Ubuntu developers are working on a login feature for gnome desktop, which looks a lot like windows xp login screen, called “Gdm Face Browser”. This is still in it’s early planning stage, and perhaps we could see it in the next installation of Ubuntu (Hardy Heron).
Here is a mock up of the GDM feature:
According to the project page:
“The general advantage of a face-browser for login is the avoidance of superfluous typing. This helps speed up the login-procedure of all people, who are no touch-typists or experienced keyboard users. But even experienced users can enjoy the convenience of being lazy occasionally. It is still possible to login successfully without selecting an image at all just by typing in the login-name and password.
only one user on system: Although an automatic login would streamline the bootup-to-desktop cycle for a single-user system (single in terms of one real person, not “user” in terms of unix-privileges), security-concerns strongly advice against this. The single user will see only her/his photo in the face-browser.
multiple users on system (<=100): In this case a user can either just select her/his image to tell the computer their login-name or start typing the first few characters from her/his login-name and watch the face-browser filter the set of displayed images to fewer images in order to simplify locating their own image in the visible set of images.
multiple users on system (>100): Scalability-issues regarding texture-usage (especially on low-end graphics hardware) and network-latency (setups with that many users are hardly run of local harddisks) demand a fallback to a non-face-browser mode of the gdm-greeter. In that case plain text-entry widgets for login-name and password are used.”
You can read more about this interesting feature over here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DesktopTeam/Specs/GdmFaceBrowser