RFC: GDM in Karmic

Charlie Kravetz cjk at teamcharliesangels.com
Sat Jul 25 16:32:05 UTC 2009

On Sat, 25 Jul 2009 11:14:57 -0400
"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 will be happy with any solution here, but also keep in mind that
gnumeric is tied to gtk and broke with that upgrade. The fix right now
is to upgrade to libgtk+ 2.17.6 and Ubuntu repositories are still at

Charlie Kravetz 
Linux Registered User Number 425914          [http://counter.li.org/]
Never let anyone steal your DREAM.           [http://keepingdreams.com]

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