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In Precise (12.04), when I login to lightdm, using the unity-greeter, there's a white circle by my name. For the standard DEs like Unity or XFCE, the circle has a representative icon (Ubuntu symbol or little mouse resp.). I have a session for Awesome window manager which was added when I installed Awesome, but it just shows a blank white circle. I'd like to know how to add an icon to it, or at least some indicator, as unity-greeter doesn't show you what session is set until you click on the circle.

I found another question about changing the session names. The answer for it said to change the names in the desktop files in /usr/share/xsessions. Unfortunately, while there is an icon field in those desktop files, they are all blank (Caveat: I no longer have Unity installed, so maybe the Unity one would not be blank. But the Xubuntu desktop file has it blank even though the icon shows in unity-greeter).

Update: Here's the png I use as a badge for Awesome. It's not great, but looks reasonably nice: []

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Interesting. I get the blank white circle against my Xfce session.Now, thanks to your Q&A, I'll organize a search for the little mouse. The blank white circle next to the Xfce Session seems to be unknown_badge.png. – user25656 Jun 1 '12 at 10:36
@vasa1 The little mouse badge is called custom_xubuntu_badge.png and is located in /usr/share/unity-greeter. If your session file is named xubuntu.desktop, then that badge will be used (as explained in the accepted answer). So you can either change the name of the session or copy the xubuntu badge but name it as custom_xfce_badge.png (assuming your session file is named xfce.desktop). – Chan-Ho Suh Sep 2 '12 at 2:13
up vote 13 down vote accepted


The badges for the Lightdm are stored in /usr/share/unity-greeter.

You can possibly add a new badge to the directory mentioned above. I guess you would want to name it as custom_awesome_badge.png or whatever is the name of the session in /usr/share/xsessions/. All the badges are of 22 x 22 pixels.

From the lightdm maintainer on the ubuntu-devel list:

  1. Take /usr/share/unity-greeter/unknown_badge.png and use it as a template (just a 22x22 white circle).
  2. Add your logo as a transparent cutout of the white circle (see other badges in that directory for examples)
  3. Ship your logo as /usr/share/unity-greeter/custom_SESSIONNAME_badge.png, where SESSIONNAME is your X session name (e.g. 'xfce' for XFCE).

Unity Greeter will automatically look there, falling back to the generic white circle icon if not found.

Set of ready-made custom badges

You can download a large set of additional badges here. To install them just copy the folder content to /usr/share/unity-greeter.

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Hi, it worked! awesome_badge.png did not work, but custom_awesome_badge.png worked, where awesome is the name of my session. I did this after noticing custom_xubuntu_badge.png, although there exist kde_badge.png and gnome_badge.png. I don't have KDE or Gnome sessions, so I can't check out if unity-greeter will recognize those. – Chan-Ho Suh Apr 13 '12 at 4:16
It would be interesting to know why the awesome_badge.png file didn't work actually... – Emanuele Sep 1 '12 at 9:18
@Emanuele I would say it is by design. See what the maintainer had to say. – jokerdino Sep 1 '12 at 9:35
@jokerdino Imagined so. Cheers! – Emanuele Sep 2 '12 at 7:26

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