Thursday, October 6, 2011

Customizing the Appearance of LightDM

LightDM is the new login manager for Ubuntu, from Oneiric Ocelot 11.10 on, replacing GDM. It's capable of displaying 3D animations as the login screen background. Not many 3D animations exist so far, in fact only one to my knowledge. Still, we'll discuss how to implement it at least.

Changing the Background Image

Changing the background is pretty easy. You just need to edit a configuration file and set the path to the image that you want to use as the login screen background. Or you can also use a GUI tool named 'Simple LightDM Manager'.

Configuration File Method

Get to a Terminal and run:

gksudo gedit /etc/lightdm/unity-greeter.conf

A file with a content like this would open up:

# background = Background file to use, either an image path or a color (e.g. #772953)
# logo = Logo file to use
# theme-name = GTK+ theme to use
# font-name = Font to use
# xft-antialias = Whether to antialias Xft fonts (true or false)
# xft-dpi = Resolution for Xft in dots per inch (e.g. 96)
# xft-hintstyle = What degree of hinting to use (hintnone, hintslight, hintmedium, or hintfull)
# xft-rgba = Type of subpixel antialiasing (none, rgb, bgr, vrgb or vbgr)
font-name=Ubuntu 11

You just need to replace the text highlighted in red above with your desired image's path. You can also change the logo that is displayed at the bottom left of LightDM login screen by editing the 'logo' entry in the same file.

Simple LightDM Manager, GUI Method

Claudio of has developed a simple GUI tool for managing the LightDM background and logo. You can choose an image as a background or use a plain colour.

For installing Simple LightDM Manager, get to a Terminal and run:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:claudiocn/slm
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install simple-lightdm-manager

Now search the Dash for 'Simple LightDM Manager' and open it. The GUI is pretty simple and self explanatory.

Animated Background

Robert Ancell mocked up an animated 3D greeter theme for LightDM a few weeks ago, basically as a proof of concept. It lets you log in by clicking on animated Imps.

For installation, get to a Terminal and run:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lightdm-team/crowd-greeter
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install crowd-greeter

Now, for setting it as the LightDM theme, run:

gksudo gedit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

And in the file that opens up, replace 'unity-greeter' with 'crowd-greeter' in this line:


Reboot for the changes to take effect.

Related Posts:

Appearance , LightDM