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MDM is the default Linux Mint display manager, forked from GDM 2.20, which means it supports the old GDM themes. Linux Mint 15 will ship with MDM 1.2.5 which has received support for HTML greeters (supports HTML5, CSS, Javascript and WebGL) and if you want to install it in Ubuntu, you can use a PPA to install both MDM 1.2.5 as well as the default MDM themes.

Since the previous stable release, MDM has also received many under-the-hood improvements and bug fixes. For a complete feature list and more info on MDM, see its GitHub page.

A MDM HTML theme

Because the default MDM themes are Linux Mint branded, I've tweaked some of them to integrate better with Ubuntu, and renamed the package to "ubuntu-mdm-themes". But I'm no graphics designer so you may want to tweak them further - this can easily be done since the themes are mostly HTML / CSS, so look under /usr/share/mdm/themes/ for GDM themes and in /usr/share/mdm/html-themes/ for the new HTML themes and change them to suit your needs or create your own theme.

Here are some of the themes available by default in Linux Mint and in our PPA:

MDM themes
MDM HTML theme

MDM themes
MDM HTML theme

MDM themes
MDM GDM theme

MDM themes
MDM GDM theme

MDM themes
MDM GDM theme

The default themes include an animated WebGL theme called "Clouds (WebGL)" which looks great, but in my test, the animation was slow both in VirtualBox and on my laptop (running Nvidia Optimus) and I've read that it doesn't work at all for some users, so be careful if you select this theme. There are some other non-WebGL animated HTML themes included by default, which you'll discover for yourself once you install the latest MDM from Linux Mint 15, by using the instructions below.

Install MDM in Ubuntu

Important: installing MDM will remove GDM (and GNOME Shell, since it depends on GDM - but this is only for Ubuntu 12.10 and 13.04). That's because there are some conflicts between MDM and GDM. So if you're using GNOME Shell in Ubuntu 12.10 or 13.04, do not install MDM.

1. To install the latest MDM from Linux Mint 15 in Ubuntu 13.04, 12.10 or 12.04, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mdm ubuntu-mdm-themes
During the installation, you'll be prompted to select the default display manager:

mdm configuration

Select MDM here. Later on, if you want to switch to LightDM, GDM or some other display manager, see this article: How To Switch Between GDM, LightDM, MDM Or KDM In Ubuntu.

2. Once MDM has been installed, restart you computer. Until you restart the computer, MDM Setup (shows up as "Login Window" in Dash / the menu) won't show up. After restarting the computer, the default (kind of ugly, I know) MDM theme will be loaded - very important: the first time MDM starts, no session is selected so make sure you select one from the drop-down indicated in the screenshot below:

MDM session list

3. Then you can log in, launch MDM Setup (look for "Login Window" in Dash / the menu) and select the theme you want. From the "Style" drop-down you can select what kind of themes you want to use: GDM themes, HTML themes or GTK (there is only one GTK greeter available by default):

Mint MDM setup

Select some theme and then log out to see it in action.
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