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Date:      Mon, 30 Apr 2018 11:42:53 +0700
From:      Victor Sudakov <>
To:        Polytropon <>
Subject:   Re: Alternative to x11/gnome3 ?
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <>

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Polytropon wrote:
> > What alternative to x11/gnome3 can you advise? 
> > 
> > I would like a more lightweight desktop environment, however it MUST
> > support switching between GUI users without logging out (like 
> > Ubuntu or Windows).
> > 
> > I tried Mate but it does not seem to be able to switch between users
> > without logging out (at least the display manager Mate comes with
> > cannot do that).
> If remember correctly, both Gnome 2 and Mate _can_ do this. 

But I have a virtual box with the Mate metaport installed, and the "switch
user" button is nowhere to be found in the Mate GUI.

> The feature you're talking about is called "switch user", i. e., it is a
> session switcher: User A is logged in, has programs open and so on;  user
> B approaches and asks to do something, so A selects the "switch user"
> function, allows B to log in; B does his stuff, logs out - and the
> session of user A is restored.
> Is that what you're looking for?

Not quite so. None of the users ever has to close her session and apps.
Both the users' programs continue to run. Of course, at any moment only one
user can access her programs on the desktop.

The rest of your assumption is correct.

> If yes, this function is integrated in the desktop, and not
> part of the display manager (which usually is only activated
> when _no_ user is logged in).

I beg to disagree. When I use this feature in gnome3 and in Ubuntu,
the display manager runs a separate instance of the X server per each
user. And when you authenticate to the gdm, it either starts a new X
server for you, or connects you to the existing X session. This is a
sample output of ps on a PC with two GUI sessions (only one owns the

[sudakov@vas ~] ps axww | grep X
13017  -  S       1:47,82 /usr/local/bin/X :0 -background none -noreset -verbose -auth /var/run/gdm/auth-for-gdm-6X91vP/database -nolisten tcp vt09 (Xorg)
13460  -  S       0:19,43 /usr/local/bin/X :1 -background none -noreset -verbose -auth /var/run/gdm/auth-for-gdm-ZbwJGt/database -nolisten tcp (Xorg)
13938  8  S+      0:00,00 grep X

I don't know how this is done internally.

> Additionally, you can probably run a second X server on the
> same system and switch over for a second session... :-)

That's exactly what gdm from gnome3 does. But I'm looking for an
alternative to gdm and gnome (and not startx).

I have tried the stock xdm to run two separate local X-servers but this
failed miserably for some reason. Must be some conflict it was unable to
resolve, but the second X-server would not even start.

Victor Sudakov,  VAS4-RIPE, VAS47-RIPN

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