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XFCE Desktop Environment

The XFCE desktop environment was created as a fork of the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). Xfce embodies the traditional Unix philosophy of Modularity and Re-usability. XFCE can be installed on almost any version of Linux, including Rocky Linux.

This procedure is designed to get you up and running with Rocky Linux using XFCE.


  • A Workstation or Server, preferably with Rocky Linux already installed.
  • You should be in the Root environment or type sudo before all of the commands you enter.

Install Rocky Linux Minimal

When installing Rocky Linux, we used the following sets of packages:

  • Minimal
  • Standard

Run System Update

First, run the server update command to let the system rebuild the repository cache, so that it could recognize the packages available in that.

dnf update

Enabling Repositories

We need the unofficial repository for XFCE in the EPEL, to run on Rocky 8.x versions.

Enable this repository by entering:

dnf install epel-release

And answer 'Y' to install the EPEL.

You also need the Powertools and lightdm repositories. Go ahead and enable those now:

dnf config-manager --set-enabled powertools

dnf copr enable stenstorp/lightdm


The copr build system creates a repository that is known to work for installing lightdm, but is not maintained by the Rocky Linux community. Use at your own risk!

Again, you will be presented with a warning message about the repository. Go ahead and answer Y to the prompt.

Check The Available Environments and Tools in the Group

Now that the repositories are enabled, run the following commands to check everything.

First, check your repository listing with:

dnf repolist

You should get the following back showing all of the enabled repositories:

appstream                                                        Rocky Linux 8 - AppStream
baseos                                                           Rocky Linux 8 - BaseOS                 Copr repo for lightdm owned by stenstorp
epel                                                             Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux 8 - x86_64
epel-modular                                                     Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux Modular 8 - x86_64
extras                                                           Rocky Linux 8 - Extras
powertools                                                       Rocky Linux 8 - PowerTools

Next run the following command to check for XFCE:

dnf grouplist

You should see "Xfce" at the bottom of the listing.

Go ahead and run dnf update one more time to make sure all of the enabled repositories are read into the system.

Installing Packages

To install XFCE, run:

dnf groupinstall "xfce"

Also install lightdm:

dnf install lightdm

Final Steps

We need to disable gdm, which gets added and enabled during dnf groupinstall "xfce":

systemctl disable gdm

Now we can enable lightdm:

systemctl enable lightdm

We need to tell the system after booting use only the graphical user interface, so for that set the default target system to the GUI interface:

systemctl set-default

Then reboot:


You should end up with a login prompt in the XFCE GUI, and when you login, you will have all of the XFCE environment.


XFCE is a light environment with simple interface for those who dislike eye-candy and bloat. This Tutorial will be updated with images soon, showing screenshots to give a visual example of the installation.

Last update: September 5, 2022

Author: Gerard Arthus

Contributors: Steven Spencer, Antoine Le Morvan, K.Prasad