How do I install GDM and any other necessary packages for it to run on the Raspbian image?

  • Note that Gnome and GDM may require more memory than you have on the Pi. Jul 29, 2012 at 21:16
  • What is GDM in this case? This is the top result for gnome-disk-utility, which I don't think is what you were asking. Feb 10, 2020 at 0:52

2 Answers 2


Assuming you just want to install GDM, and not an actual window manager, just run.

$ sudo apt-get install gdm

This would be strange though as GDM is a display manager. A display manager only provides the equivalent of a login prompt. In order to actually use your desktop you would need to install a window manager, such as GNOME or Xfce.

So, just in case you would like to also install a window manager then you need to do the following.

  1. First, you need to make sure you have tasksel and aptitude. You can install these on Debian-derived systems via apt-get.

    $ sudo apt-get install aptitude tasksel
  2. Now you need to install the GNOME task via tasksel.

    $ sudo tasksel install gnome-desktop --new-install


  1. Gnome - Debian Wiki
  • You can use Xfce alongside GDM. Jul 29, 2012 at 14:35
  • Are you saying you can't install gnome-desktop using apt-get? Really!?! Jul 29, 2012 at 14:37
  • @AlexChamberlain I don't have a Pi so I can't test if you can use apt-get or not. So I'm just going with what the Wiki says.
    – user46
    Jul 29, 2012 at 15:04
  • Actually, I tried both apt-get, and tasksel, and while tasksel worked, it took 3 tries, and gnome3 won't load due to resource restrictions. I guess this wasn't the best idea I've had. Apt-get did not work, although I don't know if it's a limitation of the Gnome3 desktop, or if it is a resource limitation as well.
    – zenbike
    Jul 29, 2012 at 16:55
  • Available gdm package is gdm3 Dec 9, 2015 at 0:02

The Pi doesn't have very powerful hardware. GDM will have heaps of Gnome dependencies. It might be better to look for a lighter weight login manager. SLIM might be a good choice (I think Raspbian is using it). Otherwise LightDM is what Ubuntu uses.

  • I can understand that. My main point is to get a login manager installed before the GUI. LightDM is what is currently installed, but when I set the GUI to boot automatically, I lose the login password. There does not appear to be a config setting in lightdm.conf to separate the 2. If I comment out the auto login, then I go back to a console boot, although it requires a password. It was suggested that I look at GDM in the comments of my last question. Not sure whether it will be the right path, though.
    – zenbike
    Jul 29, 2012 at 14:16
  • 1
    While this is better information, the answer from @BryanDunsmore answers the question I asked, so I will choose that answer.
    – zenbike
    Jul 29, 2012 at 16:59
  • 1
    For what it's worth, SLIM works very well, and after installation, I have a GUI auto boot, which still requires a user login. I am still interested in how to get LightDM to do that, but so far, haven't been able.
    – zenbike
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:57

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