GUIDE: Getting lightdm / unity-greeter working with Maya

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GUIDE: Getting lightdm / unity-greeter working with Maya

Postby amc6010 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:14 am

I've got several Linux Mint 13 installations, but one of the first things I find myself doing is wanting to move from mdm to lightdm - specifically, Ubuntu's unity greeter. I think it looks quite nice and seems user friendly (especially for the younger users of the machines!)

After reading many different forum posts (including ones on these forums), I've decided to write this guide to quickly get a unity-greeter welcome screen running on Mint (regardless of whether you're using the MATE or Cinnamon install), theme it so it seems "mintier" rather than "ubuntish", and making sure that the switch user functionality works on both DE's.

Screenshots in the second post.

Step 1: Install lightdm and unity-greeter.

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sudo apt-get install lightdm unity-greeter

When it asks you what session manager you want to use, select lightdm.

Step 2: Modify the conf file to use unity-greeter.
Normally, this step is done for you, but let's just make sure it's all configured correctly. So we open the configuration file:

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sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

If you want Cinnamon as your default DE, it should look like this - this seems to be setup correctly if you use the Cinnamon edition of Mint 13.

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If you want MATE, then your file should be modified to look like this:

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Step 3: Download custom images.
Here, we download theme icons for Cinnamon and MATE, and replace the Ubuntu logo with one for Linux Mint. Start up a terminal session as root:

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sudo -i

And then paste the following instructions in:

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cd /tmp/
mkdir greeter_images
cd greeter_images
wget "" -O custom_cinnamon_badge.png
wget "" -O custom_mate_badge.png
wget "" -O logo.png
chmod 644 *
chown root *
chgrp root *
sudo cp *.png /usr/share/unity-greeter/
cd ..
rm -rf /tmp/greeter_images

Step 4: Theme unity-greeter to look like Linux Mint
Now let's use Mint icons and the default wallpaper, as well as the logo we've just downloaded. Log in as the lightdm user:

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sudo xhost +SI:localuser:lightdm
sudo su lightdm -s /bin/bash

And then theme it - we use the default wallpaper, turn off the grid, use Mint themes for windows and icons, and set the default background colour to a similar colour to the wallpaper. If we don't do this, then you might see a flash of purple when the greeter first loads up before the wallpaper then shows.

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gsettings set com.canonical.unity-greeter background /usr/share/backgrounds/linuxmint-maya/gelsan_green.png
gsettings set com.canonical.unity-greeter background-color '#CBCBCB'
gsettings set com.canonical.unity-greeter draw-grid false
gsettings set com.canonical.unity-greeter icon-theme-name Mint-X
gsettings set com.canonical.unity-greeter theme-name Mint-Z

Step 5: Get switch user functionality working
Depending on what version of Mint you're using, and what DE's you intend to use, and maybe even what order you install the DE's and the greeter, some of this will be configured automatically. But I've found that you sometimes need to intervene manually to get the "switch user" button to work (or even to appear in the first place).

To make sure, log in as root:

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sudo -i

So, to fix switch user functionality for Cinnamon (ignore "file does not exist" errors on the second step):

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cd /usr/bin
mv gdmflexiserver gdmflexiserver.real
ln -s /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm/gdmflexiserver gdmflexiserver

And for MATE (again, ignore "file does not exist" errors):

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cd /usr/bin
mv mdmflexiserver mdmflexiserver.real
ln -s /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm/gdmflexiserver mdmflexiserver

And that's it. Of course, I didn't do all this by myself, and so thanks to:
* bigj231 for the Cinnamon and Mint logos
* Rowen on the MATE forums for the MATE icon
* And those who contributed to other forum posts.
Linux Mint logo
logo.png (8.22 KiB) Viewed 1026 times
MATE Badge
custom_mate_badge.png (841 Bytes) Viewed 1026 times
Cinnamon badge
custom_cinnamon_badge.png (1.08 KiB) Viewed 1026 times

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Re: GUIDE: Getting lightdm / unity-greeter working with Maya

Postby amc6010 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:38 am

And as mentioned, here are some screenshots following the instructions I've given:
Login screen
greeter1.png (282.91 KiB) Viewed 1021 times

And using the menu:
Login screen with menu
greeter2.png (286.15 KiB) Viewed 1021 times

And after selecting shutdown:
Shutting down from login screen
greeter3.png (255.69 KiB) Viewed 1021 times

It's not quite as perfect as I'd like:
* The machine name in the top left corner isn't so visible (though with other wallpapers, that's not so much of a problem).
* You can improve that using a different theme rather than Mint-Z; the High Contrast themes help, but then it makes it more difficult to see when you select items (it's black-on-black)
* Alternatively, you could use Adwaita, but selecting menu items show up in blue, rather than keeping with the green theme.
* The shutdown prompt looks quite ugly - not sure what to do about that.

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