Friday, July 28, 2006

Something Other than Brown

Ubuntu uses the Gnome Display Manager (GDM) as its login program. There's nothing wrong with that, except that the default Ubuntu login them is something called Human. The only thing special about Human is that it's brown. How brown? Well, I just spent a week in Western Kansas in July, and it's browner than that. It's ubiquitously and irredeemably brown. Brown, Brown, Brown. As boring as the background to this blog, as a matter of fact.

Fortunately, others have noticed this and provided information on how to fix the problem. The solution given on the quoted page gives you directions if you use the Gnome desktop. I, of course, use FVWM, so I can't just follow along with the menu as described in the link.

So the procedure is as follows:

  1. Go to to find a login screen you can live with — OK, you can probably make your own, but I don't know how to do that yet. Given that it's Friday night, I chose a Stargate SG-1 theme.
  2. Download the theme, which will be in .tar.gz format, to someplace in your file-system where it won't be disturbed. I created a directory called /home/local/share/gnomelogin to store themes.
  3. Run the gdmsetup program. Use either
    $ sudo /usr/sbin/gdmsetup
    from the command line, or add the line
    + "Login (GDM) Manager" Exec exec gksudo /usr/sbin/gdmsetup
    to some menu in your ~/.fvwm/.fvwm2rc file and click on that.
  4. When the gdmsetup window appears, you'll see a list of default themes. IF you like one of them, click the radio button. Otherwise, click the "Add" button and give the program the path to your favorite downloaded theme.
  5. Note that you can choose multiple themes which will be brought up randomly (click on the bar beside the word Themes:)
  6. You can also change the login message.
  7. Log off of FVWM (or whatever window manager you are using. The new theme should appear as your login window.

Thanks, of course, to The Linux Extremist.

P.S. There are more themes on Freshmeat.