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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
- CDM (Console Display Manager) — ultra-minimalistic, yet full-featured login manager written in bash
- SLiM (Simple Login Manager) — lightweight and elegant graphical login solution
- Qingy — ultralight and very configurable graphical login independent on X Windows (uses DirectFB)
- XDM — X Display Manager with support for XDMCP, host chooser.
- wdm — WINGs Display Manager
- http://github.com/ghost1227/cdm || AUR, AUR
- LightDM — Ubuntu replacement for GDM using WebKit
- http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/LightDM || AUR, AUR
Loading the display manager
You have two easy methods to make the system load the display manager:
- The display manager will load automatically after start-up and will respawn in the event of a crash.
- Daemon method
- The display manager will load automatically during the start-up as a daemon.
inittab method will allow you to boot directly into framebuffer mode from GRUB. This is an advantage should the graphics driver crash in X, for example, you would not be forced to fix your system from a live CD or through other needlessly complex means.
inittab method all you would have to do is to press 'e' for edit at the GRUB prompt and just add the number of the run-level you prefer, such as run-level 3, to the end of the 'kernel' line to boot directly into framebuffer mode in order to fix your system/X (this described in detail below.)
When using the daemon method you can simply boot into runlevel 1/S which will prevent any daemons, including the login manager, from being started. Then you can fix your system/X and switch into the runlevel 3. Both methods are equally easy.
See inittab for additional information.
The run-levels are:
0 Halt 1(S) Single-user 2 Not used 3 Multi-user (default) 4 Not used 5 X11 6 Reboot
Modify default run-level
/etc/inittab and find the line that looks like this:
Modify the 3 to 5 for X11:
The next time you reboot, the 'X display manager' should run. For other display managers see below:
Modify default display manager
/etc/inittab and find the line that looks like similar to this one (near the end):
Modify it so it points to the display manager of your choice:
x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/slim >/dev/null 2>&1
x:5:respawn:/usr/sbin/lxdm >& /dev/null
x:5:respawn:/usr/sbin/lightdm >& /dev/null
The next time you reboot, the display manager of your choice should run.
Auto switch to tty7
You may find login prompt from agetty appeared before the display manager is started. If you don't like to see this prompt, add this line to inittab:
You simply need to add the daemon name to your daemons array in
Near the end of the file you will see a line that looks similar to the following:
DAEMONS=(syslogd klogd !pcmcia network netfs crond) # this is the daemons array
Append the daemon name for the display manager of your choice (
DAEMONS=(syslogd klogd !pcmcia network netfs crond slim)
Ensure you start the display manager last in the DAEMONS array, otherwise X will later allocate a tty device which was previously claimed by Getty (see
/etc/inittab). Not placing the display manager at the end can cause X crashes, and is therefore unsupported.
The next time you reboot, the display manager should run. In the event that it does not, be certain that you typed in the name correctly, and that the manager you selected is installed. It also helps to ensure that
startx is not stopping with errors.
Many display managers come packaged with a systemd service file. Simply run the following command, replacing the daemon name for the display manager of your choice,
systemctl enable slim.service
The next time you reboot, the display manager should run.
You can switch runlevel if you want to test out the display manager without rebooting. See Switching runlevel for instructions.
D-Bus is required
If system loads the XDM but does not login, check the logs in
If there is a message like:
Dbus error: Unable to open session: Failed to connect to socket
or GDM displays:
Couldn't connect to system bus: Failed to connect to socket...
You need to start D-Bus before XDM. You can add it to your DAEMONS array so it starts automatically on boot or start manually by
rc.d start dbus. Also, XDM will cycle back and restart itself if you're not starting a window manager session.