GNOME Display Manager

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GNOME Display Manager
Gdm logo.png
GNOME Display Manager
GNOME Display Manager
Developer(s) The GNOME Project (William Jon McCann, Brian Cameron, Ray Strode)
Stable release 3.28.0 (14 March 2018; 4 days ago (2018-03-14)[1]) [±]
Preview release 3.27.4 (10 January 2018; 2 months ago (2018-01-10)) [±]
Written in C
Operating system Unix-like (includes: BSD, Linux, Solaris)
License GNU General Public License

GNOME Display Manager (GDM) is a display manager (a graphical login program) for the windowing systems X11 and Wayland.

The X Window System by default uses the XDM display manager. However, resolving XDM configuration issues typically involves editing a configuration file. GDM allows users to customize or troubleshoot settings without having to resort to a command line. Users can pick their session type on a per-login basis. GDM 2.38.0 is the last version that features customization with themes; subsequent releases do not support themes.

Software architecture[edit]

GDM is a display manager that implements all significant features required for managing attached and remote displays. GDM was written from scratch and does not contain any XDM or X Consortium code.[2]


GDM comprises the following components:

Hidden features[edit]

GDM on Ubuntu 8.04

Until version 2.22,[3] GDM had a few Easter eggs, in the form of strings to be entered in the username box, these can be found in the source file "gui/guilogin.c", in a function named "evil".[4]

  • Dancing login – type "Start Dancing" to start, and "Stop Dancing" to stop.
    • (This requires the standard greeter ("GTK+ Greeter"), rather than the graphical one ("Themed Greeter")).
  • "Gimme Random Cursor" – can be used repeatedly.
    • This changes the mouse cursor to a randomly selected 1 of 77 different "cursor fonts" as defined in the X11 specification.
  • "Require Quarter" (or "Require Quater", for backward compatibility with a typo in the original),[5] then log in normally – a dialog box that reads "Please insert 25 cents to log in." appears after entering the password. Clicking "OK" allows the login process to proceed as normal.

Queen of England[edit]

Some of the copyright notices of GDM refer to the "Queen of England", whom release announcements from version 2.2.1 also named as a maintainer.[6] Subsequently, developers realised that the title "Queen of England" has not existed since the Acts of Union of 1707.[7]

Removed features[edit]

As of version 3.0 the GNOME display manager switched to using AccountService for saving the user's selected session rather than storing it in the user's home directory, effectively making it unusable in a networked environment.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "GDM documentation". 
  3. ^ "migrate gui to new config framework with a chainsaw". 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  4. ^ "gdm – guilogin.c". Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  5. ^ "GDM commit ee8de912". 5 March 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  6. ^ "ANNOUNCE: GDM 2.2.1, the 'Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you' release". 4 May 2001. Gdm2 was originally written by Martin K. Petersen <mkp mkp net>, and is now maintained by the Queen of England. 
  7. ^ "ANNOUNCE: GDM (unstable), the "Nose poking" release". 4 Mar 2004. 
  8. ^ "Bug 617465 - GDM ignores user's default session in ~/.dmrc". 5 Jul 2013. 

External links[edit]