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How to change the GDM3 background picture in Debian GNU/Linux 7 (Wheezy)

This evening I was trying to find the correct way to set the GDM3 background-picture. I wanted to set it to my own image file journey-login-background.jpg. I thought I share the results.

Obviously the way to set the GDM login picture has changed a lot in Wheezy. 

Formerly it has been configured by the desktop-base package in:

(/gdm3/10_desktop-base in the source-package)

The line:
/desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename /usr/share/images/desktop-base/login-background.svg
pointed to the login-background image.

A second line was used to set how the picture is shown:
/desktop/gnome/background/picture_options	zoom

This doesn't seem to work anymore.

Another way to set the login-background was to use similar lines in /etc/gdm3/greeter.gconf-defaults

/desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename	/usr/share/images/desktop-base/login-background.svg
/desktop/gnome/background/picture_options	zoom

This also doesn't work for me.

Now with GDM3 the login-background obviously is set by GSettings. 

There seem to be three possibilities: 

1.) Add these lines in /etc/gdm3/greeter.gsettings


In the last line you can choose between "zoom", "scaled" and "stretched". 

After changing the file you have to run:

dpkg-reconfigure gdm3

to make the changes permanent. This worked for me.

Source: http://www.stderr.nl/Blog/Software/Gnome/Gnome3-Gdm3-Background.html

2.) Set the background in the terminal. I didn't try it, but obviously it can be done this way.

su -
su - gdm -s /bin/bash
`dbus-launch | sed "s/^/export /"`
GSETTINGS_BACKEND=dconf gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri "file:///usr/share/images/desktop-base/journey-login-background.jpg"

Please note that you must specify a file which user "gdm" has permission to read. For instance, user "gdm" cannot read files in your home directory.

Sources: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/07/change-gnome-3-login-screen-gdm3.html
Or: http://smashingweb.ge6.org/change-the-background-of-gnome-3-gdm-login-screen/

3.) Or, if you are just too lazy for that: 

- delete /usr/share/images/desktop-base/login-background.svg 
- create a symlink with the same name that points to the picture you want to use:

ln -s /usr/share/images/desktop-base/journey-login-background.jpg /usr/share/images/desktop-base/login-background.svg

(I used this as workaround when I created my theme.)

Source: http://yumechanmiru.blogspot.com/2011/03/howto-change-login-screen-on-debian.html

Hope this helps.


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