Minimal Linux with CentOS 7

Minimal Linux with CentOS 7

I've been on a quest to create a minimal desktop using CentOS 7.  Starting with a minimal install of CentOS 7, I've slowly been adding packages to provide normal command line functionality instead of only minimal command line functionality.

yum -y install net-tools vim-enhanced ncurses-devel readline-devel bash-doc kernel-doc mlocate ksh zsh words attr ftp nmap-frontend telnet strace 

If you need to compile any kernel modules for virtualization or other purposes, you should add to that list:

kernel-devel kernel-headers make and gcc

Minimal Graphical User Interface Desktop for CentOS 7

To get the minimal desktop environment (GUI) for CentOS, I had to install the "xfce-desktop" package group with the following command run as root:

yum -y group install xfce-desktop

To add a few packages for web development and viewing I also ran as root:

 yum -y install bluefish firefox mate-terminal

Since I've been working on a VMWare virtual machine, and the current version of vmware-open-vm-tools and vmware-tools packages were having issues capturing the mouse properly,  I had to uninstall them and install the following packages:

yum -y install xorg-x11-drv-vmmouse xorg-x11-driv-vmware

Now, I can click into the desktop window, and my mouse stays captured in the guest, whereas before the mouse would too easily return to the host.

For those of you who may be running a VirtualBox, you can make sure that you activate the Guest Additions CD through the Device menu of the VirtualBox application. Then, you can click back into the VirtualBox guest and execute from the command line as the root user:

mount /dev/cdrom /mnt

Gnu Free Mono Fonts

Having started from a minimal install of CentOS 7, I was not at all pleased with how the terminal looked in the minimal xfce-desktop or in the mate-terminal.  It was using proportional fonts instead of monospace fonts in the terminal. After searching with:

yum search "monospace"

I found the gnu-free-mono-fonts package for CentOS 7.  After installing it with:

yum -y install gnu-free-mono-fonts

The terminal and desktop fonts immediately changed, and actually became fixed-width, and looked like proper monospace fonts.

Note: In building a recent minimal CentOS 6 system, I ran into the same problem, but  gnu-free-mono-fonts is not available. Fortunately, the liberation-mono-fonts is available for CentOS 6.

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About Me - WrightRocket

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I've worked with computers for over 30 years, programming, administering, using and building them from scratch.

I'm an instructor for technical computer courses, an editor and developer of training manuals, and an Android developer.