GDM in Karmic

vidd vidd at
Sat Jul 25 15:44:17 UTC 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Cody A.W. Somerville" <cody-somerville at>
To: "Xubuntu Development Discussion"
<xubuntu-devel at>
Sent: Saturday, July 25, 2009 11:14 AM
Subject: RFC: GDM in Karmic

> 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
> 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
> metacity, gdm-simple-greeter or whatever). From initial
> the
> effort could possibly involve patching gdm,
> 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,
> -- 
> Cody A.W. Somerville
> Software Systems Release Engineer
> Foundations Team
> Custom Engineering Solutions Group
> Canonical OEM Services
> Phone: +1-781-850-2087
> Cell: +1-506-471-8402
> Email: cody.somerville at


> -- 
> xubuntu-devel mailing list
> xubuntu-devel at

My two cents:
    For what it's worth, creating a gdm-legacy application
is a good long as it is only a stop-gap.
    You have stated that SLiM and xDM are not ready for
release (I agree)

Can we get a list of the shortfalls of these two window
managers so we can 
get them up to snuff?
IMHO modifying the new gdm to load xfce is probably going
to be MORE work 
then getting SLiM production ready (and then there is the

thank you
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