GDM Step by step.. Another Way ?

Peter Garrett peter.garrett at
Sat Jul 16 11:23:34 UTC 2005

On Sat, 16 Jul 2005 03:09:51 -0400
Lee McLain <lee.mclain at> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
>      Could someone in the know please provide a step by step list of
> what files are being executed when logging into GDM?
>      For example:
> 1. After entering a valid username and password, SCRIPT X is then run.
> 2. SCRIPT X genereates a variable and passes it to SCRIPT Y, when then
> determines a result.
> 3. That result is passed to SCRIPT Z, which then finally executes the
> window manager/desktop environment chosen.
>      Yes, that sounds like hand-holding, because it is!  I can't find
> a step through for the Ubuntu way of starting X.  The only thing that
> I do know is that they do it a bit differently than others!
>      I am trying to find an appropriate place to launch my dockapps
> when running Fluxbox.
> Thanks,
> Lee

Hi Lee,

Not an answer to your GDM question as such, but this might help with starting your dockapps.

I suggest you look in /usr/share/xsessions. Here you should find files of the form "gnome.desktop" or "fluxbox.desktop". If you read these files you will see an "Exec" line something like this: (for gnome, as an example)


Your fluxbox.desktop should have a similar line, which will point to the startup script for fluxbox. This script is where you would normally add , for example, your dockapps with lines similar to

wmixer &                 # to start a sound volume/mixer dockapp

My fluxbox is actually started from a script of my own, using a ~/.xsession file, so I point the "Exec" line in /usr/share/xsessions/fluxbox.desktop at that script,  but I believe recent fluxbox versions use a " startfluxbox" script, which you can edit to your preferences.
I would expect that script to be /usr/bin/startfluxbox if you installed from an Ubuntu .deb file or via apt/ synaptic. (Mine is in /usr/local/bin/ , because I compiled fluxbox to work around an issue of slow startup , by building it with --disable-xmb ).

Good documentation on fluxbox, including startup information can be read or downloaded in various formats and languages at:

I guess what I'm suggesting is that GDM is kind of a side issue to the result you are trying to achieve. The question of how GDM *actually* works is still interesting, but I don't know an answer to that one ! I would also be interested to read a walk-through of what calls what, and when, in that process... :)


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