Ahhh, LightDM – it’s sleek, light and sexy.

Since it was chosen to be the default display manager (‘login screen’ to you and I) for 11.10 users had expected seriously kick-ass looking login screen, and October’s release of Ubuntu 11.10 didn’t disappointed by any means.

The login screen in Oneiric is by far one of the nicest looking login screen of Ubuntu to date.

But, as always, there is always space for improvement; and as cool as LightDM looks in Oneiric, it still sports a few rough edges:

  • The top panel is transparent, but clicking on the indicator on it invokes ‘100% opaque standard GTK theme’, breaking the consistency of LightDM’s slick look
Erm, nice
  • LightDM doesn’t follow the overall chameleonic look and feel of Ubuntu
  • The ‘Shutdown’ dialog prompt looks like an un-themed Windows 95 dialog box: –

LightDM dialog fail

So what should we expect to see changed in the LightDM theme for Ubuntu 12.04?

Per user wallpaper change

In the current Unity Greeter LightDM uses the Default Ubuntu wallpaper as background image (although you can change that if you wish).

In 11.10 LightDM will inherit the user wallpaper for the user.

If there are multiple users the login screen will change it’s background for each user. This is shown clearly shown in the video below: –

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seQ6C-yEpCw width=500]

New look menus that blend with the overall transparency feel of Unity Greeter.

Tell you what – the GTK themed that appear after clicking on any of the indicator of the panel doesn’t exactly make LightDM pretty, so chances are they’ll get a lifelong (or deathlong) trip to Asphodel Meadows and be replaced by handsome looking menus like this:

These kind of menus aren’t a walk in the park to achieve with plain GTK theming, so the use of WebKit technology has been discussed as a solution.

Chameleonic LightDM theming was also brought up during the UDS session. (Chameleon themeing is when various UI elements take the colour of the wallpaper.)

In Unity Greeter’s case that would be LightDM boxes and menus. That hasn’t exactly been put on the devs radar, but hey fingers crossed it comes to be.

Those of you who are eager to read more can read the following document containing Unity Greeter mockups and ideas: docs.google.com/document/d/1MT5Qrouudu9EftJdbtuz-Z1l26bDUDlcpPD52YsABYM/edit?hl=en_GB&pli=1

So, to sum things up: the Unity Greeter in 12.04 will be another piece of the puzzle that is to form the most perfect Ubuntu release to date!
video via bugs.launchpad.net/unity-greeter/+bug/844081
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