Do not set run-level 5 by default, and add xrdp or freenx to rhel software channel.

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I ended up to change every single server to level 3 (server in data center doesn't need to waste resource for X), and downloaded xrdp/freenx from epel channel (some time I need to run X's apps).


I fully support this suggestion. Since RHEL is using on server side mostly it is no reasons start X server on console.

There are companies out there like mine that have 50% of all RHEL systems used for desktops so we need runlevel 5 for those. That being said, it's easy to make the change during kickstart. Also, Red Hat has seperate versions of RHEL (server vs workstation). I think it would make sense for them to set runlevel 3 as the default in the server image and runlevel 5 in the workstation image.

Runlevel 5 is keyed off of installation of an X server and display manager; this can be achieved now by not installing those packages (or the x11 group).

I'am only deplying via kickstart, and kickstart already has this implemented.

I agree. I had to change all my server to be runlevel 3 after I built using KS file. Sometimes its nice to have the GUI but  we dont need to have it running all the time.

Why install X in the first place then?


Unless you have some application depending on it, you shouldn't have X on your server in the first place.


Though I must say I do not entirely disagree; even when X is installed, the server should still boot in runlevel 3. The only way you'd need init 5 is for a XDCMP host anyway.

Try to tell oracle/SAP admin that he/she can't perform installation through X, and you can understand my point of view. We need X occasionally, but not X on console. My datacenter has only one LCD and monitor just for emergency access.

I'm getting a bit off-topic here, not what this group is meant for, but there are 2 easy ways to install Oracle without X:

- Using, what Oracle calls, "Response files". See

- Using X forwarding to i.e. XMing


I do get your point though, users sometimes "need" X. Whether they actually do need it, is irrelevant. When it's installed, it shouldn't be the default runlevel.

Try to tell oracle/SAP admin that he/she can't perform installation through X, and you can understand my point of view. We need X occasionally, but not X on console. My datacenter has only one LCD and monitor just for emergency access.

I would agree that a server class RHEL box should always init 3. I NEVER install X but in the case that we had to, I would also prefer the inittab to be set to 3. If X is needed, you can still install X through the kickstart/anaconda and then set the inittab file accordingly. I think that X-less RHEL servers are much more prevelant than RHEL servers with X Windows. Therefore, init 3 by default and let those who need X set the inittab accordingly. My $0.02 anyways.

init 3 should be the default for a server. If you need X for a task and X is installed then you can use "startx" on the console.

I agree with this, leave a minimal X install present in case you need to launch a GUI installer (tons of oracle applications require this) and pull it back with x forwarding; but no need to boot into runlevel 5, 3 should be the default runlevel.

My company, too, would like to Red Hat include & support FreeNX in RHEL7.  At my company, we have a requirement that sessions to remote servers must be encrypted.  (SSH instead of telnet, HTTPS instead of HTTP, etc.)


Attempting to secure VNC was too much hassle.  FreeNX has security built-in by default.

We use FreeNX for our remote support day by day since 2007 on very low bandwidth around the world.
Have a look at the changelog of the freenx RPM you can find at the CentOS repositories and you can see that it was qualified for enterprise.
You need only ssh connection. No trouble with users on Windows systems and they use then KDE or GNOME and all the tools with are includes at RHEL.

Watch out with relying on FreeNX. With NX version 4, the source code will be re-licensed to closed source and from what I hear, FreeNX will be removed from the options.


I think that SPICE would be a better alternative. It needs to be as easy on the client side though (applet or ajax application).

Agree here - SPICE is the way forward.  Does need improvement and easy connection methods.  Would ideally also have session sharing for remote support etc.


We, too, limit connectivity to secure methods -- principally ssh.  I should point out that it is rather easy to perform X-Forwarding through SSH; or to pull a VNC session through SSH Tunnels. 


Securing VNC in this way is quite simple.  (But I also agree that FreeNX could be a great option.) 

I considered this already addressed.


Unlike EL5, EL6 makes major changes in both the RPM dependencies and the comps.xml groupings.  This allows one to easily install all sorts of software without any X11, GNOME or other dependencies in EL6, unlike EL5 which regularly brought in various components.

Hi all,


You all gave a reason why we should or should not use runlevel 3 or runlevel 5.


Is not, Red Hat telling us that choice is the greater good, so give system-configkickstart and anaconda a "radio-button" to choose the default runlevel.


I like to have a multi window environment when I need to solve a huge problem.


But again, if I run Oracle I do not like the overhead of XWindows.



KInd regards,



Jan Gerrit Kootstra

One doesn't have to run a X-Server to have X-Window support.  I consider the argument moot.  I do remote X display over SSH all-the-time (even to Cygwin/X when I have to run Windows).

Setting up a VNC server achieves this without xrdp.

I also have to install X for certain application installs, but don't want to run it all the time. So when I kickstart a server, I install in graphical mode and configure X. Then in the post-installation script, I have the following line:


/bin/sed -i 's/id\:5\:initdefault\:/id\:3\:initdefault\:/' /etc/inittab


So my server is in run level 3 by default, but I can "startx" if I have to.


As far as the customer machines, keep one kickstart file for servers, and one for clients.


Just my two cents...


sed -i /^id/s,5,3, /etc/inittab

Agree with these solutions.  If you want to install X, but then don't want X to run, it should be your responsibility to change the runlevel.  Changing the default will require a change for people who install RHEL desktops/workstations, but will then find themselves booting into runlevel 3.  I would vote that the expected behaviour after installing X would be to boot into runlevel 5.

We do this regularly for our Oracle servers (although we're trying to shuffle the DBA's towards silent installs).  Part of the kickstart post-install scripts ensures that the runlevel is changed from 5 to 3.