Archive for April 2nd, 2009

Changing the Xubuntu 8.10 GDM Login Splash Screen

OK, this is frippery and I admit it, but I vastly prefer my login background to theirs

My GDM background

My GDM background

The right way to change the background is to create a whole new gdm theme and then fiddle gdm to use it. Easier than that: tweak an existing theme’s XML file to point to your image.

The default Xubuntu theme for gdm is in /usr/share/gdm/themes/xubuntu, so cd there. This is a command-line thing …

The background is stored in, oddly enough, background.png, a 1680×1500 image that doesn’t mind being stretched or cropped or smushed to fit your screen.

Copy your favorite background image to that folder, perhaps renaming it on the fly:

sudo cp /path/to/my-new-background.png danger.png

I don’t know if JPG images will work, as I just saved that screen capture as a honkin’ big PNG; knock yourself out trying other formats.

Adjust the first stanza in Xubuntu.xml to point at the new background file:

<!-- background -->
−
<item type="pixmap">
<normal file="danger.png"/>
<pos y="0" x="0" width="100%" height="100%"/>
</item>

Squash the Xubuntu logo (in logo.png) so it’s not so obtrusive and move it out of the way of the background text. Modify the stanza that displays the logo file:

<!-- ubuntu logo -->
−
<item type="pixmap">
<normal file="<strong>logo.png</strong>" alpha="1.0"/>
<pos x="<strong>50</strong>%" y="<strong>70</strong>%" width="scale" height="<strong>10%</strong>" anchor="n"/>
</item>

Log out. Enjoy…

FWIW, replacing the background is far easier in KDE (3.x, at least), which has an actual GUI interface (System Settings -> Advanced -> Login Manager). But, of course, KDE 4.x is on the outs with this dual-screen box.

And don’t you love those Beware Static Damage warning stickers on the Nostromo’s scuttling control panel?

Default Xubuntu GDM background

Default Xubuntu GDM background

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