I was wondering if it is possible to get the GNOME 3.2 GDM login theme working on Ubuntu 11.10. I installed GDM alongside LightDM, but the GDM greeter is really ugly.

enter image description here


3 Answers 3


Tista and three other dev's have done just this (see link below).

Tista has created a testing PPA to install GDM 3.2 - this is the version of the login manager which you can theme via CSS.

enter image description here

Warning - this is a testing PPA

At the time of writing this, there are only packages for Precise (12.04)

I originally tested this on a 11.10 virtual machine when a package existed - hence the screenshot:

I've since retested this on 12.04 - Important - see the notes below

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tista/gdm-testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gdm  libgdmgreeter1 libgdmsimplegreeter1 gir1.2-gdmgreeter-1.0


During the installation of GDM you will be asked which display-manager you want to run. Choose GDM and press ENTER


changing the background

To change the background, use the AU linked question below to change the background.

The Gnome-shell stripes background can be found on GitHub.


  1. Whilst there is a package for Precise (12.04), I personally haven't managed to get this to work correctly (left me at a blank screen with no login manager). Thus - it may or may not work for you - obviously it must work for the PPA developer! If you are left with a blank screen, use CTRL+ALT+F2 to log into a TTY and use this Q&A to switch back to lightDM
  2. Since this is GDM - it does not appear to work with Unity. It does work with Gnome-Shell. For Unity, a blank background is seen. You have to use CTRL+ALT+T to launch a terminal and then type unity --reset to get the unity desktop to display. I'm open to suggestions why this happens and if there is a workaround...
  3. If you logout and attempt to login again - Gnome-Shell very occasionally not start and you will be left with an empty desktop.


  1. Discussion of implementation of GDM 3.2
  2. How to set gtk-style and background in GDM3


I'm an owner of this ppa. and thanks for your experimental trials on it.

And now... umm... I've heard some issues on this release maybe both on precise/oneiric:

  • plymouth stands/stacks still on vt7 and gdm was wiped to vt8.

    • I think it might be caused my patchworks based on debian's patches. Yeah since my patch would seek "free" and "opened" vt automatically...
  • Lots of keyring after logging in, would be asked in every time.

    • I didn't have any clue about it, so sorry for that. I've tried some upstream git sources to apply newer PAM auth, but it didn't make any sense because of its target would be always fedora/redhat platform, so ubuntu/debian might be needed some more patchworks...
  • Especially on precise, "repack" of ureadahead might be needed when we had changed daemons/pre-processes before starting gdm.

    • I've experienced some ugly situations whenever I've changed system configurations to tune it, gdm could not start and we would be stayed alone in vt7 console. I had not any clue as well. :/

Finally if someone who wants to fight against this work (especially patchworks), let me know your trials/patches!! :-)


You should try this link GDM Theme. It is not for 11.10 but this could give you an idea.

  • 2
    This is not very helpful. 11.10 uses GDM for GNOME 3, while 11.04 uses GNOME 2's GDM. Besides presenting an out-of-date way to change the theme, it doesn't even really answer the question. Dec 7, 2011 at 1:31
  • ^+1. @Engels Peralta, the idea behind these Q & A sites is that the A can be found in the same place as the Q. If you link to another site without any explanation or even summary, not only may future users as well just use Google, but you also give no faith to those with the issue that your video contains anything useful. IMHO and FWIW. Jan 6, 2013 at 6:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.