Setting up a Desktop PC on RHEL6


How to setup a desktop PC on RHEL 6.x

These are personal notes for myself to remember things, but they might serve others as well. This document is licensed under Creative Commons Licence 3.0 BY-SA.

The following document covers installation and post-install configuration of a Redhat Enterprise Linux Desktop for family desktop use. I will aim to be as friendly as possible to novice linux users. If you are nonetheless stuck at some point using this tutorial google should help answer your questions, just copy-paste your error message into google.

CentOS will be used as a free clone of RHEL. I switched over from Ubuntu to CentOs due to the plague that is Unity and overall better stability. However the Ubuntu way of doing this has somewhat influenced me, experienced linux users will probably notice.

How to read this document:

Text in a box

like the one above is meant to be typed into the terminal. You can start the terminal as „gnome-terminal“ in gnome or as „konsole“ in KDE.

You will often need to edit text config files. This document uses the texteditor nano and the command sudo to gain admin rights in the terminal. If you prefer to use something else, thats fine. You could for example use „gksudo gedit“ in a gnome / unity environment or „kdesu kate“ in KDE.


Basic Installation from CD / USB stick:

  • Download a live-CD or live-DVD, boot from it and start Installation. Use the 64bit Version, if your hardware is 64bit. (If your not running Intel Atom or Intel Pentium 4 CPUs, it most likely is)
  • There is a screenshot slideshow available here
  • Partitioning: I selected basic storage. Unsure wether LVM supports TRIM (turns out it probably does), I just created 3 partitions on a 64GB SSD (Samsung 830). 64 GB is plenty for an Office PC with all multimedia content stored on the family server. Considering the price drop it might now be wiser to grab a 128GB version, as those are faster, not much more expensive and you never know what good the extra space might do.

/dev/sda1 15 GB ext4 for /
/dev/sda2 4,5 GB for swap
/dev/sda3 leftover space for /home

  • Everything else left at defaults, but disabled Kdump

First Post-Install steps:

  • type: su
  • press Enter
  • give your root passwort you defined during Installation
  • press Enter again
  • notice the last sign of the path text changes from $ to #, to indicate you are root now
  • Install nano (Texteditor for console) (The default texteditor is vi. Though I manage doing work with vi, it is too geeky and complicated for me)
yum install nano
  • Install Gnome Menu Editor so you can easily create new menu entries
yum install alacarte

SSD Optimizations (Only useful in case u have a SSD, else skip)

  • Reduce disk writes for read disk accesses.
  • Set „noatime“ or „relatime“ mount option in /etc/fstab.
  • Enable the TRIM command.
  • Set „discard“ mount option in /etc/fstab for the ext4 filesystem, swap partition, Btrfs, etc.
  • Set „discard“ option in /etc/lvm/lvm.conf for LVM.
  • Set „discard“ option in /etc/crypttab for dm-crypt.
  • Make system flush data to the disk every 10 minutes for laptop PCs. Default is 5 Seconds. This can save power on laptops, but increases the risk for data loss. Consider this point carefully:Set „commit=600“ mount option in /etc/fstab.
  • Reduce swap usage:If you have enough RAM (4GB or even 8GB) you probably don’t need to use swap during office work. You can thus reduce the amount of swap usage to reduce writes to the ssd.
    swappiness is the setting controlling how linux uses swap. A value of 100 means to use swap very aggressively, a value of 0 means to avoid using sawp as much as possible and only use RAM. I suggest a value of 5 for Desktop usage on a SSD.

    • Read your current setting in the terminal with:
      cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
    • Change the value to your needs:
      sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf
      #Append the line, adjust value to your needs:

Add and enable repositories

  • Using Linux, programms are installed (and updated) from central software repositories. The following repositories contain useful or even necessary software not included by default. Would you like to know more?
  • You need to be root or use sudo. First step is usually to import a signing key, to be able to check packages for validity. Next is installing a package containing repository info.
  • You can become root by opening a terminal, typing su – root, pressing Enter, typing in the root password you gave during Installation and pressing Enter again.


  • ELrepo (needed e.g. for NVIDIA binary driver)

sudo rpm --import
 sudo rpm -Uvh
sudo rpm -Uvh
sudo rpm --import

Open an editor

sudo nano /etc/yum.repos.d/atrpms-stable.repo

Paste this into the atrpms-stable.repo file

 name=RHEL 6 - atrpms-stable - $releasever - $basearch
  • Naulinux School (tesseract, gscan2pdf: scan to searchable PDF)

 name=NauLinux School
  • sudo yum --enablerepo=naulinux-school install nau-yum-conf-6.2-1.Nau6x.noarch.rpm

Repository Priorities:

sudo yum install yum-priorites

copy priority settings inside /etc/yum.repos.d files from MythTV client or christiane’s PC, witchever works best in future

For automatic updates:

install package yum-autoupdate from sientific linux and configure /etc/sysconfig/yum-autoupdate for your needs, i add the exclusion of *orc* for problems with the oil runtime compiler and a propper email adress to get notified in case of a problem.

Limit number of installed kernels

Clean Installed Kernels

## Install yum utils ##
yum install yum-utils
 ## Package-cleanup set count as how many old kernels you want left ##
package-cleanup –oldkernels –count=2

Make Amount of Installed Kernels Permanent

Edit /etc/yum.conf and set installonly_limit:


Driver Installation

Install NVIDIA drivers and blacklist nouveau

  • you need to have the ELrepo repository enabled, see above
  • Open a terminal and become root by typing: su – root (press Enter)
  • echo „blacklist nouveau options nouveau modeset=0“ > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf
  • yum install kmod-nvidia
  • Edit /etc/grub.conf and add nomodeset rdblacklist=nouveau at the end of the kernel line:
  • sudo nano /etc/grub.conf
  • Add nomodeset rdblacklist=nouveau at the end of the kernel line
  • Restart your machine

HP Printers

  • HP OfficeJet  6500A and 8500A Plus work with driver from
  • For the graphical user interface, one needs pyqt4 and dependencies installed, textmode works without pyqt4 from commandline with:
    hpsetup -i
  • Add Users to group “sys” so they can manage the printer via hp GUI via: sudo usermod -a -G sys username

Amazon Kindle Fire HD (USB Connection)

Does not really work well..

# UDEV-style hotplug map for libmtp
# Put this file in /etc/udev/rules.d
ACTION!="add", GOTO="libmtp_rules_end"
ENV{MAJOR}!="?*", GOTO="libmtp_rules_end"
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", GOTO="libmtp_usb_rules"
# Kindle devices - UDEV Rule #
# For Kindle Fire HD by s3pp
ATTRS{idVendor}=="1949", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0007", SYMLINK+="libmtp-%k", GROUP="family" RUN+="/usr/bin/mtpfs -o allow_other -o uid=2000 -o gid=1500  /media/Kindle"
# Some sensitive devices we surely don't wanna probe
# Color instruments

(ATTRS and RUN are only one line)

Basic System Configuration:

Change language:

  • The default CentOs Installation is US-English. If you speak another language, you can change CentOs language setting by editing /etc/sysconfig/i18n.
  • sudo nano /etc/sysconfig/i18n
  • change the line starting LANG= to your needs
  • LANG=“de_DE.UTF-8″ # This is for German
  • Editing /etc/environment (you can have the same entries there) as well seems to be redundant, but does not harm.

change CentOS Hostname

  • Edit the file /etc/sysconfig/network
sudo nano /etc/sysconfig/network


  • Also change here:
sudo nano /etc/hosts 
  • NFS Settings:

Centos6 uses NFS v4 by default, instead of v3 as in in Centos5. The new v4 includes a security check module, besides matching UID / GID you also need matching domain name in /etc/idmapd.conf

Editable Adressbar in Nautlis (Gnome2 only)

In Terminal:

gconftool-2 --type=Boolean --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/always_use_location_entry true



default is: Firewall is enabled, SSH port is open, all other ports are closed

change acording to your needs with sudo system-config-firewall


Running Linux having an Antivirus is not essential. It is however helpful to scan e.g. USB Sticks, as spreading viruses – even if these don’t affect your linux box – might harm other people. Some options are:

ClamAV is free, opensource and comes in the repositories. As it is not backed by a large corporation, but a community effect, it might sometimes be slower in detecting new malware.

Avast is free, has a GUI and daily updates:

  • Download from:
  • open a terminal, cd to your download folder and yum install avast4workstation*
  • as root in a terminal (needs to be root, not sudo:) echo ‚echo 128000000 >/proc/sys/kernel/shmmax‘ >> /etc/rc.local
    (or sudo nano /etc/rc.local and add the line minus the first echo)
  • sudo echo 128000000 >/proc/sys/kernel/shmmax
  • now you can start Avast from the Gnome Start menu or via avastgui from Terminal

User Accounts

Too large font size at KDM login screen:

edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to contain the following:

Section "Monitor"
 Identifier             "Monitor0"
    [ …  ]
 Option                 "DPI" "96 x 96"

Remote Administration

Static IP and Wake on LAN (WOL)

Remove package NetworkManager, e.g. with yumex or via yum remove…

ifconfig -a 

shows your network cards

choose the appropriate one and edit the corresponding config file in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts.

The default is eth0, here is my config for an cable connected eth0:

cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifconfig-eth0
ETHTOOL_OPTS="-s eth0 wol g"

The ETHTOOL_OPTS is responsible for WOL, can be specified in /etc/rc.local as well with the line:

ethtool -s eth0 wol g


sudo chkconfig sshd on
sudo /etc/init.d/sshd start
SSH1 RSA Host-Schlüssel erzeugen:                              [  OK  ]
SSH2 RSA Host-Schlüssel erzeugen:                              [  OK  ]
SSH2 DSA Host-Schlüssel erzeugen:                              [  OK  ]
sshd starten:                                                  [  OK  ]


Port Forwading in DSL Router

Connect the PC to my Backup System

  • become root on BackupPC Server (Hostname Perquod)
  • drop in as backuppc user via: su -s /bin/bash backupc
  • cd /var/lib/backuppc/.ssh
  • remove lines refering old, depreceated pc from known_hosts
  • copy SSH keys to new PC: ssh-copy-id -i root@hostname-new-pc
  • start restore of data via web interface of BackupPC
  • check (and modify) backup settings in webinterface

Install Programms


TV-Browser is a digital TV-Newspaper, showing upcoming TV programms.

  • download zip and unpack to /opt/TvBrowser (you may use another dir, eg /home/username/programms/TvBrowser, I use opt for multiuser purpose
  • create startscipt, containing 3 lines:
cd /opt/TvBrowser # adapt to your directory
java -jar /opt/TvBrowser/tvbrowser.jar
  • make it executable, eg via: chmod +x startscript
  • create startmenu entries using alacarte (gnome2) or kde menu editor, pointing to startscript, you can use the icon from the TvBrowser/images folder


Mediathekview is a java-programm for downloading TV from the “Öffentlich-Rechlichen Sendern” (meaning government-funded channels) in Germany.

  • Needs Java 1.7: sudo yum install java-1.7.0-openjdk
  • Download Zip from link above
  • extract to /opt/mediathekview
  • create shotcut to

Google Earth on 64bit Systems

  • sudo yum install redhat-lsb.i686 mesa-libGL.i686 mesa-libGLU.i686 fontconfig.i686 libXrender.i686 libSM.i686  nvidia-x11-drv-32bit.x86_64
  • donwload rpm from google website and install

Gscan2PDF with Tesseract

Gscan2PDF is a scan program, designed for archiving documents as searchable PDF instead of paper. Tesseract is used as OCR engine. Language Packs e.g. for German Language are available.

  • Enable Naulinux-School repo (see above)
  • sudo yum install tesseract tesseract-deu gscan2pdf

Install Adobe FLASH plugin

su - root
 cd /home/yourusername/Downloads
 rpm -ivh adobe-release-x86_64-1.0-1.noarch.rpm
 yum install flash-plugin
  • Restart your browser

If you are using a Nvidia card capable of vdpau and have libvdpau installed, flash videos have a blue tint. To resolve:

1. Created the file /etc/adobe/mms.cfg and added the following contents :

#Hardware video decoding

2. Added the following line at the beginning of  /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc-common



Krename is a batch-rename tool with nice graphic user interface. Can use exif-Data e.g. for renaming jpeg photo files.

downloadn and install from



Nothing special about it

Opening a file via Wine program:

directly enter in nautilus (open with dialogue):

env WINEPREFIX="/home/*username*/.wine" wine C:\\windows\\command\\start.exe /Unix /home/*username*/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Microsoft\ Office/Office12/pptview.exe '"Z:%f"'

alternatively via shell script (shows name of shell script instead of ENV)

env WINEPREFIX="/home/*username*/.wine" wine C:\\windows\\command\\start.exe /Unix /home/*username*/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Microsoft\ Office/Office12/pptview.exe Z:$1

Install the Microsoft Core fonts

Microsoft Fonts, e.g Tahoma, Claigra, etc
(needs Epel and ATRPMs repositories enabled)

These steps will download build and install an rpm with the mscorefonts.

Open a terminal

su - root
cd ~
yum install chkfontpath rpm-build cabextract
mkdir rpmbuild
cd rpmbuild
rpmbuild -bb msttcorefonts-2.0-1.spec
rpm -ivh RPMS/noarch/msttcorefonts-2.0-1.noarch.rpm

Note to self: I have already created an RPM. Just install that.

Darktable (RAW Image Tool)

  • install the linuxtech.repo config file if you don’t have it already:
su - root
cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
  • install darktable:
yum --enablerepo=linuxtech-testing install darktable

Mediaplayers (SMplayer and VLC)

yum --enablerepo=linuxtech install smplayer vlc

k3b und file-roller aus base