Monday, February 14, 2011

Change GDM background image in squeeze

Here is the second post on removing the SpaceFun theme from Debian Squeeze. This time it's the GDM login screen. GDM3 has no easy GUI to change the background image, so a bit of editing is again required. (If only there were an easy way to change the GDM theme, then Debians adoption of a whimsical theme wouldn't be such an issue!)
I found the answer on the Debian Forum.
It boils down to this: edit the file /etc/gdm3/greeter.gconf-defaults, uncomment the line # Use a specific background, and change the file name to the name of the file you want to use. (Drop an .svg image in /usr/share/images/desktop-base.)
Update: other image formats work too, for example .png.

Update 2: If the image file is not displayed (resulting in the GDM screen being a rather unpleasant shade of green), check the file permissions: root must have access (read only).


  1. Now how do we add music to the GDM login?

  2. Doesn't seem to be possible.

    I like Debian with music!

  3. I really dislkle the gdm3 situation with debian 6.0. I upgraded yesterday from 5.0 and now the login screen looks retarded. This face login crap looks so ugly, I am ashamed when I login in front of people. Why the hell isn't there a gdm3conf to change it? Upgrades that remove features are not upgrades.

    It also defaults to UK, which means the keyboard doesn't work at all. You have to manually select it.

    And now all consoles, xterms and virtuals, beep loudly. It's not 1983, nobody needs that shitty, loud beeping sound. Debian 5.0 didn't do stupid shit like that. In public I do not open the commend line. I did and hit backspace too many times at a coffee shop and everyone turned around. I heard some asshole say "what is he entering data in lotus1-2-3?"

  4. I think they re-wrote GDM to improve performance but didn't have time to polish it to the same level as the previous version.
    I had the same issue with the annoying system beep after an Ubuntu update (8.10 to 9.04, I think), but it was pretty easy to turn off in the end- I think Ubuntu was still using Alsa then. There's a slider for the system beep in Volume Control which can be muted. The same thing should apply to Debian, although I haven't had the same problem with Squeeze.

  5. That really sucks for end users though. Releasing half-finished software gives a bad feeling to people using it.

  6. i don't have a line # Use a specific background

    what it looks like?

  7. >what it looks like?

    Something like this:

    # Use a specific background
    /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename /usr/share/images/desktop-base/gdm3.jpg

  8. Thanks for that. It was like 'my little desktop'.