window manager {{InfoBox wikipedia|X display manager (program type)|header=true }} A 'display manager' ('DM'), sometimes known as 'login manager', X or Wayland.]]

A display manager is not mandatory. X or Wayland can be started from a shell in a VT, but one can provide extra or useful funtionality. For how to run X without a DM, see X without Display Manager.

Available software

Some display managers are listed below.

NB: Some Wayland DMs below are found in the overlay [ wayland-desktop], but not yet merged to the official Portage tree.

Name Package Type Description
CDM x11-misc/cdm Console Minimalistic.
GNOME/gdm gnome-base/gdm X / Wayland Often used with GNOME.
Greetd gui-apps/gtkgreet<br>gui-apps/tuigreet<br />[ gui-apps/qtgreet] Wayland Frontends for greetd. TUIGreetd runs in console.
LightDM x11-misc/lightdm X Lightweight, and customizable via greeters.
LXDM lxde-base/lxdm X LXDE Display Manager.
Qingy sys-apps/qingy console getty replacement.
SDDM x11-misc/sddm X / Wayland Modern, fast DM aiming to be simple and beautiful. Highly customizable, eye candy display manager from KDE
SLiM x11-misc/slim X Requires only a few dependencies.
WDM x11-misc/wdm X Modification of XDM.
XDM x11-apps/xdm X X.Org's DM.


Before setting up and using a display manager, be sure that the chosen GUI environment, [[Xorg/Guide#Using_startx|startx]] or [[Wayland]], works without problems. If something does not work refer to the troubleshooting guides, such as [[Xorg/Guide]].

In all major Linux operating systems, display managers are started automatically on boot. In order for this to happen automatically a script must be added to the init system's appropriate runlevel. Examples for OpenRC and systemd are provided below.


Under most circumstances, the OpenRC init system (Gentoo's default init system) will be used to start the display manager. The following examples will set SDDM as the display manager, adjust as necessary for other display managers.

Historically, the xdm init script handled the starting of the display manager, which has now been deprecated in favor of the display-manager init script from gui-libs/display-manager-init, jump to next section for a sytem still using xdm.

If gui-libs/display-manager-init is not present, emerge it with:


The configuration file should be modified to use SDDM:

filename=/etc/conf.d/display-manager|title=Set SDDM as the display manager|lang=bash|1= CHECKVT=7 DISPLAYMANAGER="sddm"

To start the chosen display manager on boot, add the display-manager to the system's default runlevel:

rc-update add display-manager default

To start the display-manager immediately, run:

rc-service display-manager start

Historical use of the deprecated ''xdm'' init script

filename=/etc/conf.d/xdm|title=Set SDDM as the display manager|lang=bash|1= CHECKVT=7 DISPLAYMANAGER="sddm"

To start the chosen display manager on boot, add the xdm to the system's default runlevel:

rc-update add xdm default

To start SDDM immediately, run:

rc-service xdm start


If using systemd as the init system, first locate the chosen <display-manager>.service file.

To start SDDM on boot, enable the service: systemctl enable sddm.service

To start SDDM immediately, run: systemctl start sddm.service

See also