How to Disable or Change the Display Manager on Void Linux

312 words; 2 minute(s)

Table of Contents

Display Manager Services

In order to change the display manager on Void Linux - or any other Linux distro - you need to identify the currently enabled display manager.

Disabling the Current Display Manager

Void Linux only has one ISO available for download with a pre-built display manager at the time of this post: the XFCE ISO. If you've installed this version, the pre-assigned display manager is lxdm. If you installed another display manager, replace lxdm in the following command with the display manager you have installed.

To disable lxdm, simply remove the service symlink:

sudo rm /var/service/lxdm

Enabling a New Display Manager

If you want to enable a new display manager, you can do so after lxdm is disabled. Make sure to replace <new_display_manager> with your new DM, such as gdm, xdm, etc.

sudo ln -s /etc/sv/<new_display_manager> /var/service

Set Up .xinitrc

Depending on your setup, you may need to create a few X files, such as ~/.xinitrc. For my personal set-up, I created this file to launch the i3wm as my desktop.

nano ~/.xinitrc

exec i3

If you run a desktop other than i3, simply replace i3 with the shell command that launches that desktop.

Set Up Your Shell Profile

Finally, in order to automatically launch an X session upon login, you will need to edit the .bash_profile (bash) or .zprofile (zsh) files for your shell:

nano ~/.zprofile

Add the following snippet to the end of the shell profile file. This will execute the startx command upon login.

if [ -z "${DISPLAY}" ] && [ "${XDG_VTNR}" -eq 1 ]; then
    exec startx

Alternatively, you can ignore this step and simply choose to manually execute startx upon login. This can be useful if you have issues with your desktop or like to manually launch different desktops by choice.