MirBSD manpage: xdm(1)

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)


     xdm - X Display Manager with support for XDMCP, host chooser


     xdm [ -config configuration_file ] [ -nodaemon ] [ -debug
     debug_level ] [ -error error_log_file ] [ -resources
     resource_file ] [ -server server_entry ] [ -session
     session_program ]


     Xdm manages a collection of X displays, which may be on the
     local host or remote servers.  The design of xdm was guided
     by the needs of X terminals as well as The Open Group stan-
     dard XDMCP, the X Display Manager Control Protocol. Xdm pro-
     vides services similar to those provided by init, getty and
     login on character terminals: prompting for login name and
     password, authenticating the user, and running a ``ses-

     A ``session'' is defined by the lifetime of a particular
     process; in the traditional character-based terminal world,
     it is the user's login shell. In the xdm context, it is an
     arbitrary session manager.  This is because in a windowing
     environment, a user's login shell process does not neces-
     sarily have any terminal-like interface with which to con-
     nect. When a real session manager is not available, a window
     manager or terminal emulator is typically used as the ``ses-
     sion manager,'' meaning that termination of this process
     terminates the user's session.

     When the session is terminated, xdm resets the X server and
     (optionally) restarts the whole process.

     When xdm receives an Indirect query via XDMCP, it can run a
     chooser process to perform an XDMCP BroadcastQuery (or an
     XDMCP Query to specified hosts) on behalf of the display and
     offer a menu of possible hosts that offer XDMCP display
     management. This feature is useful with X terminals that do
     not offer a host menu themselves.

     Xdm can be configured to ignore BroadcastQuery messages from
     selected hosts. This is useful when you don't want the host
     to appear in menus produced by chooser or X terminals them-

     Because xdm provides the first interface that users will
     see, it is designed to be simple to use and easy to custom-
     ize to the needs of a particular site. Xdm has many options,
     most of which have reasonable defaults.  Browse through the
     various sections of this manual, picking and choosing the
     things you want to change. Pay particular attention to the
     Session Program section, which will describe how to set up

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         1

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

     the style of session desired.


     xdm is highly configurable, and most of its behavior can be
     controlled by resource files and shell scripts.  The names
     of these files themselves are resources read from the file
     xdm-config or the file named by the -config option.

     xdm offers display management two different ways.  It can
     manage X servers running on the local machine and specified
     in Xservers, and it can manage remote X servers (typically X
     terminals) using XDMCP (the XDM Control Protocol) as speci-
     fied in the Xaccess file.

     The resources of the X clients run by xdm outside the user's
     session, including xdm's own login window, can be affected
     by setting resources in the Xresources file.

     For X terminals that do not offer a menu of hosts to get
     display management from, xdm can collect willing hosts and
     run the chooser program to offer the user a menu. For X
     displays attached to a host, this step is typically not
     used, as the local host does the display management.

     After resetting the X server, xdm runs the Xsetup script to
     assist in setting up the screen the user sees along with the
     xlogin widget.

     The xlogin widget, which xdm presents, offers the familiar
     login and password prompts.

     After the user logs in, xdm runs the Xstartup script as

     Then xdm runs the Xsession script as the user.  This system
     session file may do some additional startup and typically
     runs the .xsession script in the user's home directory. When
     the Xsession script exits, the session is over.

     At the end of the session, the Xreset script is run to clean
     up, the X server is reset, and the cycle starts over.

     The file  /var/log/xdm.log will contain error messages from
     xdm and anything output to stderr by Xsetup, Xstartup, Xses-
     sion or Xreset. When you have trouble getting xdm working,
     check this file to see if xdm has any clues to the trouble.


     All of these options, except -config itself, specify values
     that can also be specified in the configuration file as

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         2

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

     -config configuration_file
          Names the configuration file, which specifies resources
          to control the behavior of xdm.
          /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/xdm-config is the default. See
          the section Configuration File.

          Specifies ``false'' as the value for the
          DisplayManager.daemonMode resource. This suppresses the
          normal daemon behavior, which is for xdm to close all
          file descriptors, disassociate itself from the control-
          ling terminal, and put itself in the background when it
          first starts up.

     -debug debug_level
          Specifies the numeric value for the
          DisplayManager.debugLevel resource.  A non-zero value
          causes xdm to print lots of debugging statements to the
          terminal; it also disables the
          DisplayManager.daemonMode resource, forcing xdm to run
          synchronously.  To interpret these debugging messages,
          a copy of the source code for xdm is almost a neces-
          sity.  No attempt has been made to rationalize or
          standardize the output.

     -error error_log_file
          Specifies the value for the DisplayManager.errorLogFile
          resource. This file contains errors from xdm as well as
          anything written to stderr by the various scripts and
          programs run during the progress of the session.

     -resources resource_file
          Specifies the value for the DisplayManager*resources
          resource.  This file is loaded using xrdb to specify
          configuration parameters for the authentication widget.

     -server server_entry
          Specifies the value for the DisplayManager.servers
          resource. See the section Local Server Specification
          for a description of this resource.

     -udpPort port_number
          Specifies the value for the DisplayManager.requestPort
          resource.  This sets the port-number which xdm will
          monitor for XDMCP requests.  As XDMCP uses the
          registered well-known UDP port 177, this resource
          should not be changed except for debugging. If set to 0
          xdm will not listen for XDMCP or Chooser requests.

     -session session_program
          Specifies the value for the DisplayManager*session
          resource.  This indicates the program to run as the

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         3

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          session after the user has logged in.

     -xrm resource_specification
          Allows an arbitrary resource to be specified, as in
          most X Toolkit applications.


     At many stages the actions of xdm can be controlled through
     the use of its configuration file, which is in the X
     resource format. Some resources modify the behavior of xdm
     on all displays, while others modify its behavior on a sin-
     gle display.  Where actions relate to a specific display,
     the display name is inserted into the resource name between
     ``DisplayManager'' and the final resource name segment.

     For local displays, the resource name and class are as read
     from the Xservers file.

     For remote displays, the resource name is what the network
     address of the display resolves to.  See the removeDomain
     resource.  The name must match exactly; xdm is not aware of
     all the network aliases that might reach a given display. If
     the name resolve fails, the address is used.  The resource
     class is as sent by the display in the XDMCP Manage request.

     Because the resource manager uses colons to separate the
     name of the resource from its value and dots to separate
     resource name parts, xdm substitutes underscores for both
     dots and colons when generating the resource name. For exam-
     ple, DisplayManager.expo_x_org_0.startup is the name of the
     resource which defines the startup shell file for the
     ``expo.x.org:0'' display.

          This resource either specifies a file name full of
          server entries, one per line (if the value starts with
          a slash), or a single server entry. See the section
          Local Server Specification for the details.

          This indicates the UDP port number which xdm uses to
          listen for incoming XDMCP requests.  Unless you need to
          debug the system, leave this with its default value of

          Error output is normally directed at the system con-
          sole.  To redirect it, set this resource to a file
          name.  A method to send these messages to syslog should
          be developed for systems which support it; however, the
          wide variety of interfaces precludes any system-
          independent implementation.  This file also contains

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         4

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          any output directed to stderr by the Xsetup, Xstartup,
          Xsession and Xreset files, so it will contain descrip-
          tions of problems in those scripts as well.

          If the integer value of this resource is greater than
          zero, reams of debugging information will be printed.
          It also disables daemon mode, which would redirect the
          information into the bit-bucket, and allows non-root
          users to run xdm, which would normally not be useful.

          Normally, xdm attempts to make itself into a daemon
          process unassociated with any terminal. This is accom-
          plished by forking and leaving the parent process to
          exit, then closing file descriptors and releasing the
          controlling terminal.  In some environments this is not
          desired (in particular, when debugging).  Setting this
          resource to ``false'' will disable this feature.

          The filename specified will be created to contain an
          ASCII representation of the process-id of the main xdm
          process. Xdm also uses file locking on this file to
          attempt to eliminate multiple daemons running on the
          same machine, which would cause quite a bit of havoc.

          This is the resource which controls whether xdm uses
          file locking to keep multiple display managers from
          running amok. On System V, this uses the lockf library
          call, while on BSD it uses flock.

          This names a directory under which xdm stores authori-
          zation files while initializing the session.  The
          default value is  /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm. Can be over-
          ridden for specific displays by

          This boolean controls whether xdm rescans the confi-
          guration, servers, access control and authentication
          keys files after a session terminates and the files
          have changed.  By default it is ``true.''  You can
          force xdm to reread these files by sending a SIGHUP to
          the main process.

          When computing the display name for XDMCP clients, the
          name resolver will typically create a fully qualified
          host name for the terminal.  As this is sometimes

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         5

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          confusing, xdm will remove the domain name portion of
          the host name if it is the same as the domain name of
          the local host when this variable is set.  By default
          the value is ``true.''

          XDM-AUTHENTICATION-1 style XDMCP authentication
          requires that a private key be shared between xdm and
          the terminal.  This resource specifies the file con-
          taining those values.  Each entry in the file consists
          of a display name and the shared key.  By default, xdm
          does not include support for XDM-AUTHENTICATION-1, as
          it requires DES which is not generally distributable
          because of United States export restrictions.

          To prevent unauthorized XDMCP service and to allow for-
          warding of XDMCP IndirectQuery requests, this file con-
          tains a database of hostnames which are either allowed
          direct access to this machine, or have a list of hosts
          to which queries should be forwarded to.  The format of
          this file is described in the section XDMCP Access Con-

          A list of additional environment variables, separated
          by white space, to pass on to the Xsetup, Xstartup,
          Xsession, and Xreset programs.

          A file to checksum to generate the seed of authoriza-
          tion keys. This should be a file that changes fre-
          quently. The default is /dev/mem.

          On systems that support a dynamically-loadable greeter
          library, the name of the library.  The default is

          Number of seconds to wait for display to respond after
          user has selected a host from the chooser.  If the
          display sends an XDMCP IndirectQuery within this time,
          the request is forwarded to the chosen host.  Other-
          wise, it is assumed to be from a new session and the
          chooser is offered again. Default is 15.

          Use the numeric IP address of the incoming connection
          on multihomed hosts instead of the host name. This is

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         6

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          to avoid trying to connect on the wrong interface which
          might be down at this time.

          This specifies a program which is run (as) root when an
          an XDMCP BroadcastQuery is received and this host is
          configured to offer XDMCP display management. The out-
          put of this program may be displayed on a chooser win-
          dow.  If no program is specified, the string Willing to
          manage is sent.

          This resource specifies the name of the file to be
          loaded by xrdb as the resource database onto the root
          window of screen 0 of the display. The Xsetup program,
          the Login widget, and chooser will use the resources
          set in this file. This resource data base is loaded
          just before the authentication procedure is started, so
          it can control the appearance of the login window.  See
          the section Authentication Widget, which describes the
          various resources that are appropriate to place in this
          file. There is no default value for this resource, but
           /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/Xresources is the conventional

          Specifies the program run to offer a host menu for
          Indirect queries redirected to the special host name
           /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/chooser  is the default. See
          the sections XDMCP Access Control and Chooser.

          Specifies the program used to load the resources.  By
          default, xdm uses  /usr/X11R6/bin/xrdb.

          This specifies the name of the C preprocessor which is
          used by xrdb.

          This specifies a program which is run (as root) before
          offering the Login window.  This may be used to change
          the appearance of the screen around the Login window or
          to put up other windows (e.g., you may want to run
          xconsole here). By default, no program is run.  The
          conventional name for a file used here is Xsetup. See
          the section Setup Program.

          This specifies a program which is run (as root) after
          the authentication process succeeds.  By default, no

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         7

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          program is run.  The conventional name for a file used
          here is Xstartup. See the section Startup Program.

          This specifies the session to be executed (not running
          as root). By default,  /usr/X11R6/bin/xterm is run.
          The conventional name is Xsession. See the section Ses-
          sion Program.

          This specifies a program which is run (as root) after
          the session terminates. By default, no program is run.
          The conventional name is Xreset. See the section Reset




          These numeric resources control the behavior of xdm
          when attempting to open intransigent servers.  openDe-
          lay is the length of the pause (in seconds) between
          successive attempts, openRepeat is the number of
          attempts to make, openTimeout is the amount of time to
          wait while actually attempting the open (i.e., the max-
          imum time spent in the connect(2) system call) and
          startAttempts is the number of times this entire pro-
          cess is done before giving up on the server.  After
          openRepeat attempts have been made, or if openTimeout
          seconds elapse in any particular attempt, xdm ter-
          minates and restarts the server, attempting to connect
          again. This process is repeated startAttempts times, at
          which point the display is declared dead and disabled.
          Although this behavior may seem arbitrary, it has been
          empirically developed and works quite well on most sys-
          tems.  The default values are 5 for openDelay, 5 for
          openRepeat, 30 for openTimeout and 4 for startAttempts.


          To discover when remote displays disappear, xdm occa-
          sionally pings them, using an X connection and XSync
          calls.  pingInterval specifies the time (in minutes)
          between each ping attempt, pingTimeout specifies the
          maximum amount of time (in minutes) to wait for the
          terminal to respond to the request.  If the terminal
          does not respond, the session is declared dead and ter-
          minated.  By default, both are set to 5 minutes.  If

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         8

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          you frequently use X terminals which can become iso-
          lated from the managing host, you may wish to increase
          this value.  The only worry is that sessions will con-
          tinue to exist after the terminal has been accidentally
          disabled. xdm will not ping local displays.  Although
          it would seem harmless, it is unpleasant when the
          workstation session is terminated as a result of the
          server hanging for NFS service and not responding to
          the ping.

          This boolean resource specifies whether the X server
          should be terminated when a session terminates (instead
          of resetting it).  This option can be used when the
          server tends to grow without bound over time, in order
          to limit the amount of time the server is run.  The
          default value is ``false.''

          Xdm sets the PATH environment variable for the session
          to this value.  It should be a colon separated list of
          directories; see sh(1) for a full description.
          ``:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/ucb'' is a common
          setting. The default value can be specified at build
          time in the X system configuration file with Defaul-

          Xdm sets the PATH environment variable for the startup
          and reset scripts to the value of this resource.  The
          default for this resource is specified at build time by
          the DefaultSystemPath entry in the system configuration
          file; ``/etc:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/ucb'' is
          a common choice. Note the absence of ``.'' from this
          entry.  This is a good practice to follow for root; it
          avoids many common Trojan Horse system penetration

          Xdm sets the SHELL environment variable for the startup
          and reset scripts to the value of this resource.  It is
          /bin/sh by default.

          If the default session fails to execute, xdm will fall
          back to this program.  This program is executed with no
          arguments, but executes using the same environment
          variables as the session would have had (see the sec-
          tion Session Program). By default,
          /usr/X11R6/bin/xterm is used.


XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                         9

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          To improve security, xdm grabs the server and keyboard
          while reading the login name and password. The grab-
          Server resource specifies if the server should be held
          for the duration of the name/password reading.  When
          ``false,'' the server is ungrabbed after the keyboard
          grab succeeds, otherwise the server is grabbed until
          just before the session begins.  The default is
          ``false.'' The grabTimeout resource specifies the max-
          imum time xdm will wait for the grab to succeed.  The
          grab may fail if some other client has the server
          grabbed, or possibly if the network latencies are very
          high.  This resource has a default value of 3 seconds;
          you should be cautious when raising it, as a user can
          be spoofed by a look-alike window on the display.  If
          the grab fails, xdm kills and restarts the server (if
          possible) and the session.


          authorize is a boolean resource which controls whether
          xdm generates and uses authorization for the local
          server connections.  If authorization is used, authName
          is a list of authorization mechanisms to use, separated
          by white space. XDMCP connections dynamically specify
          which authorization mechanisms are supported, so auth-
          Name is ignored in this case.  When authorize is set
          for a display and authorization is not available, the
          user is informed by having a different message
          displayed in the login widget.  By default, authorize
          is ``true.''  authName is ``MIT-MAGIC-COOKIE-1,'' or,
          if XDM-AUTHORIZATION-1 is available, ``XDM-

          This file is used to communicate the authorization data
          from xdm to the server, using the -auth server command
          line option. It should be kept in a directory which is
          not world-writable as it could easily be removed, disa-
          bling the authorization mechanism in the server. If not
          specified, a name is generated from
          DisplayManager.authDir and the name of the display.

          If set to ``false,'' disables the use of the unsecure-
          Greeting in the login window. See the section Authenti-
          cation Widget. The default is ``true.''

          The number of the signal xdm sends to reset the server.
          See the section Controlling the Server. The default is

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        10

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          1 (SIGHUP).

          The number of the signal xdm sends to terminate the
          server. See the section Controlling the Server. The
          default is 15 (SIGTERM).

          The original implementation of authorization in the
          sample server reread the authorization file at server
          reset time, instead of when checking the initial con-
          nection.  As xdm generates the authorization informa-
          tion just before connecting to the display, an old
          server would not get up-to-date authorization informa-
          tion. This resource causes xdm to send SIGHUP to the
          server after setting up the file, causing an additional
          server reset to occur, during which time the new
          authorization information will be read. The default is
          ``false,'' which will work for all MIT servers.

          When xdm is unable to write to the usual user authori-
          zation file ($HOME/.Xauthority), it creates a unique
          file name in this directory and points the environment
          variable XAUTHORITY at the created file.  It uses /tmp
          by default.


     First, the xdm configuration file should be set up. Make a
     directory (usually  /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm) to contain all
     of the relevant files.

     Here is a reasonable configuration file, which could be
     named xdm-config:

          DisplayManager.servers:            /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/Xservers
          DisplayManager.errorLogFile:       /var/log/xdm.log
          DisplayManager*resources:          /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/Xresources
          DisplayManager*startup:            /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/Xstartup
          DisplayManager*session:            /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/Xsession
          DisplayManager.pidFile:            /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/xdm-pid
          DisplayManager._0.authorize:       true
          DisplayManager*authorize:          false

     Note that this file mostly contains references to other
     files.  Note also that some of the resources are specified
     with ``*'' separating the components.  These resources can
     be made unique for each different display, by replacing the
     ``*'' with the display-name, but normally this is not very
     useful.  See the Resources section for a complete

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        11

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)



     The database file specified by the DisplayManager.accessFile
     provides information which xdm uses to control access from
     displays requesting XDMCP service.  This file contains three
     types of entries:  entries which control the response to
     Direct and Broadcast queries, entries which control the
     response to Indirect queries, and macro definitions.

     The format of the Direct entries is simple, either a host
     name or a pattern, which is distinguished from a host name
     by the inclusion of one or more meta characters (`*' matches
     any sequence of 0 or more characters, and `?' matches any
     single character) which are compared against the host name
     of the display device. If the entry is a host name, all com-
     parisons are done using network addresses, so any name which
     converts to the correct network address may be used. For
     patterns, only canonical host names are used in the com-
     parison, so ensure that you do not attempt to match aliases.
     Preceding either a host name or a pattern with a `!' charac-
     ter causes hosts which match that entry to be excluded.

     To only respond to Direct queries for a host or pattern, it
     can be followed by the optional ``NOBROADCAST'' keyword.
     This can be used to prevent an xdm server from appearing on
     menus based on Broadcast queries.

     An Indirect entry also contains a host name or pattern, but
     follows it with a list of host names or macros to which
     indirect queries should be sent.

     A macro definition contains a macro name and a list of host
     names and other macros that the macro expands to.  To dis-
     tinguish macros from hostnames, macro names start with a `%'
     character.  Macros may be nested.

     Indirect entries may also specify to have xdm run chooser to
     offer a menu of hosts to connect to.  See the section

     When checking access for a particular display host, each
     entry is scanned in turn and the first matching entry deter-
     mines the response.  Direct and Broadcast entries are
     ignored when scanning for an Indirect entry and vice-versa.

     Blank lines are ignored, `#' is treated as a comment delim-
     iter causing the rest of that line to be ignored, and `\new-
     line' causes the newline to be ignored, allowing indirect
     host lists to span multiple lines.

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        12

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

     Here is an example Xaccess file:

     # Xaccess - XDMCP access control file

     # Direct/Broadcast query entries

     !xtra.lcs.mit.edu   # disallow direct/broadcast service for xtra
     bambi.ogi.edu       # allow access from this particular display
     *.lcs.mit.edu       # allow access from any display in LCS

     *.deshaw.com        NOBROADCAST         # allow only direct access
     *.gw.com                                # allow direct and broadcast

     # Indirect query entries

     %HOSTS              expo.lcs.mit.edu xenon.lcs.mit.edu \
                         excess.lcs.mit.edu kanga.lcs.mit.edu

     extract.lcs.mit.edu xenon.lcs.mit.edu   #force extract to contact xenon
     !xtra.lcs.mit.edu   dummy               #disallow indirect access
     *.lcs.mit.edu       %HOSTS              #all others get to choose

     If compiled with IPv6 support, multicast address groups may
     also be included in the list of addresses indirect queries
     are set to.  Multicast addresses may be followed by an
     optional / character and hop count. If no hop count is
     specified, the multicast hop count defaults to 1, keeping
     the packet on the local network. For IPv4 multicasting, the
     hop count is used as the TTL.


     rincewind.sample.net ff02::1                 #IPv6 Multicast to ff02::1
                                                  #with a hop count of 1
     ponder.sample.net    CHOOSER  #Offer a menu of hosts
                                                  #who respond to IPv4 Multicast
                                                  # to with a TTL of 16


     For X terminals that do not offer a host menu for use with
     Broadcast or Indirect queries, the chooser program can do
     this for them. In the Xaccess file, specify ``CHOOSER'' as
     the first entry in the Indirect host list.  Chooser will
     send a Query request to each of the remaining host names in
     the list and offer a menu of all the hosts that respond.

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        13

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

     The list may consist of the word ``BROADCAST,'' in which
     case chooser will send a Broadcast instead, again offering a
     menu of all hosts that respond.  Note that on some operating
     systems, UDP packets cannot be broadcast, so this feature
     will not work.

     Example Xaccess file using chooser:

     extract.lcs.mit.edu  CHOOSER %HOSTS          #offer a menu of these hosts
     xtra.lcs.mit.edu     CHOOSER BROADCAST       #offer a menu of all hosts

     The program to use for chooser is specified by the
     DisplayManager.DISPLAY.chooser resource.  For more flexibil-
     ity at this step, the chooser could be a shell script.
     Chooser is the session manager here; it is run instead of a
     child xdm to manage the display.

     Resources for this program can be put into the file named by

     When the user selects a host, chooser prints the host
     chosen, which is read by the parent xdm, and exits. xdm
     closes its connection to the X server, and the server resets
     and sends another Indirect XDMCP request. xdm remembers the
     user's choice (for DisplayManager.choiceTimeout seconds) and
     forwards the request to the chosen host, which starts a ses-
     sion on that display.


     The following configuration directive is also defined for
     the Xaccess configuration file:

     LISTEN interface [list of multicast group addresses]
          interface may be a hostname or IP addresss representing
          a network interface on this machine, or the wildcard *
          to represent all available network interfaces.

     If one or more LISTEN lines are specified, xdm only listens
     for XDMCP connections on the specified interfaces. If multi-
     cast group addresses are listed on a listen line, xdm joins
     the multicast groups on the given interface.

     If no LISTEN lines are given, the original behavior of
     listening on all interfaces is preserved for backwards com-
     patibility. Additionally, if no LISTEN is specified, xdm
     joins the default XDMCP IPv6 multicast group, when compiled
     with IPv6 support.

     To disable listening for XDMCP connections altogther, a line
     of LISTEN with no addresses may be specified, or the previ-
     ously supported method of setting DisplayManager.requestPort
     to 0 may be used.

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        14

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

     LISTEN * ff02::1    # Listen on all interfaces and to the
                         # ff02::1 IPv6 multicast group.
     LISTEN  # Listen only on this interface, as long
                         # as no other listen directives appear in
                         # file.


     The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority has has assigned
     ff0X:0:0:0:0:0:0:12b as the permanently assigned range of
     multicast addresses for XDMCP. The X in the prefix may be
     replaced by any valid scope identifier, such as 1 for Node-
     Local, 2 for Link-Local, 5 for Site-Local, and so on.  (See
     IETF RFC 2373 or its replacement for further details and
     scope definitions.)  xdm defaults to listening on the Link-
     Local scope address ff02:0:0:0:0:0:0:12b to most closely
     match the old IPv4 subnet broadcast behavior.


     The resource DisplayManager.servers gives a server specifi-
     cation or, if the values starts with a slash (/), the name
     of a file containing server specifications, one per line.

     Each specification indicates a display which should con-
     stantly be managed and which is not using XDMCP. This method
     is used typically for local servers only.  If the resource
     or the file named by the resource is empty, xdm will offer
     XDMCP service only.

     Each specification consists of at least three parts:  a
     display name, a display class, a display type, and (for
     local servers) a command line to start the server.  A typi-
     cal entry for local display number 0 would be:

       :0 Digital-QV local /usr/X11R6/bin/X :0

     The display types are:

     local     local display: xdm must run the server
     foreign   remote display: xdm opens an X connection to a running server

     The display name must be something that can be passed in the
     -display option to an X program.  This string is used to
     generate the display-specific resource names, so be careful
     to match the names (e.g., use ``:0 Sun-CG3 local
     /usr/X11R6/bin/X :0'' instead of ``localhost:0 Sun-CG3 local
     /usr/X11R6/bin/X :0'' if your other resources are specified
     as ``DisplayManager._0.session'').  The display class por-
     tion is also used in the display-specific resources, as the
     class of the resource.  This is useful if you have a large
     collection of similar displays (such as a corral of X

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        15

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

     terminals) and would like to set resources for groups of
     them.  When using XDMCP, the display is required to specify
     the display class, so the manual for your particular X ter-
     minal should document the display class string for your dev-
     ice.  If it doesn't, you can run xdm in debug mode and look
     at the resource strings which it generates for that device,
     which will include the class string.

     When xdm starts a session, it sets up authorization data for
     the server.  For local servers, xdm passes ``-auth
     filename'' on the server's command line to point it at its
     authorization data. For XDMCP servers, xdm passes the
     authorization data to the server via the Accept XDMCP


     The Xresources file is loaded onto the display as a resource
     database using xrdb. As the authentication widget reads this
     database before starting up, it usually contains parameters
     for that widget:

          xlogin*login.translations: #override\
               Ctrl<Key>R: abort-display()\n\/&
               <Key>F1: set-session-argument(failsafe) finish-field()\n\
               <Key>Return: set-session-argument() finish-field()
          xlogin*borderWidth: 3
          xlogin*greeting: CLIENTHOST
          #ifdef COLOR
          xlogin*greetColor: CadetBlue
          xlogin*failColor: red

     Please note the translations entry; it specifies a few new
     translations for the widget which allow users to escape from
     the default session (and avoid troubles that may occur in
     it).  Note that if #override is not specified, the default
     translations are removed and replaced by the new value, not
     a very useful result as some of the default translations are
     quite useful (such as ``<Key>: insert-char ()'' which
     responds to normal typing).

     This file may also contain resources for the setup program
     and chooser.


     The Xsetup file is run after the server is reset, but before
     the Login window is offered. The file is typically a shell
     script. It is run as root, so should be careful about secu-
     rity. This is the place to change the root background or
     bring up other windows that should appear on the screen
     along with the Login widget.

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        16

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

     In addition to any specified by DisplayManager.exportList,
     the following environment variables are passed:

          DISPLAY        the associated display name
          PATH           the value of DisplayManager.DISPLAY.systemPath
          SHELL          the value of DisplayManager.DISPLAY.systemShell
          XAUTHORITY     may be set to an authority file

     Note that since xdm grabs the keyboard, any other windows
     will not be able to receive keyboard input.  They will be
     able to interact with the mouse, however; beware of poten-
     tial security holes here. If
     DisplayManager.DISPLAY.grabServer is set, Xsetup will not be
     able to connect to the display at all. Resources for this
     program can be put into the file named by

     Here is a sample Xsetup script:

          # Xsetup_0 - setup script for one workstation
          xcmsdb < /usr/X11R6/lib/monitors/alex.0
          xconsole -geometry 480x130-0-0 -notify -verbose -exitOnFail &


     The authentication widget reads a name/password pair from
     the keyboard.  Nearly every imaginable parameter can be con-
     trolled with a resource.  Resources for this widget should
     be put into the file named by
     DisplayManager.DISPLAY.resources.  All of these have reason-
     able default values, so it is not necessary to specify any
     of them.

     xlogin.Login.width, xlogin.Login.height, xlogin.Login.x,
          The geometry of the Login widget is normally computed
          automatically.  If you wish to position it elsewhere,
          specify each of these resources.

          The color used to display the typed-in user name.

          The font used to display the typed-in user name.

          A string which identifies this window. The default is
          ``X Window System.''

          When X authorization is requested in the configuration

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        17

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          file for this display and none is in use, this greeting
          replaces the standard greeting.  The default is ``This
          is an unsecure session''

          The font used to display the greeting.

          The color used to display the greeting.

          The string displayed to prompt for a user name. Xrdb
          strips trailing white space from resource values, so to
          add spaces at the end of the prompt (usually a nice
          thing), add spaces escaped with backslashes.  The
          default is ``Login:  ''

          The string displayed to prompt for a password. The
          default is ``Password:  ''

          The font used to display both prompts.

          The color used to display both prompts.

          A message which is displayed when the authentication
          fails. The default is ``Login incorrect''

          The font used to display the failure message.

          The color used to display the failure message.

          The number of seconds that the failure message is
          displayed. The default is 30.

          If set to ``false'', don't allow root (and any other
          user with uid = 0) to log in directly. The default is

          If set to ``true'', allow an otherwise failing password
          match to succeed if the account does not require a
          password at all. The default is ``false'', so only
          users that have passwords assigned can log in.

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        18

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          This specifies the translations used for the login
          widget.  Refer to the X Toolkit documentation for a
          complete discussion on translations.  The default
          translation table is:

               Ctrl<Key>H:    delete-previous-character() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>D:    delete-character() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>B:    move-backward-character() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>F:    move-forward-character() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>A:    move-to-begining() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>E:    move-to-end() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>K:    erase-to-end-of-line() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>U:    erase-line() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>X:    erase-line() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>C:    restart-session() \n\
               Ctrl<Key>\\:   abort-session() \n\
               <Key>BackSpace:delete-previous-character() \n\
               <Key>Delete:   delete-previous-character() \n\
               <Key>Return:   finish-field() \n\
               <Key>:         insert-char() \

     The actions which are supported by the widget are:

          Erases the character before the cursor.

          Erases the character after the cursor.

          Moves the cursor backward.

          Moves the cursor forward.

          (Apologies about the spelling error.) Moves the cursor
          to the beginning of the editable text.

          Moves the cursor to the end of the editable text.

          Erases all text after the cursor.

          Erases the entire text.

          If the cursor is in the name field, proceeds to the

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        19

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          password field; if the cursor is in the password field,
          checks the current name/password pair.  If the
          name/password pair is valid, xdm starts the session.
          Otherwise the failure message is displayed and the user
          is prompted again.

          Terminates and restarts the server.

          Terminates the server, disabling it.  This action is
          not accessible in the default configuration. There are
          various reasons to stop xdm on a system console, such
          as when shutting the system down, when using xdmshell,
          to start another type of server, or to generally access
          the console. Sending xdm a SIGHUP will restart the
          display.  See the section Controlling XDM.

          Resets the X server and starts a new session.  This can
          be used when the resources have been changed and you
          want to test them or when the screen has been overwrit-
          ten with system messages.

          Inserts the character typed.

          Specifies a single word argument which is passed to the
          session at startup. See the section Session Program.

          Disables access control in the server.  This can be
          used when the .Xauthority file cannot be created by
          xdm. Be very careful using this; it might be better to
          disconnect the machine from the network before doing

     On some systems (OpenBSD) the user's shell must be listed in
     /etc/shells to allow login through xdm. The normal password
     and account expiration dates are enforced too.


     The Xstartup program is run as root when the user logs in.
     It is typically a shell script. Since it is run as root,
     Xstartup should be very careful about security.  This is the
     place to put commands which add entries to /etc/utmp (the
     sessreg program may be useful here), mount users' home
     directories from file servers, or abort the session if
     logins are not allowed.

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        20

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

     In addition to any specified by DisplayManager.exportList,
     the following environment variables are passed:

          DISPLAY        the associated display name
          HOME           the initial working directory of the user
          LOGNAME        the user name
          USER           the user name
          PATH           the value of DisplayManager.DISPLAY.systemPath
          SHELL          the value of DisplayManager.DISPLAY.systemShell
          XAUTHORITY     may be set to an authority file

     No arguments are passed to the script. Xdm waits until this
     script exits before starting the user session.  If the exit
     value of this script is non-zero, xdm discontinues the ses-
     sion and starts another authentication cycle.

     The sample Xstartup file shown here prevents login while the
     file /etc/nologin exists. Thus this is not a complete exam-
     ple, but simply a demonstration of the available functional-

     Here is a sample Xstartup script:

          # Xstartup
          # This program is run as root after the user is verified
          if [ -f /etc/nologin ]; then
               xmessage -file /etc/nologin -timeout 30 -center
               exit 1
          sessreg -a -l $DISPLAY -x /usr/X11R6/lib/xdm/Xservers $LOGNAME
          exit 0


     The Xsession program is the command which is run as the
     user's session. It is run with the permissions of the
     authorized user.

     In addition to any specified by DisplayManager.exportList,
     the following environment variables are passed:

          DISPLAY        the associated display name
          HOME           the initial working directory of the user
          LOGNAME        the user name
          USER           the user name
          PATH           the value of DisplayManager.DISPLAY.userPath
          SHELL          the user's default shell (from getpwnam)

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        21

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

          XAUTHORITY     may be set to a non-standard authority file
          KRB5CCNAME     may be set to a Kerberos credentials cache name

     At most installations, Xsession should look in $HOME for a
     file .xsession, which contains commands that each user would
     like to use as a session. Xsession should also implement a
     system default session if no user-specified session exists.
     See the section Typical Usage.

     An argument may be passed to this program from the authenti-
     cation widget using the `set-session-argument' action.  This
     can be used to select different styles of session.  One good
     use of this feature is to allow the user to escape from the
     ordinary session when it fails.  This allows users to repair
     their own .xsession if it fails, without requiring adminis-
     trative intervention. The example following demonstrates
     this feature.

     This example recognizes the special ``failsafe'' mode,
     specified in the translations in the Xresources file, to
     provide an escape from the ordinary session.  It also
     requires that the .xsession file be executable so we don't
     have to guess what shell it wants to use.

          # Xsession
          # This is the program that is run as the client
          # for the display manager.

          case $# in
               case $1 in
                    exec xterm -geometry 80x24-0-0


          if [ -f "$startup" ]; then
               exec "$startup"
               if [ -f "$resources" ]; then
                    xrdb -load "$resources"
               twm &
               xman -geometry +10-10 &

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        22

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)

               exec xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls

     The user's .xsession file might look something like this
     example.  Don't forget that the file must have execute per-
          #! /bin/csh
          # no -f in the previous line so .cshrc gets run to set $PATH
          twm &
          xrdb -merge "$HOME/.Xresources"
          emacs -geometry +0+50 &
          xbiff -geometry -430+5 &
          xterm -geometry -0+50 -ls


     Symmetrical with Xstartup, the Xreset script is run after
     the user session has terminated.  Run as root, it should
     contain commands that undo the effects of commands in
     Xstartup, removing entries from /etc/utmp or unmounting
     directories from file servers.  The environment variables
     that were passed to Xstartup are also passed to Xreset.

     A sample Xreset script:
          # Xreset
          # This program is run as root after the session ends
          sessreg -d -l $DISPLAY -x /usr/X11R6/lib/xdm/Xservers $LOGNAME
          exit 0


     Xdm controls local servers using POSIX signals.  SIGHUP is
     expected to reset the server, closing all client connections
     and performing other cleanup duties.  SIGTERM is expected to
     terminate the server. If these signals do not perform the
     expected actions, the resources
     DisplayManager.DISPLAY.resetSignal and
     DisplayManager.DISPLAY.termSignal can specify alternate sig-

     To control remote terminals not using XDMCP, xdm searches
     the window hierarchy on the display and uses the protocol
     request KillClient in an attempt to clean up the terminal
     for the next session.  This may not actually kill all of the
     clients, as only those which have created windows will be
     noticed.  XDMCP provides a more sure mechanism; when xdm
     closes its initial connection, the session is over and the
     terminal is required to close all other connections.

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        23

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)


     Xdm responds to two signals: SIGHUP and SIGTERM.  When sent
     a SIGHUP, xdm rereads the configuration file, the access
     control file, and the servers file.  For the servers file,
     it notices if entries have been added or removed.  If a new
     entry has been added, xdm starts a session on the associated
     display.  Entries which have been removed are disabled
     immediately, meaning that any session in progress will be
     terminated without notice and no new session will be

     When sent a SIGTERM, xdm terminates all sessions in progress
     and exits.  This can be used when shutting down the system.

     Xdm attempts to mark its various sub-processes for ps(1) by
     editing the command line argument list in place.  Because
     xdm can't allocate additional space for this task, it is
     useful to start xdm with a reasonably long command line
     (using the full path name should be enough). Each process
     which is servicing a display is marked -display.


     To add an additional local display, add a line for it to the
     Xservers file. (See the section Local Server Specification.)

     Examine the display-specific resources in xdm-config (e.g.,
     DisplayManager._0.authorize) and consider which of them
     should be copied for the new display. The default xdm-config
     has all the appropriate lines for displays :0 and :1.


     You can use xdm to run a single session at a time, using the
     4.3 init options or other suitable daemon by specifying the
     server on the command line:

          xdm -server :0 SUN-3/60CG4 local /usr/X11R6/bin/X :0

     Or, you might have a file server and a collection of X ter-
     minals.  The configuration for this is identical to the sam-
     ple above, except the Xservers file would look like

          extol:0 VISUAL-19 foreign
          exalt:0 NCD-19 foreign
          explode:0 NCR-TOWERVIEW3000 foreign

     This directs xdm to manage sessions on all three of these
     terminals.  See the section Controlling Xdm for a descrip-
     tion of using signals to enable and disable these terminals
     in a manner reminiscent of init(8).

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        24

XDM(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               XDM(1)


     One thing that xdm isn't very good at doing is coexisting
     with other window systems.  To use multiple window systems
     on the same hardware, you'll probably be more interested in


                         the default configuration file

     $HOME/.Xauthority   user authorization file where xdm stores
                         keys for clients to read

                         the default chooser

     /usr/X11R6/bin/xrdb the default resource database loader

     /usr/X11R6/bin/X    the default server

                         the default session program and failsafe

                         the default place for authorization

     /tmp/K5C<display>   Kerberos credentials cache


     X(7), xinit(1), xauth(1), Xsecurity(7), sessreg(1),
     X Display Manager Control Protocol


     Keith Packard, MIT X Consortium

XFree86                   Version 4.5.0                        25

Generated on 2021-12-07 11:07:08 by $MirOS: src/scripts/roff2htm,v 1.103 2021/01/23 20:24:35 tg Exp $ — This product includes material provided by mirabilos.

These manual pages and other documentation are copyrighted by their respective writers; their sources are available at the project’s CVSweb, AnonCVS and other mirrors. The rest is Copyright © 2002–2021 MirBSD.

This manual page’s HTML representation is supposed to be valid XHTML/1.1; if not, please send a bug report — diffs preferred.