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display manager

Q. How do I change default desktop / display manager under CentOS or Fedora Linux? I'd like to change default GNOME to KDE as desktop manager for all users.

A. There is a configuration file called /etc/sysconfig/desktop. This file defines default display manager and desktop name.

Display manager can be any one of the following:
[a] gnome (gdm)
[b] kde (kdm)
[c] xdm (xdm)

Desktop can be any one of the following
[a] KDE
[b] GNOME
[c] XFCE

Change Desktop from Gnome to Kde

Open /etc/sysconfig/desktop file:
# vi /etc/sysconfig/desktop
Set DESKTOP variable to kde:
DESKTOP="KDE"
DISPLAYMANAGER="KDE"

Save and close the file.

Now kde will be used for all users as desktop system. You can also accomplish this on a per-user basis by using the desktop switcher application from the extra preferences menu, or just type the command:
$ switchdesk kde

See also:

=> Quick way to switch from KDE to GNOME or viceversa

Ubuntu Linux stop / disable GNOME GUI ~ X.org

Q. I don’t need GUI as I’m developing CLI based applications. By default Ubuntu Loads Gnome GUI. How do I disable X.org / Gnome under Linux so that I get text only login?

A. You can use GUI tools or command line tools to disable GDM (Gnome Display Manager) service (/etc/init.d/gdm).

Disable GDM using GUI tools

The Services Administration Tool allows you to specify which services will be started during the system boot process. You can type the command:
services-admin &

Or just click on System > Administration > Services

Now you will be prompted for the administrator password, this is necessary because the changes done with this tool will affect the whole system. After entering the administrator password, the following window is displayed:

Ubuntu Linux stop / disable GNOME GUI (X.org)

Make sure you remove GDM (Gnome login manager) by disabling the the checkbox and close the window.

Enable GDM using Command Line (CLI) tools

Ubuntu comes with rcconf and update-rc.d command. rcconf allows you to control which services are started when the system boots up or reboots. It displays a menu of all the services which could be started at boot. The ones that are configured to do so are marked and you can toggle individual services on and off.

Install rcconf

Use apt-get command:
sudo apt-get install rcconf
Now start rcconf:
sudo rcconf
Again you will be prompted for the administrator password, this is necessary because the changes done with this tool will affect the whole system. After entering the administrator password, the following text based window is displayed on screen:
Ubuntu / Debian Runlevel configuration tool

Next enable GDM service by pressing space bar (check the checkbox) > Click OK to save the changes.

update-rc.d command

This is 3rd and old method. You can enable or disable any service using update-rc.d command.

Task: Disable X.org GUI

Just enter command:
sudo update-rc.d -f gdm remove

Task: Enable X.org GUI

Just enter command:
sudo update-rc.d -f gdm defaults

You can always start GUI from a shell prompt by typing startx command:
startx &

Please note that you can use above tools to enable or disable any services under Debian / Ubuntu Linux.

See also: