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Configuring gdm-2.30 for Autologin using serial console

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Once you’ve logged into a display manager, it’s usually easy to find the relevant applet or GUI tool to configure an automatic login procedure. This article discusses how to configure GDM for autologin when using a serial console (that is, while not in the graphical environment).

GDM is the GNOME Display Manager. Of particular value to configuring GDM is the GNOME Display Manager Reference Manual.

The correct way to configure GDM for an automatic login is to create/modify a /etc/gdm/custom.conf file. As detailed in reference manual section 5.4 (Daemon Configuration): The file /etc/gdm/custom.conf supports the “[daemon]”, “[security]”, and “[xdmcp]” group sections. If you are creating the file entirely new, this is what it needs to contain (xxxxxxx is the account to log into):


After you modify/create this file, a restart of GDM should result in an automatic login of the specified account. A system-wide reboot will restart GDM, or you could use “/etc/init.d/gdm restart” or maybe even “restart gdm”, depending on how your system is configured.

A less-correct way to set those daemon configuration variables is to directly modify the /etc/gdm/gdm.schemas file. This file outlines an XML schema for the configuration of GDM. Search for the relevant variable names (AutomaticLoginEnable and AutomaticLogin) and change the values to those desired. Changes to this file will not survive an upgrade of the gdm package.

Written by sturnfie

June 24th, 2011 at 11:44 am

Posted in embedded,gnome,linux