Ubuntu has come a long way since Warty Warthog, generally making improvements with each release. Sometimes, however, when a feature is replaced, the new version might not have all the tools surrounding it that the original had. Such is the case with GDM2, the login manager in newer Ubuntu releases. Many users find the current config tool to be rather lacking. The software may have some nifty improvements over the old, but it’s missing many of the user-centric controls we all know and love from prior versions. To fix that problem, we’ve got GDM2 Setup. With it, you can get back control of GDM and change things like the background image, automatic logins, and more.
Getting GDM2 Setup
As it’s not yet available in standard repos, you’ve got to install via PPA. It’s an extremely quick and easy process, and shouldn’t take more than about 2 minutes. Just open up your browser and enter:
And to run, you can find the application under System -> Administration -> Login (GDM2Setup) or run the command:
You can enable basic auto-login for a given account if you want to keep it simple, but GDM2 Setup allows for some extra functionality as well. In this example, GDM will wait 5 seconds for someone to log in manually, and if no one does it will assume the josh user and login in automatically.
In the second section, you can enable or disable login sounds, Shutdown/Restart buttons, and the system banner. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, and the third is a message that will show up on all login attempts.
We have previously covered the way to change your login screen, but GDM2Setup make it even easier. GDM2 Setup can handle the wallpaper independently of the theme. It’s a simple dialog allowing basic image file selection and preview, but there’s also a button to automatically blur the image when it’s displayed.
You can also use GDM2 Setup to change the icons and window decoration scheme. The only drawback here is that there is no simple method to preview the changes on this tab. If you select an option from the dropdown, you’d have to already know what it looks like. It is, however, the same icon and decoration themes found in the rest of Gnome, so you can use the normal Gnome icon and decoration tools to preview your choices if you like before saving them to GDM.
Accessibility and Themes
At the time of this writing, there are two disabled tabs at the far right of the window. These are for Accessibility and Themes, and will both be fully enabled in future versions. For some features, it’s because GDM2 Setup hasn’t implemented them yet, while others are being developed in the GDM core itself and the Setup program must wait until they’re finalized before it could make a working configuration tool.
All in all, GDM2 Setup is progressing nicely, and once all the pieces are in place it should match or exceed the power of the old configuration interface.
Does GDM2 Setup makes your life easier?