Friday, February 12, 2010

Modify the login screen in Ubuntu 9.10

In Ubuntu, it's easy to customize the way your desktop looks. The menu is available at System>Preferences>Appearance. Alternatively, you could change the way your desktop looks by running this command:
$ gnome-control-center
This opens a graphical configuration tool for changing a whole bunch of settings. You can click on the Appearance button to change the desktop theme and other appearance settings.

If you want to change the way the login screen looks, you're going to have to do a little bit more work. First, you're going to have to log out. Next, you need to login through a text console. Do this by pressing:
ctrl+alt+F1
Login with your regular username and passphrase. Once you're logged in, run these two commands:
$ export DISPLAY=:0.0
$ sudo -u gdm gnome-control-center
You will see some errors, but that is alright. The command will also hang, so don't expect to see a prompt again. Instead, switch back to the graphical login screen by pressing:
ctrl+alt+F7
Instead of seeing the login screen, what you'll see is a graphical configuration tool. This tool looks the same as the one you'd see if you ran the command at the beginning of this post. Anyway, by clicking on the Appearance button, any changes you make will be reflected upon the login screen instead of the desktop. You can use this to change the wallpaper for the login screen. Another useful tweak could by to adjust the screen resolution. You can do this by clicking the Display button. Whenever you finish making your changes just click the X in the top right corner of the window. Now you should see the graphical login screen with your changes.

Keep in mind that you are still logged in to the text console. Switch back to it by pressing:
ctrl+alt+F1
And type this to logout:
$ exit
Press this to switch back to your graphical login screen again:
ctrl+alt+F7

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