Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I'm at GUADEC all this week so if you have any questions/comments about Ubuntu Desktop, LightDM, Simple Scan or GCalctool feel free to find me!

Monday, July 05, 2010


I'd like to announce a side-project I've been working on: The Light Display Manager (LightDM).


  • Fully themeable (easiest with the webkit interface)
  • Cross-desktop (greeters can be written in any toolkit)
  • Low-complexity codebase
  • Standards compliant (PAM, ConsoleKit, etc)

Tell me about themeing...

This is the part I'm most excited about...

You can try the webkit interface online today. My HTML/CSS/Javascript skills are not great so please take that page, copy the lightdm.js include line (simulates the lightdm interface) and write an awesome interface! Please leave a comment here if you make a cool one. Idea - make a greeter that integrates with Facebook.

Got bigger plans? Read the libldmgreeter reference. Idea - make an OpenGL interface that uses Mii avatars.

libldmgreeter not in the right language for you? It supports GObject introspection so you should be able to write a greeter in any introspetion enabled languange (e.g. Python). And the interface to lightdm is D-Bus so you can go more direct if you want.

Wait, what is a display manager again?

The display manager handles the running of the X server (graphical display) on your system. It also provides the login screen (greeter) to authenticate users.

Who is developing this?

This is a personal project developed in my own time. Patches, feedback and help welcome.

What about the other display managers?

LightDM aims to support all use cases of the current display managers, from embedded to desktop systems. LightDM is still in early development and not suitable for use in production systems.

Where can I get it?

Source is in Launchpad (bzr clone lp:lightdm) and tarball releases.

If you are using Ubuntu (Lucid or Maverick) you can install it from a PPA:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:robert-ancell/lightdm
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install lightdm lightdm-theme-webkit lightdm-theme-gnome

You can test lightdm by running it in a window:
$ sudo apt-get install xserver-xephyr
Create the file lightdm.conf:
$ lightdm --test-mode -c lightdm.conf

11/11/2010 - Updated test instructions