Re: [dev] Introducing XLSH

From: Catalin David <>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 01:31:14 +0200


2011/10/19 Michał Siejak <>:
> Hello.
> Recently I've written a simple program for myself and I think it fits
> well into minimalistic suckless philosophy, so I present to you XLSH
> or eXtended Login Shell. Let me paste a chunk of relevant info from
> the README file:
> A simple login shell with readline functionality and PAM integration.
>  * When run stand-alone on a virtual console it can replace standard
> "login" program.
>  * When run in cooperation with X daemon component (xlshd) it can
> replace XDM/GDM/KDM.
> Features:
>  * Small and simple, written entirely in C.
>  * Easily hackable because of compact codebase (~1000 source lines).
>  * Uses PAM for authorization and session management.
>  * Ability to select non-default shell/window manager during logon.
>  * Entirely keyboard driven display manager replacement (when used with xlshd)
>   without the need for any fat libraries or GUI toolkits.
>  * Defaults configured before compilation, some of them can be changed by
>   setting few environment variables.
>  * Single shell script file (/etc/xlsh/xlshrc) for customizing how
>   xlshd launches xlsh.
>  * Introduces a concept of "pre-login shell" known from GNU/HURD.
>  * Only *three* important commands: 'login', 'reboot' and 'shutdown'.
>  * New commands can be easily added (if you need any) by editing xlsh.c
>  * Username autocompletion on TAB.
>  * Zenburn color scheme by default (when run under X).
> So that's it. I grew tired of XDM/GDM/KDM so I rolled my own solution.
> I currently run it both on my ttys and instead of XDM. It serves me
> well, I find simple keyboard shell-like interaction very comfortable
> and it fits into my awesome WM look & feel (which is also Zenburn).

Sounds pretty awesome. I was also very tired of GDM and KDM and their
bloatness. I tried SLiM at some point, but then for some reason it
stopped working (I think I did an upgrade) and had to fall back to

I've had a Linux box for quite a while now, but I don't quite know
what needs to be done to replace GDM with XLSH. So, if anyone can help
on that, it would be great -- I'm running Ubuntu, but I am sure I can
replicate any instructions you might give for your ArchLinux box.

Also, I was wondering how it behaves on a dual screen setup (if you
got a chance to test it) and whether it automatically runs the
.xsession file (which starts DWM).

Thanks for sharing your work and I am waiting for some sort of
tutorial to make it run on my machine.


> Source code is here:
> Example screenshot is here:
> If any of you guys find it useful let me know. :) Constructive
> criticism/peer review is more than welcome.
> Cheers!
> --
> Michał Siejak

Catalin David
M.Sc. Smart Systems 2012
B.Sc. Computer Science 2010
Jacobs University Bremen
Phone: +49-(0)1577-49-38-667
Hans-Hermann-Sieling-Strasse 2A
Bremen, 28759
Received on Thu Oct 20 2011 - 01:31:14 CEST

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