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This section will explain how to activate graphical login and starting the window manager(WM) of your choice.
The graphical login is handled by a program called a display manager (DM). There are a number of different DMs out there, the most popular being GDM, KDM, XDM and Entrance. All DMs do more or less the same thing: Starts an X session and presents the user with a login prompt.
- XDM - The original DM, included with XFree/Xorg. Pretty ugly compared to the other ones.
- GDM - Gnome Display Manager, which uses GNOME libs.
- KDM - KDE Display Manager, which uses KDE libs.
- Entrance - Display manager from enlightenment. Looks very good, but might not be as stable as the others.
- Qingy - Requires DirectFB and can start console and X session, very themable.
- SLiM - Light and simple, yet very configurable.
- WDM - WING's Display Manager. Lightweight, based on WindowMaker.
To use a DM, you first have to install it. All the above DMs are included in portage, so a simple emerge of one of them will work. For example:
# emerge --ask gdm
If you want XDM, it's installed with Xorg/XFree.
After installing it, you have to tell Gentoo to start it automatically at boot. This is done in two steps. First, edit /etc/conf.d/xdm and uncomment the line with DISPLAYMANAGER="xdm", and change it to the DM you have chosen. Second, add the service xdm to the default runlevel so it actually starts:
# rc-update add xdm default
Note that the name of the service is always xdm even if you use a different DM: This script checks what DISPLAYMANAGER in /etc/conf.d/xdm is set to, and starts the correct DM.
You can configure a default WM to start by setting XSESSION in /etc/rc.conf to the name of a script in the directory /etc/X11/Sessions/. For example, to set Xfce4 as your default WM, create a simple script to start up xfce and place in there:
Don't forget to make the script executable: chmod 755 /etc/X11/Sessions/xfce.
Now, set XSESSION="xfce" in /etc/conf.d/xdm. Once you login, your selected WM should appear.
Read the comments in /etc/conf.d/xdm for further explanation.
Now you can do one of 2 steps to actually start the graphical login:
- Reboot (a bit silly)
- Start the service manually:
# /etc/init.d/xdm start
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