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LightDM is a cross-desktop Display Manager. It was built as a relatively light-weight and highly customizable alternative to GDM. It's developed at Canonical by Robert Ancell and all contributors are required to assign the their copyright to Canonical through a Contributor License Agreement that allows proprietarization.

LightDM was introduced in Wheezy, it's stable enough for use also in Jessie and Sid.

To install lightdm in Wheezy, run as root

aptitude install lightdm


LightDM configuration file is found at /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf. Making a backup of the original configuration file is recommended.

To change the current default Display Manager, run

dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

If you're new to LightDM, it's recommended to have GDM, slim or another Display Manager installed as a backup.

Enable autologin

Look up these lines in lightdm configuration file, uncomment them and customize to your preference.


Change the greeter's background

Debian's LightDM GTK greeter is configured in /etc/lightdm/lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf. There, we find that the background image points to /usr/share/images/desktop-base/desktop-background, which is a symlink managed by update-alternatives.

So, to change the greeter's background, the best way is to find some images that you like from /usr/share/images/desktop-base/, then use update-alternatives to change the desktop-background group:

update-alternatives --config desktop-background

See also