Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm running Redhat 5.6 with the gnome display manager. I would like to configure the login manager so that there is no echo of the password when typing it in (no asterisks or the like). I have edited the files /usr/share/gdm/defaults.conf and /usr/share/gdm/factory-defaults.conf and changed the line




but I still get a password echo of asterisks at the login screen.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Given that a reboot fixed the problem, what you missed is that you needed to tell the login manager (gdm) to reload its configuration. Most system services do not reload their configuration when you change it, in fact few applications automatically reload their configuration files if you edit the file directly (as opposed to going through that application's configuration UI).

In the case of Gdm, it doesn't have a command to reload its configuration file. All you can do is restart it; that doesn't happen automatically when you log out (it's still the same instance of gdm until you stop it).

The usual way to restart a system service is to run something like one of the following commands (I forget which service manager your version of Red Hat uses):

restart ssh
service ssh restart
/etc/init.d/ssh restart

However, restarting gdm logs out all users that logged in through it, so it's generally not desirable. Instead, run gdm-safe-restart so that gdm will restart as soon as the last user logs out. (This doesn't work on some versions/installations of gdm, notably on Ubuntu 10.04.)

share|improve this answer

Actually if you could restart gdm using some mechanism then you would not have to reboot.

This blog entry explains how to restart gdm.

share|improve this answer

A reboot of the system solved the problem. I feel like maybe this is an obvious answer, but in Linux, so many system changes take effect immediately or at least when a user logs out and in. This particular change, however, required a reboot.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.