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Re: What's the difference between a display manager and a window manager?

On Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 04:29:35PM -0600, Shawn Parker wrote:
> i could be wrong, but isn't the display manager simply the 'login
> screen?" like gnome's gdm or x's xdm. the window manager is the
> minimal desktop. something like fluxbox or similar.

I think a display manager is more than just the login. it also takes
care of setting up the session, starting X, loading the various
libraries (the kde or gnome libraries, for example), logging the user
in, loading the window manager and myriad other things.

a window manager is just that, a window manager. it only draws windows
and controls their placement etc. 

> although, i'm sure there is more to it than that...and probably a
> better explination.
> On 12/28/06, Rick Thomas <rbthomas55@pobox.com> wrote:
> >Showing my ignorance...  (I'm an old "command line" guy who mostly
> >just needs a simple console terminal.)
> >
> >Can anyone explain (or point me to a good document on) the following
> >questions:
> >
> >
> >
> >What's the difference between a "display manager" and a "window
> >manager"?
> >
> >Do I need both?  Can you give some examples of each and explain their
> >features/advantages/disadvantages?

display managers: kdm, gdm, xdm etc

window managers: metacity, kwin(?), icewm, fluxbox etc.

> >
> >And how does any of this differ from plain old "X11"?

neither of them is necessary as you can run any x program on its own
in x. as I'm sure you know, you can startx with just an xterm in your
.xinitrc and that is all you'll get. you can startx with a window
manager in your .xinitrc and then the window manager will be run, just
as the xterm was run. then you can use the window manager's menu's etc
to select other programs to run. 

using a *dm, you would NOT startx, but instead start the dm. then it
would start x, and various other things before asking you to select a
session and log in. 



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