resources, while a moderately used system will require medium hardware resources.

Installing the Gnome Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

First, let’s find out the currently installed base environment using the dnf group subcommand:

# dnf group list --installed

check installed base environment - How to Install GNOME Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

As we can see, the system currently uses a base environment with minimal installation, which provides basic functionality without a GUI.

Rocky Linux provides several base environments that can be viewed with the following command:

# dnf group list --available

Here we can see all available environment groups such as GUI Server, Server, Workstation, Custom Operating System and Virtualization Host. They are located in the “Available Environment Groups” section.

Of these environments, the workstation and GUI server support the GNOME desktop environment.

The main difference between a workstation and a GUI server is that the former is ideal for laptops and PCs, while the latter is ideal for data center servers. Therefore, both of these base environments provide different sets of packages.

For example, Workstation provides email, chat, video conferencing, and office suites. Whereas the GUI server provides debugging and monitoring tools, email server, FTP server and other similar packages.

list available base environments - How to Install GNOME Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

We can choose the appropriate environment group according to our requirements. For example, to set up a workstation environment, we can use the following command:

# dnf group install "Workstation"

Similarly, to install a GUI server, we can use the following command:

# dnf group install "Server with GUI"

install gui on rocky - How to Install GNOME Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

The above command shows a summary of the installation, such as the package name, version, repository, and size. In addition to that, it also shows a transaction summary which includes the number of packages that will be installed and the total download size.

gui installation summary - How to Install GNOME Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

Type Y and hit the enter key to start the installation.

Enabling Graphics Mode in Rocky Linux 9

We have just installed the GNOME desktop environment. However, this is not enough to use the GUI. Because the default system target is still not graphical. So let’s set it to graphics mode.

First, check the current system target using the following command:

# systemctl get-default

Here represents runlevel 3.

Then set graphics mode as the system’s default target:

# systemctl set-default graphical

This will ensure that the system boots in graphical mode every time unless we change it.

Now make sure the default system target is up to date:

# systemctl get-default

Finally, reboot your system to boot into graphical mode:

# reboot

boot rocky linux in graphical mode - How to Install GNOME Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

In the next section, we will see how to set up the GNOME desktop environment.

Setting up the Gnome desktop environment on Rocky Linux 9

We now see the GNOME welcome screen. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the initial setup.

gnome rocky linux welcome - How to Install GNOME Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

The initial setup will ask for basic information such as location settings, online accounts, creating a new user if necessary, etc.

That’s it, now we can start using the system using the GNOME desktop environment.

running gnome in rocky linux 9 - How to Install GNOME Desktop on Rocky Linux 9

In this walkthrough, we first saw how to install the GNOME desktop environment on Rocky Linux 9. We then updated the default system target to boot into graphical mode. Finally, we have completed the initial setup using the GNOME welcome screen.

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