Wed, 18 Nov 2009
The GDM Fiasco
A short trip to the history: for GNOME 2.22 (two years ago, in the Fedora 9 timeframe) someone decided that it would be nice to completely rewrite the GNOME display manager. So far so good, but they have decided to include this partially rewritten piece of crap without many important features (a display manager without XDMCP, WTF?) to the official GNOME and thus Fedora releases.
Fast forward to the present time: basically, for two years, GDM has not been usable for anything beyond a single-user desktop (I use xdm on my home dual-seat desktop, and we have replaced Fedora altogether in some of our computer labs partly because of GDM).
- It did not handle XDMCP (at least this one got fixed).
- There is still no way of setting the X server command line, making GDM unusable in multiseat configurations.
- It cannot be configured as XDMCP-only daemon without starting the local X server.
- The login window cannot be configured, and the way it works it is usable on a personal desktop, but definitely not in a computer lab with ~2200 accounts and users logging in on random hosts.
Apparently, somebody has started to work on solving at least some of the problems after all. But guess what? Instead of backing off quickly (say, before the Fedora 10 has been released), Fedora maintainers has ignored the problem despite many polite and even some profane requests to provide an upgrade to the latest working version (i.e. the Fedora 8 one). And now the answer is "wait for Fedora 13 (another half a year), we are probably going to fix it there". Without any hint of being sorry for forcing an utterly broken package to the users for two years and counting.
4 replies for this story:
Vasek Stodulka wrote:
Yes, the "brand new" gdm is a piece of crap. But it looks so ughly, that it is not a big deal to switch to good old xdm. Personally I like theese old apps, for example after all the years I am still ising xterm.
Yenya wrote: xdm
Well, xdm has problems on its own - for example, it only recently get a decent integration with ConsoleKit and SElinux. As for the terminal, I like gnome-terminal better. It uses a single process for all windows, can use new client-side fonts (not that I use any), and the most important feature is that I can open a new window just by right-clicking to any other terminal window, which speeds up my work).
Matěj Cepl wrote: Hint: it's Fedora
Hi, just my completely personal reply (I haven't consulted it with my colleagues working on gdm). Isn't this Fedora we are talking about? What in the world stops you from packaging gdm 2.20 and supply it to the Fedora repos? During those two years there was enough rambling on this bug (and in many other places), that I guess making a package (or reviving the old one), should be less work. And yes, we should do better than that. Matěj
Yenya wrote: Re: Matěj Cepl
Well, I don't want to be a gdm maintainer - lack of time beign definitely a reason, but also the lack of will to integrate the whatever *Kit of the day the desktop architects come up with.