If you want to stop seeing the username/password prompt when you start Ubuntu, click System ^ Administration ^ Login Window. Then click the Security tab, and put a check in Enable Automatic Login. From the User dropdown list, select your username. Then click Close. Bear in mind that this is obviously insecure because it gives virtually anybody access to your desktop and files.
There is a slight downside if you're using a computer with a wifi network card: a dialog box will appear each time you logon asking you to enter your password to unlock your keyring. This is needed by NetworkManager so it can grab your wifi network key from the protected keyring password file. Previously, logging in manually was enough to unlock the keyring.
Short of massively overhauling Ubuntu's authentication and security system, there are a handful of possible solutions—using Wicd to replace NetworkManager or using Ubuntu's older network configuration tool. see Tips Tip 41, on the following page, and Tip 43, on page 103, respectively.
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