Install the Cinnamon desktop environment on CentOS 7

As you might know, Linux is everything about diversity. With the numerous desktop environments available nothing is different in that area. Besides Mate and XFCE, Cinnamon is one of my favorite desktop environments on Linux. Honestly, I can’t really choose. Cinnamon is fast, (not too) fancy, customizable and familiar in some way. Here is how to install Cinnamon on a fresh minimal CentOS 7 installation.

As with my previous post about installing MATE or XFCE: Install MATE or XFCE on CentOS 7, I’ll start wit a minimal installation of CentOS 7. That way, you can be sure that the actions under here should work on a system that has more packages installed.

Installing EPEL and the X window system

Cinnamon can be found in the EPEL-repositories. So before we take any action, we need to install the repository. CentOS contains epel-release which is a packages that will configure your system for EPEL.

Cinnamon needs a basic X-window system installation in order to have the ability to display something and the dependencies of Cinnamon do not include those packages.

Install a display manager

After this step, you end up with a system with X-windows installed but no desktop environment or display manager. The next step is to install a display manager. The display manager is responsible for presenting a login prompt and starting the users desktop environment. As with desktop environments there are also a various number of display managers. I chose to continue with LightDM since (what’s in a name) it’s lightweight but alternatives (like GDM) should work fine too.

Install Cinnamon

Finally, our system is ready to install and start Cinnamon:

After the installation of one or more desktop environments, you need to tell your system to start the graphical components (X window-system and display manager). Since CentOS version 7, this is done by systemd and it’s targets. In the past, this was done by switching runlevels. The target for a graphical system is conveniently called and is similar to what runlevel 5 was in the past.

To switch to graphical target, do the following:

After a short time, the GUI should be started and you should be presented with a login screen from LightDM:


After logging in, you should get to the Cinnamon desktop:


In case you wonder how to go back to a console in case something goes wrong, you can use Ctrl + Alt + F2 to open another console session.

Start the GUI on boot

After a reboot, the system will start with it’s default target (multi-user) so in order to make the change permanent and always start your system with a GUI, you can change the default target to the graphical one:

As you can see, the steps are quite similar to the ones for MATE or XFCE but since I like Cinnamon, I wanted to explicitly mention it as well.

4 thoughts on “Install the Cinnamon desktop environment on CentOS 7

  1. Hi, very good article,I am unable to find the terminal app, how to add to desktop.

    Best regards

  2. This guide only describes how to install Cinnamon, but fails to mention that Cinnamon does not come with all gnome apps. Use Ctrl+Alt+F2 to go to a console, log as root, and then run

    yum -y install gnome-desktop

    This will install all default gnome apps (gedit, Gnome terminal, java, Firefox and many others)

  3. I made a stupid mistake, it should be:
    yum -y groupinstall gnome-desktop.

    Btw. after this command finishes you should reboot and then on login screen you should search for option to choose Cinnamon as desktop environment (Classic gnome would be chosen by default),

    One more thing: Cinnamon is kind of add-on to Gnome, not a full fledged Desktop Environment. Installing it without installing Gnome first gives you a result you’ve just experienced.

  4. How do you get gedit and other gnome apps to stop using gnome window decoration and use the cinnamon one?

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