I've been wondering lately why do I need GDM, so I got it disabled for the sake of experiment sake by modifying upstart file /etc/init/gdm (I run Ubuntu 10.10 desktop). So now computer boots to command prompt and I just type in startx if I need GUI.

So far everything runs just fine. But, does anyone know if there are any drawbacks to not using gdm? Would I lose any functionality?

  • If you are starting your X anyways .. all the time .. then there is no point in repeating startx manually over and over again.

  • If you use *DM, you can use a program to lock the screen and go away from the machine.
    If you do not use *DM but just launch your xsession via startx you have to lock your xsession AND you have to lock your console. otherwise a person can altfN and take over your account.

  • *DM can be configured so that people can attach remotly to that *DM. http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-mini/XDM-Xterm.html#XDM

Other than that: you don't lose anything.

Regarding "want to become better at CLI": X is (mostly as a joke) considered a great xterm multiplexer to give the muser more space to improve his CLI skills :) I do not consider that as a valid argument against a X session, does not matter if triggered by *DM or by startx.


If you are an expert command line user, then I would say no. You still have all the programs you have installed. All you are not seeing is the graphical representation. I had startx run at startup so that I can open up the browser without having to run startx everytime I want to start the browser.

  • actually - that's my goal - to become better in cli :) i'm trying to replace whatever possible with cli alternatives now. – Stann Feb 6 '11 at 4:52
  • 1
    I did it for exactly the same reason :) GUIs are bad if you want to become better in CLI. But there are some window managers like awesome (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awesome_%28window_manager%29), which are more command line centric. – yasouser Feb 6 '11 at 5:01
  • Actually, you dont have to be expert cli command user. Just start using it and you will find a way to do whatever you want in cli. Gui is nice for looking and speeding up some of your tasks but if you get used to cli.... :) – user2648 Feb 6 '11 at 14:27

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