Red Hat’s announcement of a “change in focus” of CentOS might have sent some users scrambling for alternatives, but some have decided to stick with CentOS as it transitions to CentOS Stream. If you’re one of them, you should find the installation process familiar.
Here’s how you can install CentOS Stream on your PC or laptop.
What Is CentOS Stream?
With CentOS Stream, Red Hat has changed the position of CentOS from being a free clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to an upstream project between the more bleeding-edge Fedora and RHEL. This means that CentOS Stream is actually ahead of RHEL.
While it may seem that CentOS Stream is a distro for development use, major CentOS users have found it to be perfectly serviceable in production. Facebook currently runs its servers on CentOS Stream.
What Do You Need to Run CentOS Stream?
The bare minimum you need to run CentOS Stream is 10GB of disk space, but this is just for a bare-bones system without even a GUI.
For daily use, you’ll want more space. If you’re running a desktop, 2GB is the absolute minimum for the default GNOME desktop. More RAM would be even better. In actual use, 4GB would be the actual minimum. More demanding uses like development or image editing will likely require at least 8GB.
Download: CentOS Stream
How to Install CentOS Stream
While the project may have been reorganized, installing CentOS Stream is fortunately quite similar to previous versions of CentOS, as well as other Red Hat-derived distros.
You download the installation image, extract it to your installation medium of choice, then boot into your system using the media.
You’ll be confronted with the graphical menu. The first thing you should do is click on the network button to set up your connection. Otherwise, you won’t be able to download anything.
Next, set up your time zone. This computer is in the Pacific Time Zone, so that’s what we’ll select.
Now you’ll have to set up your accounts. You could set a root password, but setting up a regular user with administrative privileges is even better since you’ll only have to remember one password.
Select your hard drive and partition scheme. Like many modern Linux distros, you can accept a guided partition or use a custom partition scheme.
Select and install the software you want. You have several choices for the kind of system you want to install. You can install a graphical server, a basic server, a workstation environment, or even a custom environment.
For this example, we’ll use a workstation environment, so click on the “Workstation” check box. On the right-hand side, you’ll have the option to select additional software packages for your system.
Since the default installation, even for a desktop system, installs a minimum of software, you will want to select other options. You’ll probably want the GNOME applications, internet applications, and possibly graphical administration tools, depending on how comfortable you are using the command line.
The other options are specialized. If you’re a programmer, you’ll probably want to install the development tools.
Now that everything’s been set up, you can start the installation. Just click “Begin installation” and you’ll be treated to the traditional progress bar. You can wait for it to make its way across the screen or you can get up to get a drink, tidy up, or do anything else you need to do to pass the time.
Depending on what kind of system you chose, it might take a while for the installer to fetch the packages and install them.
When you’ve finally finished installing, you can now boot into your new CentOS Stream system.
CentOS Stream First Boot
When you first boot, the system will greet you with the requirement to accept the license agreement before you can use the system. Just click the button and accept it, and then you’ll be on your way.
Now you’ll see the login screen with the user you created earlier. Select the username and enter the password, and now GNOME will start up.
On the first run, the system will prompt you to choose your language and keyboard settings, choose whether you want location services turned on, as well as connect any online accounts you may have.
Package Management in CentOS Stream
Even if it seems you installed the whole system, no Linux system seems to be complete out of the box, and that includes CentOS Stream. There are always a few programs you want to install. Fortunately, it’s easy to add new software to the system.
The first is through the Software application. This provides a graphical “app store” experience. It’s a good option on the desktop if you want to browse. It’s very intuitive. Just browse through the categories and click the program you want, and you can just install it.
The other way to install new software is through the DNF package manager. This is the standard command-line package management tool in the Red Hat family of Linux distros. It’s easy to use.
To install a new package, just use “dnf install.” For example, to install the Vim text editor:
sudo dnf install vim
DNF doesn’t only install packages, but it also keeps the system up to date. It’s important to do this because a lot of packages contain security updates. That goes double for networking software on modern systems. It’s also simple to update the system with DNF. Just use the “update” option:
sudo dnf update
DNF will automatically update its list of packages and upgrade any packages installed on the system that have updates.
If you just want to see how many updates are available, use the “check-update” option:
sudo dnf check-update
You may wonder whether to use Software or DNF to install new software. It depends on your taste and comfort with the command line. The Software GUI app uses DNF behind the scenes to install packages. If you don’t know what you want and would like to browse, it’s a good option.
If you prefer to use the command line and know exactly what you want to install, DNF is a good bet. DNF also lists components and libraries you might want to install, though if another program needs these they will be installed automatically.
Now You Can Install CentOS Stream
With Red Hat’s changes to CentOS, if you want to stay the course, the installation of CentOS Stream is simple. Either way, installing software and keeping it updated is easy with CentOS.
If the changes to CentOS have you looking for alternatives, read on for more alternatives to CentOS that are still based on Red Hat.