Saturday, 18 February 2012

How-to: Stoppy Going Dotty in LightDM 12.04

I foolishly thought that the grid of dots in the background to the LightDM login screen were a part of the background wallpaper. Wrong! The dots are drawn over the background, so you too can ruin any wallpaper you choose with the default grid. Why the Canonical design team let this particular and peculiar bit of visual clutter through, I can't imagine. Does anyone need a grid of dots on their login screen? Are we supposed to be measuring something? Free-hand drawing our own login windows?

You can remove the dots, at least you can in Ubuntu 12.04. There is a magic setting in one of the LightDM configuration files.

UPDATE: the I documented used to work, but now in 12.04 Final, it doesn't! Stay tuned to the end for the latest solution...

Scratch this, it died with the 12.04 release candidate!

You wil have to launch a text editor with root privileges from the terminal (or via the run box using Alt+F2)

gksu gedit /etc/lightdm/unity-greeter.conf

Look down the settings until you find the line beginning draw-grid
Change draw-grid=true to draw-grid=false.

Now we have to open a terminal and poke a bit of code in there to tweak a settings file that can't be accessed any other way I know yet.

sudo xhost +SI:localuser:lightdm 
sudo su lightdm -s /bin/bash gsettings set com.canonical.unity-greeter draw-grid false

Log out to the LightDM greeter; you should see no dots!

Now this is a usability interface imprivement, nobody has explained yet. RC