Switching to XDM fails in Kubuntu (and a workaround)

Jordan Gigov coladict at gmail.com
Tue Aug 19 23:24:45 PDT 2014

The problem:
The first time I tried switching from Kubuntu's default (I think it was
LightDM)  to X Display Manager it just failed to load, with the Plymouth
splash screen being stuck in front. It was a fresh install, so not having
anything to lose, I re-installed the whole system again.

The workaround:
After some time I tried that migration again, but this time I found out I
could switch to a terminal with alt+arrow keys. I could log in from there
and start it manually, but that created multiple user sessions. Looking
online for solutions, I found only suggestions, that didn't work, but they
did guide me where to look. In the Upstart configuration file
/etc/init/plymouth-stop.conf they said I should add xdm to the conditions
in the pre-start script. That didn't help, but I saw the command it used
there "exec /bin/plymouth quit". I wrote a little Upstart configuration for
XDM, because some logs (I forget which) seemed to indicate that that XDM
could not allocate the monitor, because it was already taken-up by the
Plymouth splash screen. This is what I have in /etc/init/xdm.conf

start on runlevel [2345]
pre-start exec /bin/plymouth quit

After rebooting several times it seems to work consistently.

The reason I'm writing this:
A similar solution needs to be integrated in future versions. There is
probably a more proper way to do it, but I'm not that invested in it. If
this solution will not make it into a distribution, then it should at least
be featured in an FAQ or Troubleshooting guide.
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