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I'm trying to modify the X display manager (xdm) source code in order to use it for a special purpose. However when I build and install it, it does not run and I end up getting the non-X login prompt. It does not print anything to the logs either. Is there anything special that I need to do to get it working?

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The display manager that runs by default on Raspbian is lightdm, and it is started by init. For wheezy's SysV style init, this is via /etc/init.d/lightdm, which is linked into the various /etc/rc[N].d directories. To undo that, use sudo update-rc.d disable lightdm 2 3 4 5. Raspbian jessie switched to systemd for init, and I'm not sure what the name of the lightdm service is there, but you could find it with systemctl list-units | grep -i lightdm. If it's not there, it might be using a backward compatible mechanism, so look in the rc.d directories and try the update-rc.d method.

To start xdm, you'll have to add your own init script/service. At least for testing purposes though, you can probably stick it in the end of /etc/rc.local.

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