Ubuntu – How to replace LightDM with MDM


Linux Mint Cinnamon 1.4 released with "MDM display manager". It is based on the code of GDM2.20. It provides:

  • Graphical configuration tools
  • Themeability
  • Remote, automatic and timed login
  • Event scripting
  • Language selection

And it comes with more features than any other Display Manager currently available.

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So how can I use MDM instead of LightDM on Ubuntu?

Best Answer

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If you like the GDM themeability - MDM is great!

MDM is currently part of the Linux Mint repository - after contacting the Andrew of WebUpd8.org he has also packaged this in his PPA. Great going Andrew!

The following has been tested on 12.04 Ubuntu in a VM. It also has been tested independently on 12.04 Xubuntu.

Until then (and assuming you understand the risks of using third party PPAs etc)

from the linux mint repo

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ maya main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mint.list' 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linuxmint-keyring 
sudo apt-get update

If you see the error below - dont worry, just type y:

W: GPG error: packages.linuxmint.com maya Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 3EE67F3D0FF405B2" and "WARNING: The following packages cannot be authenticated!
Install these packages without verification [y/N]?

from the webupd8 PPA

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update

Then install MDM:

sudo apt-get install mdm mint-mdm-themes

During the package installation you will be asked to select between mdm and lightdm. Using your cursor keys to select mdm and tab to OK and press ENTER to select.

The following error can be ignored:

The home directory `/var/lib/mdm' already exists. Not copying from `/etc/skel'.
adduser: Warning: The home directory `/var/lib/mdm' does not belong to the user you are currently creating.


Configure your MDM themes using:

gksudo mdmsetup

I would strongly recommend that after you have install mdm you immediately disable the PPA via your Software Sources because you may inadvertantly install other mint packages when you do a future update.

how to theme

Download a GDM theme file (for example from this website)

You can then use gksudo mdmsetup to add the .tar.gz archive file.

As an aside, run mdmphotosetup to change your face - in my example theme above I chose one of the stock images - the blue butterfly.

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