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In the X Window System, an X display manager is a graphical login manager which starts a session on an X server from the same or another computer. A display manager presents the user with a login screen. A session starts when a user successfully enters a valid combination of username and password.1

Available X display managers

Package name





Gnome Display Manager


Display manager that supports both X11 and Wayland, default for KDE


LXDE display manager


Xorg's default display manager.


Desktop-independent customizable display manager


Desktop-independent graphical login manager for X11


WINGs Display Manager (using the WINGs widget-set used in Window Maker)


Automatically start an X session at system boot (without prompting password, for single user environment).


More display managers

Search on Debtags: tag:x11::display-manager AND tag:role::program

Selecting a default display manager

Whenever a package containing a display manager is installed and configured, it'll try to detect if there's another display manager currently installed. If so, it'll open a dialog asking which one you'd like to use as a default. To change this later, you can reconfigure any display manager package that you have installed, and the dialog will reappear. For instance one could use one of these example commands that use commonly used display managers:

# dpkg-reconfigure lightdm
# dpkg-reconfigure gdm3
# dpkg-reconfigure sddm

In the above command lines it is necessary to use the package name of a display manager that is already installed on the system. If none of those display managers are installed on the system, it is necessary to substitute the package name with one of an installed display manager.

CategoryBootProcess CategoryDesktopEnvironment CategoryXWindowSystem CategorySoftware

  1. Source: Wikipedia (1)