GNOME Display Manager

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GNOME Display Manager
Developer(s)The GNOME Project (William Jon McCann, Brian Cameron, Ray Strode)
Stable release
44.1[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 5 May 2023; 23 days ago (5 May 2023)
Preview release
41.alpha[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 28 July 2021; 22 months ago (28 July 2021)
Written inC
Operating systemUnix and Unix-like (Linux, BSD, Solaris)
TypeLogin manager for Wayland, X display manager
LicenseGPL-2.0-or-later Edit this on Wikidata

GNOME Display Manager (GDM) is a display manager (a graphical login manager) 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.[3]


GDM comprises the following components:

Hidden features[edit]

Until version 2.22,[4] 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".[5]

  • 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),[6] 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.[7] Subsequently, developers realised that the title "Queen of England" has not existed since the Acts of Union of 1707.[8]

See also[edit]

  1. getty – a non-graphical login program
  2. LightDM
  3. SDDM (KDE Plasma 5)
  4. KDE Display Manager (KDE Plasma 4)


  1. ^ Error: Unable to display the reference properly. See the documentation for details.
  2. ^ "41.alpha". 28 July 2021.
  3. ^ "GDM documentation".
  4. ^ "migrate gui to new config framework with a chainsaw". 1 June 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  5. ^ "gdm – guilogin.c". Archived from the original on 31 May 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  6. ^ "GDM commit ee8de912". 5 March 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "ANNOUNCE: GDM (unstable), the "Nose poking" release". 4 March 2004.

External links[edit]