A display manager (DM), sometimes known as login manager, presents the user with a graphical login screen to start a GUI session, either X or Wayland.
A display manager is not mandatory. X or Wayland can be started from a shell in a VT, but a DM can provide extra or useful functionality.
For how to run X without a DM, see X without Display Manager.
Some display managers are listed below.
Some Wayland DMs below are found in the overlay wayland-desktop, but not yet merged to the official Portage tree.
|GNOME/gdm||gnome-base/gdm||X / Wayland||Often used with GNOME.|
|Wayland||Frontends for greetd. TUIGreetd runs in console.|
|LightDM||x11-misc/lightdm||X||Lightweight, and customizable via greeters.|
|LXDM||lxde-base/lxdm||X||LXDE Display Manager.|
|SDDM||x11-misc/sddm||X / Wayland||Modern, fast DM aiming to be simple and beautiful. Highly customizable, eye candy display manager from KDE.|
|SLiM||x11-misc/slim||X||Requires only a few dependencies.|
|WDM||x11-misc/wdm||X||Modification of XDM.|
Before setting up and using a display manager, be sure that the chosen GUI environment, startx or Wayland, works without problems. If something does not work refer to the troubleshooting guides, such as Xorg/Guide.
In all major Linux operating systems, display managers are started automatically on boot. In order for this to happen automatically, a script must be added to the init system's appropriate runlevel. Examples for OpenRC and systemd are provided below.
Under most circumstances, the OpenRC init system (Gentoo's default init system) will be used to start the display manager. The following examples will set SDDM as the display manager, adjust as necessary for other display managers.
Historically, the xdm init script handled the starting of the display manager, which has now been deprecated in favor of the display-manager init script from gui-libs/display-manager-init, jump to next section for a system still using xdm.
If gui-libs/display-manager-init is not present, emerge it with:
emerge --ask gui-libs/display-manager-init
The configuration file should be modified to use SDDM:
To start the chosen display manager on boot, add the display-manager to the system's default runlevel:
rc-update add display-manager default
To start the display-manager immediately, run:
rc-service display-manager start
Historical use of the deprecated xdm init script
To start the chosen display manager on boot, add the xdm to the system's default runlevel:
rc-update add xdm default
To start SDDM immediately, run:
rc-service xdm start
If using systemd as the init system, first locate the chosen <display-manager>.service file.
To start SDDM on boot, enable the service:
systemctl enable sddm.service
To start SDDM immediately, run:
systemctl start sddm.service
- Desktop environment — provides a list of desktop environments available in Gentoo.
- Login — logging in to a shell, and setting up the default environment.
- Window manager — manages the creation, manipulation, and destruction of on-screen windows and window decorations in Xorg.
- Xorg/Guide — explains what Xorg is, how to install it, and the various configuration options.
- X without Display Manager — describes how to start an X11 session without a display manager