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With Ubuntu 11.10 requiring a slick, ‘consumer orientated’ login experience that better matches the rest of Ubuntu, the decision to switch to ‘LightDM’ proved the ideal solution.

LightDM is promoted as fast, small, well documented, is easily themable and has ‘great accessibility’. A 3D-based interface will greet those with capable hardware, with a 2D version being used fallback where not supported.

The advantages of using LightDM instead GDM are according to launchpad blueprint:

  • – Faster – the greeter doesn’t require an entire GNOME session to run
  • – More flexible – multiple greeters are supported through a well defined interface. This allows Ubuntu derivatives to use the same display manager (e.g. Kubuntu, Lubuntu etc).
  • – Simpler codebase – similar feature set in ~5,000 lines of code compared to 50,000 in GDM
  • – Supports more usecases – first class support for XDMCP and multihead.

Note: this blueprint is marked with a “low priority” tag on launchpad so it may not end up landing in 11.04.

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:
[Greeter]
theme=webkit
$ lightdm --test-mode -c lightdm.conf

[update]

It had not worked for me though, I wonder why.  It might not work for those who have graphic card issues with GNOME 3.

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