Tag Archives: gldm

Is there a growing interest in GLDM?

Google Analytics says I’ve recently been getting some hits from Google with keywords “gldm login”. GLDM is my login manager which I left in a half-finished state last year; it’s free/libre/opensource software and can be picked up at http://sf.net/projects/gldm/. If you’d like to help, talk to me at gldm+blogpost@vucica.net.

What is GLDM?

Idea behind GLDM was to provide a solid backend for authentication with a well-designed API for dropping in custom-developed graphical themes. That is, the idea was that GLDM would be the backend (with some nice themes/theming engines coming with it), but that people would easily be able to develop their own theming engines. It’s supposed to be an alternative to XDM, GDM and KDM — that is, it’s a login screen for Linux.

Its target is a home user; thus, GLDM does not care for and does not suppot stuff like XDMCP. It’s also probably a little bit less secure, until someone security-conscious comes around and fixes that.

Acronym stands for Graphical Liberty Display Manager, to say that one is able to create the GUI with whatever technique that person wants, as long as it’s somewhat pluggable into the C++ code. It’s also a play on OpenGL Display Manager, but since I didn’t code a single theme that uses OpenGL, it would be a bit of a misnomer, especially since it was intended that you really don’t need to have anything to do with OpenGL.

At the same time, you could; one might design a beautiful 3D island, with ocean having reflection, refraction and other cool shader-based effects. Then, on top of that, adding flying letters or user icons during login, which are reflected in the water below.

In essence, GLDM should be a “Compiz for the login screen”!

Almost all “common home users” would love that; it might help convert people to GNU/Linux, or other UNIX based systems. Who knows — perhaps even Canonical would take GLDM as the default login manager. (Oh, human dream…)

So what if you are getting hits? What do we care?

It surprises me that this unfinished piece of software is getting my poor little blog some hits. It surprises me that it’s getting hits straight from Google. It surprises me that this is happening despite absolutely no chatter on the interwebs about this software. It surprises me that I’ve received no inquiries about it.

It confuses me about what I should do next: should I go back to developing GLDM a little bit (a bit troublesome since I’m a Mac user now)? Will interest go up? Is this perhaps just a Google having a glitch, a cough, giving me hope where there is none?

I’m really not sure. Well, I think it GLDM might still be resumed; there still isn’t a “Compiz for the login screen”, and the barrier to entry for potential theme developers might still be significant. GLDM could be the solution by offering simple, simple API for authentication, while allowing the developer to just plug in their existing code into GLDM to get authentication services.

What sort of software do I need libre/open-source?

After thinking a bit about what I need open-source, and what I’m capable of implementing but too time constrained, here’s a short list. If I had enough cash and if I didn’t have to study, I’d go now and work on some of these.

Open source Steam

And I don’t mean just a game browser and installer. I mean the full deal: friends, shop CMS, patching, DRM, DLC, ingame overlay. Friends could work with XMPP, and when I think about it, so could everything else. How about login with OpenID, Facebook Connect, XMPP?

Better, modular X11 login manager

I want a login manager where I can easily write a GUI in OpenGL or whatever I want, and just plug it in with the backend code that’ll handle the login itself.

I started writing that, but then I got a Mac.

In-game XMPP overlay

I’m sort of obsessed with in-game overlays, right? But that’s what I want to have: a way to talk to my google-talking buddies from in-game. Steam’s in-game browser is NOT a solution. I’ve tried looking around for something like this; I found some open source code for in-game overlays (Mumble VOIP has one), but nothing simple enough for me to fork and add XMPP code and a simple GUI (perhaps using my GLICT or my company’s AprilUI) to be able to have a proper in-game IM experience.

Well commented and structured code

This is not something I can fix even with a lot of time. I try to structure my code well, but that’s about it.

I’ve been through too much OSS code lately that wasn’t commented well. In fact, I know of one instance where I was studying implementation of in-game overlays, and the already-confusing code didn’t have a single useful comment in it. I’ll do an evil namedrop and mention this was, again, Mumble. I want to make it clear: it’s an excellent project, with lots and lots of cool ideas, well implemented tricks such as positioning audio according to the position in the game the speaker and listener are playing, et cetera. But, simply put, when I looked at the code they had in SVN, I found something I couldn’t put my head around.

Functions and classes were oddly named, not to mention files. Platform-specific code was all mixed up and was not separated; while there were attempts to be modular, separation of platform-specific stuff (and when it’s about in-game overlays, you know it’s VERY platform-specific) was done very clumsily. I couldn’t find where the code initializes system-wide monitoring for the launch of a game, and where the overlay is initialized. I gave up.

But this is what defeats the purpose of open source. Why bother releasing it as FLOSS if people can’t learn anything from it? I wrote a lot of code over the years, but if it isn’t instructional or useful, why would I release it as FLOSS? One goal may be to get it into Debian which has a social contract to ship only free software, but if that’s the entire point, then say so.

Don’t insert assembler blobs without commenting them (oh yes, that too).

What about you?

What do YOU want from open-source community that you can’t find? Or, can you imagine a financing model for developing the above? Tell me your thoughts!

GLDM – login manager based on SDL, OpenGL and whatever else

I’ve started writing some code today for GLDM. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for many months now, and well, I feel like I gotta start.

See, GDM and KDM … they’re beautiful pieces of code, I’m sure. But I just don’t feel like studying them. And yet, I want a nice graphical login. I want framework that’ll allow me to design whatever interface I want.

Y’know, because after Compiz, Metacity ain’t smooth enough. Same about GDM and KDM.

Since I’m too lazy to actually take time to look for one such, I’ve decided to take these ideas whirling in my head and scrap something up. Who knows, maybe it turns up popular. If you’re interested in some basic code, I applied for Sourceforge project today and it was already approved. So hop on here: http://sf.net/projects/gldm and tell me if you want to work on something around GLDM. I promise I won’t reject proposals… at least those I like ;)

Edited October 7th 2010.

Some preview videos:

September 19th 2009: Luna Lunatic

November 27th 2010: Luna