Display manager

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A display manager, or login manager, is a graphical interface screen that is displayed at the end of the boot process in place of the default shell. There are various types of display managers, just as there are various types of window and desktop managers. There is usually a certain amount of customization and themeability available with these managers.

List of display managers

Tip: If you use a desktop environment, you may consider using the display manager that corresponds to it.
Tip: The following display managers provide an automatic list of installed Window Managers (reading /usr/share/xsessions entries): GDM, KDM, LXDM, LightDM


  • CDM (Console Display Manager) — ultra-minimalistic, yet full-featured login manager written in bash
https://github.com/ghost1227/cdm || cdm-gitAUR


  • SLiM (Simple Login Manager) — lightweight and elegant graphical login solution
http://slim.berlios.de/ || slim
  • Qingy — ultralight and very configurable graphical login independent on X Windows (uses DirectFB)
http://qingy.sourceforge.net/ || qingy
  • XDM — X Display Manager with support for XDMCP, host chooser.
http://www.x.org/archive/X11R7.5/doc/man/man1/xdm.1.html || xorg-xdm
http://projects.gnome.org/gdm/ || gdm
http://www.kde.org/ || kdebase-workspace
  • LXDMLXDE Display Manager. Can be used independent of the LXDE desktop environment.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/lxdm/ || lxdm
  • wdm — WINGs Display Manager
http://voins.program.ru/wdm/ || wdm
  • LightDM — Ubuntu replacement for GDM using WebKit
http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/LightDM || lightdmAUR, lightdm-bzrAUR

Loading the display manager

Many display managers come packaged with a systemd service file.

Simply run the following command in accordance with the display manager you choose:

  • GDM:
# systemctl enable gdm.service
  • KDM:
# systemctl enable kdm.service
  • SLiM
# systemctl enable slim.service
  • LXDM:
# systemctl enable lxdm.service
  • LightDM:
# systemctl enable lightdm.service

The next time you reboot, the display manager should run. The display manager will load automatically after start-up and will respawn in the event of a crash.