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Through our hosting provider, we can create servers running CentOS 6.3. However, these installs are meant to be used as servers that are accessed remotely. They do not come packaged with a GUI "Desktop" environment.

What steps do you suggest to take in order to go from the packaged minimal install, to an install that includes:

  • Desktop GUI
  • Remote desktop functionality (so we can log and use the desktop from a remote environment)
  • 3
    In light of the fact that X + a modern desktop environment (KDE, Gnome, Unity, ...) will gobble up > 100MB of RAM just sitting there ... what benefits do you see from having a GUI on a server? – tink Apr 19 '13 at 21:27
  • Some VNC server, maybe TightVNC for remote desktop, then maybe Xfce or LXDE as environment? All those mentioned are quite user-friendly and not too big, too. – TNW Apr 19 '13 at 21:33
  • @tink - We think we need it in order to run web browser test automation using Selenium. – Chris Dutrow Apr 19 '13 at 21:48
  • I know nothing about selenium; or why you need to test with a browser running on a server rather than on your desktop; but I don't think it makes too much sense based on my knowledge of Linux servers. In a worst case scenario (selenium only works on the server) you could just install a browser (w/o desktop/xserver) on the machine, and start the browser via ssh. ssh -Y user@server /path/to/browser ... – tink Apr 19 '13 at 21:59
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You can install the X Window System package group and, if you also need a full desktop environment, the Desktop group as well which will give you a full-blown Gnome desktop:

# yum groupinstall 'X Window System'
# yum groupinstall Desktop

A lighter alternative might be the basic-desktop package group.

For remote graphical access you can use VNC Server:

# yum install vnc-server

You may find useful the VNC Server HowTo on the CentOS Wiki.

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