Configuring GDM 2.2.
- Downloading and installing GDM.
- Configuring GDM.
GDM or GNOME Display Manager, is a nice GUI login screen which makes it nice
and pretty to login to Xwindows. It it much nicer for non-linux people to have
a GUI interface to login to rather than a console.
One thing that bothered me with some of the older versions of gdm was the
fact that I couldn't place the login window anywhere I wanted on the
screen. With the latest version, it as very easy. Also, I couldn't figure
out how to make logos of people in the login window, and now I figured
that out. The latest version of GDM is really nice and I have figured out
how to configure it the way I wanted it to be configured, so I finally
decided to write this article.
I could have downloaded an rpm from somewhere, but instead I decided to
compile it manually. I was testing it on a RH 6.2 system. As soon as I can
get the 7.1 version of RH (as the 7.0 wasn't worth the trouble), I will
test it on it as well, and Debian of course.
The danger of not using rpms to install gdm, is the fact that I am installing
a newer version of gdm on top of a gdm version which was installed by rpms.
This could cause problems if I decided to use an rpm in the future. I found
an rpm version at
in case you don't want to install it manually.
After fooling around a bit, I found out that /etc/X11/gdm wasn't being
used for the configuration files, so I linked /etc/X11/gdm to the place
that gdm was looking. I probably could have recompiled gdm to fix this problem,
but I am being lazy. Also, one directory was missing, so I created it.
- Downloaded GDM from
- tar -zxvf gdm-2.2.0.tar.gz
- cd gdm-2.2.0
- ./configure --prefix=/usr
- make install
Three additional Steps
Again, I emphasize the fact that you should probably use the rpm and
not bother installing it manually.
- mv /usr/etc/gdm /usr/etc/gdm_new
- ln -s /etc/X11/gdm /usr/etc/gdm
- mkdir /usr/share/faces/
The goals I had were,
I had to change some of the settings in the file gdm.conf. My changes
- Be able to place the login screen anywhere I wanted.
- Be able to play a game before someone has to login.
- Be able to put images in the background just for fun.
- Be able to put a clock on the background.
- Be able to put pictures or logos of people on the browser part of GDM.
Also, here was my Init/Default script,
/usr/X11R6/bin/xsetroot -solid "#363047"
xsri -geometry +5+5 /etc/X11/xdm/Logo2.png
xsri -geometry +400+5 /home/mark/public_html/wedding/wed2.jpg
xsri -geometry +700+500 /home/mark/public_html/wedding/walk.jpg
xsri -geometry +200+500 /home/mark/public_html/wedding/kiss.jpg
xsri -geometry +5+175 /home/mark/public_html/kiss.gif
xsri -geometry +5+500 /usr/local/apache_gnujobs/htdocs/images/zing.png
xeyes -geometry +825+5 &
xclock -digital -geometry +825+125 -update 1 &
xtriangles -geometry +800+300 &
In order to get logos or pictures of people on the GDM screen, I had to
make the name of the image exactly the name of username and put it in
/usr/share/faces/. To test this, I took my logo for ZING and copied it
cp /usr/local/apache_gnujobs/htdocs/images/zing.png /usr/share/faces/root
Notice that there is no extension.
Everything worked perfectly once I followed these steps. Using the rpm
might have been easier, but oh well. I will try that out next time. I
highly recommend to back up any gdm configuration files before installing
any new rpms (though the rpms should back them up for you). I don't really
see any other features that I would need. Some misc features, like maybe
a ticker tape, downloading the weather, or other games besides triangles
would be cool. I imagine it is possible, but it isn't necessary for me.
It also might be a security risk to let people play games before they
have to login, in case they figure out some way to break out to a shell,
so I wouldn't advise putting games into GDM on public computers.
I would have liked to compare KDM with GDM, but I wasn't able to easily
find a recent webpage for KDM. I am also waiting until I install the latest
version of KDE before I mess around with KDM anyways.
- Gnome Display Manager
- 6-24-1999 Setting up xdm.
If this article
changes, it will be available here
Mark works as an independent consultant donating time to causes like
GNUJobs.com, writing articles, writing free software, and working
as a volunteer at eastmont.net.
Copyright © 4/2001 Mark Nielsen