Is it possible combine the lock & login screens, or customize the lock screen? (KDM)

Since I’m moving in from Windows 7, one of the differences I found in openSUSE is the login screen vs. the lock screen. In Windows, you get a single window for managing sessions. You login from the user list when you startup your computer, but locking your session will also bring you to the same screen… allowing you to either unlock your session or start a new one from the same page.

While in OpenSuse it’s slightly similar, I miss being able to use the same window for both the login screen and lock screen. The login screen can be customized and themed in Yast, while the lock screen is a little window on a black background which only appears for a few seconds when you move the mouse. To start a new session, you have to click a button in this window which then takes you to the user list, a separate area.

What was nice about both being the same in Win is that by using Tuneup Utilities, I could assign a nice background image to the login screen, which would be visible while my computer was locked (until the monitor powered itself off). The lock window didn’t look so dull either, and I would also see my user’s avatar and stuff. In OpenSuse, a locked session is just black and dull, which feels pretty meh. I’d really like to change that.

Is there any way to combine the Lock screen and the Login screen? If not, can the lock screen be customized and themed at least? Merging them would feel a lot better to me, but it doesn’t seem possible from what I’m seeing. KDM is the login manager, but is the lock screen part of KDM as well?

I doubt there is a way except to log off rather then let it go to lock. We here can do little about it you need to subscribe to a KDE mailing list and ask there since they are the guys that designed KDE.

I might ask on the KDE forums as well. I only later noticed this is a KDM thing and edited my post, since I didn’t know the login system was related to KDE.

KDM is the KDE version of the Display Manager, but it is not too tightly bound with KDE, except may be for look and feel. You can easily use another Display Manager (which is logical, as Linux is a multi-user system and every user may have her/his own choice of Desktop Environment, but you can only have one Display Manager of course).

The Lock screen feature is purely a feature of the Desktop Environment (in your case thus KDE as long as you use KDE). But there is no direct link at all with the Display Manager. They do completely different things even if it may look to you as very related.

No, it isn’t. The locking is a separate application.

For my home system, I just turn off screen locking.

For my work system, I logout if I will be away from the system for an extended time.

Ah, so the desktop environment (gnome or KDE) takes care of the locking. It certainly can’t be combined with the login screen then. I’ll ask the KDE people in that case, though if someone knows how to customize the KDE lock screen feel free to post about it here as well.

Yes, loging in is a system task. Locking a session is a desktop task.

You stressed several times that you are the one and only that uses the system. Try to get rid of that prejudice. You choose for a multi-user system. And thus it has all funtionality of a multi-user system. When you try to ignore that you will not understand a lot of things. Allways try to think if a certain fubctionality is a system thing (like disk partitioning, system backups, user/group management, services to be run), or a personal thing that depends on user wishes (like which desktop to use, background color, locking after x mins or not, etc). That will give you a good start to look for places where to configure (like YaST for system things and KDE System settings for user things).

That’s the main thing.

An thing though you could do, is combine the screensaver and the locking. That would make things visually different. You’ll see hte screensaver, once you hit a key, the unlocking dialog will appear.

@ hcvv: IIRC both Windows and all Linux distros support multiple users, and are mult-user platforms. I like that and have no issue with it… it’s just that in my case no one else uses my computer, so it makes sense to set it up with only one user apart from root. From what I know about users, it mostly means using different directories to store data and preferences for everyone.

@ Knurpht: I never used screensavers in Windows, but I might in this case if they work as expected. Is there any way to make them active only on the lock screen though, and not when the desktop opens? If possible, display the screensaver automatically while the lock screen is active instead of blackness. I’m used to screensavers in Windows which activate automatically after a certain amount of time, so I’m not sure if here they can be made to work with the lock screen only.

[EDIT] Just tried a screensaver out. They do work exactly as intended lol! They automatically become active when I lock the session, and them starting up automatically can be disabled. This is even better than being taken to the login screen, so I can consider the problem solved (also since it’s been clarified you can’t combine the login screen and the session locker).

Well Windows was never designed as multi-user and things were just bolted on over the years. It is one of the reasons the Windows is not intrinsically secure.

Am 25.09.2012 06:36, schrieb gogalthorp:
> Well Windows was never designed as multi-user and things were just
> bolted on over the years. It is one of the reasons the Windows is not
> intrinsically secure.
That is simply not true in that generality, you use a “pars pro toto”
when you speak about windows. Long ago there was a consumer level
windows (Win 3.x, Win 95/98/ME) and a enterprise Windows (Win NT and its
descendants), the NT system was designed completely independent from the
rest from its very beginning as a multi user system from ground of it
did not inherit anything from the old DOS based world at all (except a
compatibility subsystem).
Modern Windows (beginning with Win XP the distinction disappereared
between the NT and the non NT based systems) are based on the NT kernel
not on the other technologies MS used for the previous consumer versions.
Btw Windows NT is even older than Linux (but newer than UNIX).
The bad practices of some windows user to have one user with full
administrator rights for running daily work may have been something
carried over from DOS times, but I have not seen that kind of working
then I had to start using Win NT 3.5 (and doing programing on it) in
1995 in my job, all machines where configured to have users with
restricted rights for daily work just as one would expect it in any
thoughtful administrated company.
What home users do is a different story.

PC: oS 12.2 x86_64 | i7-2600@3.40GHz | 16GB | KDE 4.8.4 | GeForce GT 420
ThinkPad E320: oS 12.2 x86_64 | i3@2.30GHz | 8GB | KDE 4.9.1 | HD 3000
eCAFE 800: oS 12.2 i586 | AMD Geode LX 800@500MHz | 512MB | KDE 3.5.10

From what I know about users, it mostly means using different directories to store data and preferences for everyone.

You forget the most important thing: protection. Things like having a blue vs a green background are peanuts against your co-worker reading and changing your documents, etc.

And have a look at the file /etc/passwd. Every line there is a user defined on your system. You will see many more then just root and your own end-user definition.
Maybe you will even learn the advantages of a multi-user system after some time. It can be e.g. very clever to create a different user for the secretary of the local Basketball club if you are one. It is the easiest way to make a strong boundary between your own things and the bussiness of the club.

That’s what I meant with “different directories to store data”, sorry for the poor expressing. Each user is given a /home/username/ directory which only they can access (possibly root can access them all). Apart from different preferences, that’s also a very important thing and what I imagine makes the multi-user part great.

I remember how until Windows NT existed, user names were pretty much a joke. In Windows 95 / 98 / ME they were actually optional, and only used if you wanted to store different desktop preferences or something. If you didn’t know the password you could click Cancel and log in either way, full access to everything. At least since Windows XP, when setting a password for user names you are asked if you want to make your folders private from other users, and if you do they can’t access it. But if those users are administrators, they can probably hack that by changing folder ownership, so it’s still not as secure as Linux.

How exactly is it less secure? You mean that under Linux root suddenly cannot access files of other users?

Normally root can access anything. But other users aren’t root, and although they can preform any task apart from system changes they can’t poke into the home directory of someone else. In Windows, users are divided between “Limited Users” and “Administrators” (there are other groups but they’re only accessible from Administrative Tools). Administrator means the user is like what root means in Linux. So the difference is that here it’s less common for any user to be a full administrator (unless someone makes users root which is considered bad practice) whereas in Windows the first user created for that machine is automatically an admin / root.