This is the GDM theme I am using on Gentoo, this theme is the best amongst the many themes I got with this ebuild. And it looks very nice and professional. I used the login in a new window option in Gnome which uses Xnest to open a window displaying the Gnome desktop manager to take this screenshot. Unlike with the Ubuntu distribution, the GDM login manager distributed with Gentoo has the option to configure the appearance of the manager and choose various themes to customize your login screen. But Ubuntu is just becoming a locked down version of Linux that does not allow as much customization as this does. There is a discussion here [ubuntu.com] about changing the GDM themes and you could do this in previous releases of Ubuntu, but that feature was removed. I can not understand why you would want to remove such a cool feature, there are heaps of themes available for GDM and it is a shame that Ubuntu users can not install them. I used emerge -a gdm then emerge -a gdm-themes redhat-artwork to install the login manager and the collection of themes that I am using. This weblink: http://www.ubuntugeek.com/how-to-install-ubuntu-tweak-in-ubuntu-10-04lucid-lynx.html#more-5496 is to the Ubuntu tweak utility that can configure the login manager, but this is not the same thing as being able to configure the login manager just by using a menu.
This window shown below is the configuration menu to select GDM themes and options. This is what Ubuntu and Mint are lacking. Being able to configure the login screen is what you should expect from a supposedly open and free operating system like Linux, but if they keep removing and locking down features it will end up as a glorified version of Windows. After trying out the Unity desktop and seeing what the future of the Linux desktop is I think I prefer Gnome 2. Taking features out of Gnome to simplify the desktop is not what should happen to a desktop environment that we are quite fond of.
But this seems to be the case with these distributions, that the good and useful features of Gnome are removed and make way for other features like the aforementioned Unity desktop, which is rather like the Macintosh operating system in appearance. There is always Xfce if you want a fast and stable desktop, but if you are not necessarily enamored with the direction the Linux desktop is taking then you should be able to install the Gnome 2 desktop for now. FreeBSD would still have the Gnome 2 packages and would not have anything like Unity for a good while. The version of Gnome supplied for the FreeBSD UNIX distribution is 2.32.1, the same as Gentoo. The Gnome 1.0 desktop was quite different to the Gnome 2 desktop seen in Ubuntu, but it was quite usable. It is rather reminiscent of Windows `95, but with more stability and enjoyment than Windows `95 gave it`s users. Even the Windows `95 OSR2 release could not save it. The installation of Internet explorer 4 gave Windows `95 a web enabled Active Desktop desktop toolbars displaying various links to AOL, Disney and MSNBC News among others, as well as allowing you to set a web page as the wallpaper. But looking back at it today, it is rather pointless to be honest. I remember the very simple 16 color icons that came with Windows `95 and even the icons from Windows 3.1, they were quite simplistic compared to the icons in Windows Vista and 7.