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I want use xdm to login to my machine and start my session. My password contains an umlaut. I'd rather not change the password as it is quite long and complex and I just memorized it.

Login works fine in xdm if there is no umlaut in password. Login works fine if I login to shell directly with umlaut in password (I start my X Session from there currently).

So my assumption was that login in xdm should work fine with umlaut as well.

My LANG parameter is de_DE.UTF-8. I can become root on the machine.

If I type the Password in the username field of xdm it looks perfectly valid and displays the umlaut correctly. So, maybe its a ISO-8859-15 vs. UTF-8 problem, but I have no idea how to probe that.

share|improve this question

I went through HOWTO file in a shadow package and found out that many log in steps are handled by PAM nowadays. In /etc/pam.d/login file I found following snippet:

# This module parses environment configuration file(s)
# and also allows you to use an extended config
# file /etc/security/pam_env.conf.
# parsing /etc/environment needs "readenv=1"
session       required   pam_env.so readenv=1
# locale variables are also kept into /etc/default/locale in etch
# reading this file *in addition to /etc/environment* does not hurt
session       required   pam_env.so readenv=1 envfile=/etc/default/locale

My /etc/default/locale is something like this:


Currently I'm on Ubuntu, other distros might have other file names.

To be honest I'm not really sure if it's helpful; I also doubt that it's wise to have non-latin characters in password.

share|improve this answer
The larger the pool of characters is you take, the stronger the password. I'll have a look in pam, thanks. – Angelo Fuchs Jan 15 '14 at 10:21
That's pretty clear, but you'd face other login issues (ssh, putty etc) – UVV Jan 15 '14 at 10:48
agreed. Thats not a use case for my situation here, but if it were I would opt for a password without umlauts either, I guess. – Angelo Fuchs Jan 15 '14 at 10:49

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