RFC: GDM in Karmic

Vincent mailinglists at vinnl.nl
Sat Jul 25 15:25:50 UTC 2009

On Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 5:14 PM, Cody A.W. Somerville <
cody-somerville at ubuntu.com> wrote:

> Hello Folks,
>  As you may or may not be aware, the developers of the gnome display
> manager (GDM) began a major rewrite with version 2.21. Now at 2.27.x, the
> Ubuntu development team has determined the new GDM ready for inclusion in
> Ubuntu and as such uploaded this new version a few weeks ago. Unfortunately,
> the new GDM heavily relies on a number of gnome desktop components currently
> such as gnome-session, metacity, gnome-settings-daemon, etc. The reason for
> this is because the new gdm effectively logs in as the gdm user, start a
> minimal gnome environment, and launches a GTK application to provide a login
> prompt.
>  Luckily I've been able to patch the gdm package to actually start and to
> not pull in most of gnome like it was but the experience is still horrible.
> Because gnome-settings-daemon is not running, nothing is themed and there is
> no background. Because metacity is not running, you don't have any window
> decorations. Because gnome-session is waiting for said applications (this is
> just a hypothesis) to register with it, the cursor is always the busy
> cursor. Other problems include but are not limited to the inability to set
> the default session (except by adding a .dmrc file to /etc/skel - eww), and
> no more gdm-cdd config (it now uses gconfd).
>  One possible solution is to try and use xfce4 applications/components
> where possible (gdm is hard coded to start gnome-session
> --autostart=/usr/share/gdm/autostart/LoginWindow/ - as you might have
> guessed, /usr/share/gdm/autostart/LoginWindow/ contains desktop files to be
> used by gnome-session to launch our friends like gnome-settings-daemon,
> metacity, gdm-simple-greeter or whatever). From initial investigations, the
> effort could possibly involve patching gdm, gdm-simple-greeter,
> xfce4-session, xfwm4, and more... which would be a lot of work for no
> guarantee that we'll be able to end up with something we're happy with in
> time for karmic.
>  Another solution that quickly comes to mind is the use of another desktop
> manager. Thus far I've evaluated slim and xdm and found them unsuitable.
> Luckily, there appears there might be some other solutions still to be
> investigated. If you know of anything, please send me a private e-mail with
> details.
>  A third solution would be to reupload the 2.20.x series of GDM (the gdm we
> know and for the most part love) under a new name (such as gdm-2.20,
> gdm-legacy, or something) and use that. Its the least amount of work and its
> been doing the job. The biggest drawback to this is that the 2.20.x series
> is no longer supported/maintained by upstream so we'll not be able to run to
> gdm's developers for bug fixes and we certainly can't expect any new
> features. However, I'm personally starting to feel that this would be the
> best option for Karmic as all this option requires is a decision (which I'd
> like to make with consensus of the team and involved folks from the
> community) and we can continue to work on integrating the new gdm and then
> ship it when *we're ready* to do so.
> Cheers,

I don't really consider the first option a solution worth trying. I would
propose to look at option 2 first and have 3 available as fallback option.
Then I was wondering: what happened up till now? If the gdm developers began
rewriting with 2.21 and up till now Ubuntu has always included 2.20, how has
Ubuntu received security updates? All backported by Ubuntu?

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