From Fedora Project Wiki

Automatically login the default user after bootup


While Xerxes appreciates that he can grab a cup of coffee while waiting for his Fedora system to boot, he doesn't like his coffee preparation being interrupted by having to type in his username and password half way though the process. But He also doesn't like Mrs Xerxes looking though his Firefox history while he is out of the room.


Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 11
  • Last updated: (2008/12/19)
  • Percentage of completion: 0%

Detailed Description

Currently, before the user can use the computer, they have to wait through two slow procedures. Firstly the computer goes through the boot (bios, grub, init...) before presenting the user with a gdm login screen. Then it halts waiting for the user to login before continuing through to loading the desktop and auto-startup applications. On a basic system the boot takes about 50 seconds and gnome desktop with firefox, thunderbird, pidgin and rhythmbox automatically started takes another 50 seconds (not to mention the 10 seconds which are taken up by noticing the login dialogue, and typing in your username/password all while nothing is being loaded).

A better alternative to (effectively) halting half way through the boot, is to start a locked screen-saver and load the user's desktop. The user can happily walk away during the boot and when they return their desktop is fully loaded. Also they can be sure no one has messed around with it while they were away.

  • On 1 user systems gdm can be set to log directly into the default account.
  • On 1.5 user systems gdm can be set to wait 10 seconds before logging into the default user account. The default user can also log into the machine vino server to use the computer remotely after a reboot.
  • On multi user systems the user can login using plymouth. They can then go for a coffee and return when it is finished loading. When gdm starts it will log into the user's account. (to be decided)

Benefit to Fedora

Fedora is becoming increasingly used on single user laptops and home desktops which are frequently turned off and on. The user is only guaranteed to be present at the very beginning and the end of the boot process. Moving all user interaction to either of those periods allows the user to have fewer interruptions to whatever else they are doing. Turning on the laptop to look at Wikipedia and prove you're right becomes less of a pain if you're not repeatedly distracted in the middle of your argument.


Resurrection of gdmsetup to enable the users to change the default user, timeout and enable automatic screensaver lock.

gdm to set the appropriate shell vareables.

In gdm scripts execute a locked screensaver before gnome-session is run (if GDM_AUTOLOGIN_WITH_LOCK is set).

Equivalents for kde and xfce. Also a default xscreensaver for all others (fvwm etc.).

Initscripts to get plymouth to allow logins and set a "autologin_once" var for gdm to pick up. (to be decided)

Test Plan

  • Analise security implications.
  • Examine operation of other environments/window managers.

User Experience

  1. Users should not notice anything unless they specifically set up autologin.
  2. Otherwise it should behave as described above


FIXME to be filled in as features are implemented upstream

Contingency Plan

  • Only enable on tested and working desktop environments. (i.e. disable the locked screeensaver on unknown session mamagers)
  • Disable the feature in gdmsetup
  • Don't package gdmsetup (don't tell anyone how to enable the mode)


Release Notes