Other Display Manager

What is your prefered display manager?

  • xdm - X.Org display manager

    Votes: 13 22.8%
  • slim - SLiM desktop independent graphical login manager

    Votes: 6 10.5%
  • lighdm - Lightdm lightweight cross-desktop display manager

    Votes: 14 24.6%
  • sddm - QML based X11 and Wayland display manager

    Votes: 8 14.0%
  • gdm - GNOME 2.0 version of the xdm display manager

    Votes: 2 3.5%
  • pcdm - QT5 based display manager

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • wdm - WINGs display manager

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • ly - TUI ncurses-like display manager

    Votes: 3 5.3%
  • login as text and use startx

    Votes: 20 35.1%

  • Total voters
    57
I have to agree with eternal_noob on this one. On my laptops I use slim but on my "fixed desktop workstations" I just login via console and then hit startx. I never really understood which problems a display/login manager solves.
But then again, I don't share my machines with anyone so maybe there are some goodies on multi-user machines. But then once again, I doubt that it would do anything different from available commands.

Would love to hear some input from other community members as to why using a display/login manager is useful.
 
For me it has to be startx. I think display managers have their uses though (if only to look pretty). I think most of the current ones are a little lacking... GDM2 was actually really nice, it had things like accessibility software to help you get in to the desktop if you had trouble seeing.
 
I believe display managers are strictly aesthetic, but that's my opinion. I am not 100% certain but I believe there are security implications of using a display manager as well, but I am not an operating system security expert. Don't display managers run as root while startx runs org as the end user?
 
I believe display managers are strictly aesthetic, but that's my opinion. I am not 100% certain but I believe there are security implications of using a display manager as well, but I am not an operating system security expert. Don't display managers run as root while startx runs org as the end user?
I never even knew about pcdm, wdm or ly, for that matter until just now.

Sevendogsbsd : There's noise about making sddm Wayland-compatible so that it doesn't have to start as root. But there are issues to be ironed out.
 
I never even knew about pcdm, wdm or ly, for that matter until just now.

Amazing what you can find in the ports. Maybe they should be taken out of the poll.

And nothing yet for gdm with its related white screen of death.
 

Alexander88207

Enthusiast
If you are a daily desktop user then this can make sense. It also makes it easy to switch fast between desktop sessions.

For a workstation where I need a desktop spontaneously a quick startx is enough.
 
Is the issue that display managers are started before the user is signed in?
To the best of my understanding, that's not an issue, that's the standard and expected behavior for DMs (to start before the user is signed in). A user would use a DM to actually sign in... that's what a DM is for in the first place.
 
To the best of my understanding, that's not an issue, that's the standard and expected behavior for DMs (to start before the user is signed in). A user would use a DM to actually sign in... that's what a DM is for in the first place.
Indeed that is what I mean. When you run startx a user is already signed in to run the command. When you start a display manager it starts before a user has signed in, that is the point of it. So is this why it is usually started as root?
 
Indeed that is what I mean. When you run startx a user is already signed in to run the command. When you start a display manager it starts before a user has signed in, that is the point of it. So is this why it is usually started as root?
I think so... but instead of signing in as a 'temporary' user, the OS simply launches a process with less privileges than root. For example, MySQL has a special 'mysql' user in /etc/passwd. That is a 'system account', so to speak, it does not need to sign in. This is how the MySQL server gets launched at boot, before anyone has a chance to sign in. Same logic should apply to Xorg... but is not really programmed in. This is why OpenBSD did what it did... this is why Wayland is being pushed as an alternative.
 
Login as text and then automatically startx by .(z)shrc.
+1 for this.

A colleague of mine does similar but goes a step further. He also has his command line automatically log in by tweaking /etc/gettytab and /etc/ttys.

This in turn automatically exec's startx from his profile script.

Finally his .xinitrc starts WM and xlock. He has basically turned multi-user BSD into a single-user machine ;)
 
+1 for this.

A colleague of mine does similar but goes a step further. He also has his command line automatically log in by tweaking /etc/gettytab and /etc/ttys.

This in turn automatically exec's startx from his profile script.

Finally his .xinitrc starts WM and xlock. He has basically turned multi-user BSD into a single-user machine ;)
On my maine workstation I have the above startx, plus Firefox and urxvt running when the WM starts. On the "media player" attached to the TV which also runs FreeBSD, the login is via /etc/gettytab (/etc/ttys). When the WM starts kodi is automatically loaded, after that ssh+vnc for remote control.

LE: The "media player" is turned on by Wake On Lan via ethernet cable, the wifi card is not supported by FreeBSD.
 
I don't actually use startx but a varient.
I cheat and use a symbolic link for a single letter desktop.
ln -s /usr/local/bin/startxfce4 /usr/local/bin/x
Now I am not sure that it is the best choice because X is also a command.
It works for me.
 
Display managers are convenient for getting right to the desktop after bootup. It may also be more secure for the window environment by not leaving a root terminal open and unused except for the window environment.

I would use a tui for a display manager, maybe on a secondary pc or laptop, or for testing. If I try it out, I would add it to my vote.

x11/ly
 
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Display managers are convenient for getting right to the desktop after bootup. It may also be more secure for the window environment.
Can you elaborate how it might be more secure for the window environment?
As I understand it, if a user is able to log in via a login/display manager, they are also able to login via a regular text console. So whether or not there is a login/display manager would not really affect the abilities of a user, right?

Also, why on earth are these called "display manager"? As I understand them, they are more of a login manager.
 
I read it a long time ago. It may have been in a book.

It has to do with the login process. A virtual terminal is logged into, and stays on to run the environment, while not otherwise being used.

A login manager manages the window environment better.

Aside from that, when I used to use FreeBSD, it was inconvenient using startx, because I was unable to set up xdm then.

When I default to a window environment, using a login manager is direct, easier and straight forward.

For those who default to the terminal, startx makes more sense.
 
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