Console display manager based on CDM
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Latest commit 8000627 Sep 22, 2018


AUR GitHub release

The TDM display manager is a wrapper script for startx. The main development branch is develop. The master branch is used for releases.

It has a helper script, called tdmctl to manage tdm sessions. Each tdm session is a symlink to an executable script that will be called in place of the final exec in .xinitrc.

There are two types of tdm sessions :

  • X: this session is started within the .xinitrc file as part of the startx call (use this for X window manager/desktop environments)
  • extra: this session is started in the shell (use this for wayland sessions, tmux wrappers, etc...)

A tdm session can also be either active or inactive. An active tdm session is present in the tdm session selection screen, while an inactive tdm session is not shown. If the path is not an executable file, the tdm session is always counted as inactive.

As shown below, TDM has both a text and dialog mode:

Text mode

Dialog mode


Run make install from the source directory (you can optionally set DESTDIR or PREFIX).

The dependencies are :

  • xinit
  • dialog (optional, for the curses interface)


  1. To install tdm for your local user, run
tdmctl init
tdmctl add <session name> <executable path> [X(default)/extra]

This will copy the tdm configuration directory to your home directory.

  1. You must then edit your .profile (or .bash_profile, .zprofile, etc...) file to call tdm as last command (this will launch tdm once you log into a tty). If you want to allow multiple X sessions, you must use the --disable-xrunning-check option.

  2. In your .xinitrc file, you must then replace the exec line with exec tdm --xstart, which will start your X session (if you do not have a .xinitrc file, create a new one with this line in it).

See also the ArchWiki page.

Return value

If no session was executed, returns 1. Otherwise 0.


There are two scripts in the TDM configuration directory ($HOME/.tdm) that are run at the begin and end of tdm.

  • tdminit is run prior to the selection screen (when tdm is called without --xstart)
  • tdmexit executed right before the startx command is called (in the tdm --xstart run)

tdmctl commands

Initialize the config directory

tdmctl init

List available (active) sessions

tdmctl list: list available sessions  (X and extra)

List cached (inactive) sessions

tdmctl cache

See which command is called by the session

tdmctl check <session>
tdmctl check extra/<session>

Show or set default session

tdmctl default [session]

Add a session (it is immediately active)

tdmctl add <name> <path> [X(default)/extra]

Remove session

tdmctl remove <session>

Enable or disable session

tdmctl enable/disable <session>

Migrate configuration to XDG compliant directory

tdmctl migrate


This project follows the semantic versioning guidelines provided at with versions numbered as MAJOR.MINOR. REVISION :

  • MAJOR is increased after a backwards incompatible API change.
  • MINOR is increased after a backwards compatible API change.
  • REVISION is increased after a change with no effect on the API.

Any version with MAJOR being 0 should not be considered stable nor should its API.

Versions history can be found in the file

Repository structure

This repository uses git flow.


This file is part of tdm.

tdm is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

tdm is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with tdm. If not, see


Currently maintained by dopsi.

This is a fork of the TDM display manager program by mytbk. The original source can be found at here.


  • Helvethor
  • hartwork
  • DuncanvR
  • amakovec
  • fellowseb