Since Ubuntu 9.10, installing new login screen themes or changing the login window appearances is not as easy as before. There’s no powerful GDM login manager do change login appearances as you like.

SLiM is a Desktop-independent graphical login manager for X11, it is light and simple, although completely configurable through themes and an option file; is suitable for machines on which remote login functionalities are not needed. It can instead GDM to customize your own login screen appearances(test in Ubuntu 10.10, and it works in 10.04 &11.04 in theory).


  • PNG and XFT support for alpha transparency and antialiased fonts
  • External themes support
  • Configurable runtime options: X server, login / shutdown / reboot commands
  • Single (GDM-like) or double (XDM-like) input control
  • Can load predefined user at startup
  • Configurable welcome / shutdown messages
  • Random theme selection


Run the command in Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal:

sudo apt-get install slim

while installation, it asks for choosing a login manager between GDM and SLiM, just choose SLiM. If you change your mind and want to change the default login manager back to GDM, run:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm

Customize a login theme

You can download a SLiM login theme from
Or create a theme(read

  • a background image (background.png or background.jpg)
  • a panel image (panel.png or panel.jpg)
  • input box(es) and messages and their placement and properties (slim.theme)

Now, let’s change the login theme:

1.) Put the downloaded/created theme under /usr/share/slim/themes
2.) Edit /etc/slim.conf

# current theme, use comma separated list to specify a set to
# randomly choose from
current_theme debian-moreblue-orbit

change the character in red to your theme. To get random theme, replace the red part with couple themes separated with “,”(without quotes).

Preview the theme:

slim -p /usr/share/slim/themes/NAME