Alternative to x11/gnome3 ?

Victor Sudakov vas at
Wed Aug 1 02:43:31 UTC 2018

Polytropon wrote:


> > 
> > The idea is that a second (third etc) user should be able to login
> > without the first user logging out (and closing all her programs
> > thereby), as available on Linux and Windows ("logoff" vs "switch
> > user").
> This kind of session management was first prominently
> introduced on Mac OS X (early v10).

I think "fast user switching" was first prominently introduced in
Windows XP in 2001. When was Mac OS X v10 released?

> > > the switching you are looking for was available on mate 1.12 I
> > > think... 
> > > 
> > > the distribution uses GDM 2.18.9  with  the full gdmsetup & friends... 
> > > On NetBSD we use gdm 2.20.11   that is quite the same one... and yes,
> > > we have mate 2.19 on NetBSD-8.0 for raspberry pi.
> > 
> > Am I right that gdm is the absolute requirement for user switching to
> > work, no other display manager can do that?
> It is a combination both of the desktop environment being
> able to store program states (which programs opened, with
> which files, in which state) and restore them again, maybe
> like a form of "memory to file and back". 

No, this is not the way it works, at least on Linux. I've researched
how it works on my son's Ubuntu. All programs of logged-in users
remain running, it's not done via storing program state, killing and
restoring them. In fact, every logged-in user has her own Xserver.
Only one Xserver at a time is "the current graphical console" and has
access to the video card, but they all are in the ps output.

I don't know however how these multiple Xservers are managed and
selected, perhaps gdm does all the job, or systemd... Never figured

> Gnome 2 could do
> this in combination with gdm. While the gnome session was
> responsible for the storing / restoring part, gdm would
> do the login of a different user, and also keep track of
> users still logged in (in "stored state").
> As Mate and Cinnamon claim to be Gnome 2 forks, it's at
> least left to imagination that they should also include
> this kind of functionality.

So, what is my chance of getting a working "fast user switching" solution
with Mate? Is there a way for me as an average X user to enable this
functionality, without much hacking?

> > And while we are at it, I have a couple of questions on Mate
> > (now I have mate-1.18.0 from the vanilla FreeBSD packages):
> > 
> > 1. How do I totally disable all volume automounting in Mate/Caja? I'm quite
> > happy with the system automonter and don't need no gvfs and other
> > userland mounts (even more because they don't support Cyrillic
> > filenames correctly).
> There is a gvfs configuration entry (via gconf2, if I remember
> correctly) that lets you select which devices or filesystem
> types to mount or _not_ to mount. 

I want to mount none. In fact, I want that even gvfsd is not started.

> In the past, I had the exact opposite problem: I _wanted_ to
> use the automounter from Gnome, but it didn't always work.
> Gnome's automounter relies on HAL, so maybe changing the HAL
> configuration is also a way to deal with it. So fiddling with
> HAL, fighting system permissions from devfs.conf and devd.conf,
> creating a "umount wrapper" which also calls media eject for
> optical devices, and even adding a desktop icon "USB unmount"
> were required to make it _partially_ work...
> From you can
> check questions 2, 3, and 6.

Thanks, maybe I'll try all that 
"/desktop/gnome/volume_manager/automount_drives false" stuff.

How do I set this globally for all my users, not just for the current user?
I did not find such an option for gconftool-2.

> > 2. The sound control app in Mate is completely unrelated to the real
> > sound system of FreeBSD (as of 11.2 and mate-1.18.0). The volume and
> > input/output controls do nothing. I have to use the good old
> > /usr/sbin/mixer and "sysctl hw.snd.default_unit" to manipulate with
> > sound. Is this my misconfiguration or Mate's fault?
> Is it using the wrong mixer? Can you select a different mixer
> device for the Gnome / Mate mixer control?

What's "Mate mixer control" ? The Mate sound app lists all my
soundcards correctly (maybe it just takes them from /dev/sndstat) but
selecting any of the devices and trying to set parameters (set volume
or test speakers) does exactly nothing.

> I fully understand that most GUI software is ported from Linux,
> it's not a native BSD development result, so maybe it expects
> some ALSA instead of the standard OSS...

A question to you as you said you are a Mate user. Does this sound app
work personally for you? Can you at least set the volume and run the
speaker test from it?

Victor Sudakov,  VAS4-RIPE, VAS47-RIPN

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