i first had the idea of creating a better login for linux, when i was working for IBM in the summer. a really big company had lots of 5250 terminals standing around. OS/400 would allow you (just like fancylogin) to insert an ascii-graphic with colors, etc., so all terminals were showing the company's emblem. this really looked great. so why is it, that one of the best server-systems like linux has such a boring login-screen? even Novell Netware has at least bits of color!
the more i studied popular login-programs, such as Julienne Haugh's shadow-login, the more i realized that much more capabilities for security and logging are needed, in order to guarantee a secure system. fancylogin shouldn't only be a a fancy login but also a secure and very functional one. And as everybody who wants to do something on a system must be authenticated by a login, a good login-program is one of the most important keys to a secure and reliable system. fancylogin should be the answer.
the first thing i did was write a litte fancy.o with really weird configuration (the signon.*-files). then i had a look at the sources of the shadow-login-program and included a call to my fancy_prompt-routine. that was all. but as i didn't know anything about that code, i decided to take my fancy.o and write my own login-program around it, because i had a lot of improvements in mind. that was in the christmas-holidays of 1999. after those holiday fancylogin 0.99.5 was out, and the first login program that supported techniques from shadow AND from HP-UX-login (usertty). that was when Andreas Krennmair joined the team. soon we released 0.99.6, and for the first time announced it in c.o.l.a. and on freshmeat.net. on the first day of the release we got 5000 hits, and our school-server had three times the workload it usually had. that was when we put the project on sourceforge.
if i had to give a codename to fancylogin 0.99.7 i would call it "0.99.7 - the great odyssee". first we released some minor patches and fixes in 0.99.6b, but we had great plans for 0.99.7. priority number one was an improved way of configuring everything. then Matthew Wormald wrote an email doing suggestions on fancylogin. one of these were to support ANSI-files, which was the solution of our dilemma. then i worked on support for ANSI-files, but just couldn't get an ANSI-interpreted terminal together with ncurses. after a few months we decided to forget about the ANSIs, because it was too difficult to implement. Andreas Krennmair wrote flted, a program to create signon*- configurations. it should never really be released, because he finally managed to do it. in fancylogin-0.99.7-alpha2 everything was finished already, with fancylogin supporting the signon.defs and two ANSI-files. but i wanted to have everything in one file, so themes could be easily installed, and every theme-related information was in one file. so i decided to put everything into a structure, and wrote fltcreate and the neccessary modifications to fancy.o, and fancylogin-0.99.7 was finished. the first fancylogin a normal human could actually configure and write themes for!