Agreed! While Slim "works" it's really just a stopgap and I'm not happy with it at all. Sure, GDM has gone completely crazy and I can completely understand why it was replaced with Slim. But I also hope that we can find a solution to this (I was even considering replacing Slim with PCDM from PC-BSD/TrueOS which works nicely but has that Qt looks that wouldn't fit into GhostBSD and that I personally don't like at all).
From the Linux world I'd say that LXDM would fit us best. It's somewhat light-weight, has all the functionality that most people probably need and can be made pretty nice looking. The problem there seems to be that one (?) Linuxism it makes use of that has so far prevented it to be ported to FreeBSD. Too bad...
I must say that I don't particularly like Lightdm but it's modular approach (different greeters for the various TKs) is rather nice.
MDM is something that I've used a while on the Mint box that I had set up for my wife in the past. It works well but I'm not entirely convinced that it'd be a good option. The Linux Mint team does good work at making a very user friendly distro but in the past they had massive problems with neglected security and things like that. I wouldn't bet a high amount on the high quality of their work. Also they tend to bloat things up unnecessarily.
For that reason I took a look at "what else" there is (leaving out Qt-based stuff and things like that):
- Entrance - Enlightenment's take at a DM. Toolkit agnostic (uses the EFS). Experimental and obviously unmaintained.
- Enter - Looks like a one-man show that didn't get too far. Might still have value as a reference
- Orthos - OpenGL only DM. Nice idea but long dead
- Qingy - Minimalistic, makes use of Framebuffer and doesn't use X itself. Supports session selection. Nice idea but currently unmaintained.
And then there's one not too many people know about: ELMA
. This has been an experiment by the Equinox project (responsible for the EDE desktop
). It makes use of the extremely light-weight toolkit FLTK and the "edelibs" (both are available in FreeBSD packages, the later for some reason merged into the ede package - this should be split off if I ever find the time...). Elma has a very nice theming engine and even though the code is quite old now, it still just compiles using today's modern compilers (I've tried it in early January).
I know the author since I helped a bit with EDE in the past (doing package work and things like that) and asked him about Elma. If it's not different from the rest of EDE, it's written in C++ but mostly in a "C-like" way and should be rather readable code. I also know that the author is also into Python and we talked about pyFLTK in the past. Maybe a DM written in Python could be a worthwile project? If it's portable (and light-weight) I'd assume that there would also be quite some Linux folks interested in such a thing and maybe a healthy project could emerge from it. Just thinking.