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Old 07-07-2012, 11:17 AM   #1
Chris.Bristol
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Starting a window manager


I have had a problem with (the latest versions of) several distributions (Debian, Linux MATE, Ubuntu), presumably all caused by the same thing. I think it is a problem which anyone who has had one Gnome distribution on their computer then installs a different one might come across.

I can fix it for a login session as follows:

Debian
Debian.....requires "metacity --replace &" in Startup Applications

Ubuntu (which has gnome-session installed):
..Gnome....................just works
..Gnome Classic........requires "metacity --replace &" in Startup Applications
..Unity.......................requires "compiz --replace &" in Startup Applications
..Unity 2D.................requires "metacity --replace &" in Startup Applications and still only half works

Mint
Mint-Cinnamon..........just works (not useable because it crashes frequently though)
Mint-MATE...............requires "metacity --replace &" in Startup Applications

I think there must be a startup file somewhere which is missing the command to start the appropriate window manager, but when I've posted on the forums for those distributions the only suggestions I have had are:
* to delete directories such as .config - I have deleted loads of directories without any effect.
* to backup, format the disk and replace my data - that is definitely much too drastic when probably all I need to do is to change one line in a configuration file.

Is there someone around who understands Linux well enough to know how the window manager should be started?

Last edited by Chris.Bristol; 07-07-2012 at 11:55 AM.
 
Old 07-07-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
macemoneta
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The window manager is started automatically; in your case it appears to be crashing and not autorestarting during the initialization. You appear to be able to restart it later after initialization is complete. This is why folks are telling you to do a fresh install and restore your data; the configuration has been corrupted somewhere. You can spend a week or two tracing and debugging to isolate the cause, or spend an hour or two doing a clean install and data restore.
 
Old 07-07-2012, 12:26 PM   #3
Chris.Bristol
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I have three partitions, / /swap and /home. I formatted the first two when I installed Linux. If I just do a backup of /home, won't I backup all the configuration files which are causing the problem and so retain the problem. Would I not need to select only certain directories within /home to backup? If that is the case could I not just delete all those which were not in the list and perhaps re-install afterwards?

Last edited by Chris.Bristol; 07-07-2012 at 12:27 PM.
 
Old 07-07-2012, 01:15 PM   #4
macemoneta
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You don't want to globally restore /home; just your actual data (e.g., Documents, Video, Music, etc.). The problem can also exist in system directories (/etc, /var, /lib). Pretend your hard drive just failed hard. Install the OS, selectively restore your data.
 
Old 07-07-2012, 01:35 PM   #5
Chris.Bristol
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So is there any point in backup and restore? Couldn't I just delete everything except Documents etc? Isn't the effect the same?
 
Old 07-07-2012, 01:45 PM   #6
macemoneta
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It is if you are willing to reinstall if you accidentally delete a system file. It's usually easier to retrieve the file from backup. This is especially true if it's something you've customized (typically a /etc file). Your backup strategy is a function of your usage. For a simple desktop, backing up Documents may be enough. For a complex highly customized server it's probably better to run a full backup.
 
Old 07-07-2012, 02:00 PM   #7
Chris.Bristol
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It's only a home computer and I backup everything in /home. There's no way I'd take the backup and restore route though. Simply not worth the risk of something going wrong with a DVD. I'd rather just keep running the bodge command "metacity --replace &".

I might consider the deletion method. I'd have to delete all the files (including hidden ones) in /home except the /Documents etc directories and find and delete any hidden files which were in the /Documents etc directories as well I suppose. It's no problem to reinstall the operating system.

Last edited by Chris.Bristol; 07-07-2012 at 02:05 PM.
 
Old 07-10-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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I expect there must be a log file somewhere which I could check, I found quite a lot about Unity in .xsession-errors.

Code:
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] bool KeyMonitor::registerEvents(): Could not open device:  Virtual core pointer 
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] bool KeyMonitor::registerEvents(): Could not open device:  Virtual core keyboard 
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] static void WindowImageProvider::activateComposite(): Server supports the Composite extension (ver 0.4)
** Message: applet now removed from the notification area
** Message: using fallback from indicator to GtkStatusIcon

** (nautilus:4116): WARNING **: Can not get _NET_WORKAREA

** (nautilus:4116): WARNING **: Can not determine workarea, guessing at layout
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] libindicator: Desktop file '/usr/share/applications/libreoffice-writer.desktop' is using a deprecated format for its actions that will be dropped soon.
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] libindicator: Desktop file '/usr/share/applications/libreoffice-calc.desktop' is using a deprecated format for its actions that will be dropped soon.
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] libindicator: Desktop file '/usr/share/applications/libreoffice-impress.desktop' is using a deprecated format for its actions that will be dropped soon.
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] libindicator: Desktop file '/usr/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop' is using a deprecated format for its actions that will be dropped soon.
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] libindicator: Desktop file '/usr/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop' is using a deprecated format for its actions that will be dropped soon.
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] virtual void Hotkey::connectNotify(const char*): Grabbing hotkey "Meta+S" 
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] virtual void Hotkey::connectNotify(const char*): Grabbing hotkey "Meta+T" 
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] Object::connect: No such signal Lenses::roleNamesChanged(QHash<int,QByteArray>) in /build/buildd/unity-2d-5.12.0/libunity-2d-private/src/qsortfilterproxymodelqml.cpp:65
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] void QSortFilterProxyModelQML::setSourceModelQObject(QObject*): received a sourceModel that does not notify of changes of its roleNames 
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] file:///usr/share/unity-2d/shell/hud/Hud.qml:145: TypeError: Result of expression 'shellManager.hudShell' [null] is not an object.
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] virtual void Hotkey::connectNotify(const char*): Grabbing hotkey "Alt+F1" 

            *****I've removed the rest of the key statements*****

unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] void ApplicationsList::remoteEntryUpdated(const QString&, const QString&, const QString&, const QMap<QString, QVariant>&): Application sent an update but we don't seem to have it in the launcher: "application://nautilus.desktop" 
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] void ApplicationsList::remoteEntryUpdated(const QString&, const QString&, const QString&, const QMap<QString, QVariant>&): Application sent an update but we don't seem to have it in the launcher: "application://nautilus.desktop" 
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] virtual void Hotkey::connectNotify(const char*): Grabbing hotkey "Meta+A" 
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] virtual void Hotkey::connectNotify(const char*): Grabbing hotkey "Meta+F" 
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] virtual void Hotkey::connectNotify(const char*): Grabbing hotkey "Meta+M" 
unity-2d-shell: [DEBUG] virtual void Hotkey::connectNotify(const char*): Grabbing hotkey "Meta+V" 
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] void ApplicationsList::remoteEntryUpdated(const QString&, const QString&, const QString&, const QMap<QString, QVariant>&): Application sent an update but we don't seem to have it in the launcher: "application://empathy.desktop" 
unity-2d-shell: [WARNING] void ApplicationsList::remoteEntryUpdated(const QString&, const QString&, const QString&, const QMap<QString, QVariant>&): Application sent an update but we don't seem to have it in the launcher: "application://empathy.desktop"

Last edited by Chris.Bristol; 07-10-2012 at 02:46 PM.
 
Old 07-10-2012, 02:54 PM   #9
macemoneta
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There are no significant issues in the log posted.
 
Old 07-11-2012, 01:42 PM   #10
Chris.Bristol
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I've been looking at a gnome manual page http://www.yolinux.com/TUTORIALS/GNOME.html and it seems to indicate that something called gnome-wm should be run, so I've tried that. This works better than the "--replace" commands as it works for three of the desktop environments:

Ubuntu (which has gnome-session installed):
..Gnome....................works (worked without it anyway).
..Gnome Classic........works (better effects than with metacity --replace!)
..Unity.......................works, although it is very slow to login.
..Unity 2D.................mostly works, but the Dash button doesn't work

I'll change to having that command in my Startup Applications for the moment.

I still think it's worth looking at logfiles though, because although I can bodge my problem there must be other people who have had or will have this problem . Is .xsession-errors the only relevant log file?

Last edited by Chris.Bristol; 07-11-2012 at 01:45 PM.
 
Old 07-11-2012, 01:57 PM   #11
macemoneta
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You can check /var/log/messages and /var/log/audit/audit.log. However wm errors would normally go to .xsession-errors.
 
Old 07-11-2012, 02:37 PM   #12
Chris.Bristol
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Neither of these exist on my system (maybe it's worse than I thought!), however there is a file called /var/log/messages/dmesg, but it contains hardware type messages which look as though they would happen a lot earlier in the process than loading a window manager.

Last edited by Chris.Bristol; 07-11-2012 at 02:55 PM.
 
Old 06-18-2013, 05:27 PM   #13
Chris.Bristol
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In my home directory I copied out all my data, deleted most hidden files then copied my data back. reinstalled and that fixed the problem.
 
  


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