Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Who arrre you?" Getting the hostname back in the Jaunty GDM greeter

Remendos - Patchwork

The latest Ubuntu release, 9.04, codename "Jaunty Jackelope", has turned out to be one of the best, maybe even on par with the "Gutsy Gibbon" release. The aesthetics definitely got some love; for example, if you're not running the "Dust" theme, you're missing out. [Hint: go to Preferences -> Appearance -> Theme and select "Dust"] The GDM greeter login screen looks the best of any Ubuntu release.

Unfortunately, a little bit of usability got lost along the way; most notably, the hostname no longer appears anywhere on the graphical login. This probably bothers only a minority of people, but our lab, for example, just updated all its machines to Jaunty, and we couldn't tell from the greeters which machine belonged to which hostname without logging in. I sat down this afternoon for a few minutes to figure out how the GDM themes work. It turns out they're just coded as fairly simple XML, and looking at other themes, I eventually figured out what to tweak. This patch will bring back the beloved hostname to the GDM login.

To use this patch, just do

sudo patch -p0 < /path/to/hostname_patch_for_Human.xml.patch

Now you'll no longer have to look at login screens and wonder, "Who arrre you?"

Update (16:17): Apparently Blogger's software won't allow XML in their pre tags, so I just hosted the patch on my server instead. All the more reason why I need to host my own blog with Wordpress or something soon...

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