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I'm using Linux Mint with GNOME. I did apt-get update and after log out I couldn't log in successfully.
When log in, I get error "I could not start your session and so I have started the failsafe xterm session...". It opens only terminal with plenty of error (mainly due to missing PATH definition). With exit -command I can turn back to log in screen.
I can log in successfully if using "Failsafe GNOME" -session. Then xwindow will open and I can access all applications with no problem as I did before.
Here is the list what is included in .Xsession-error -file. I don't know if this is valuable information, but I put it here just in case:
/etc/gdm/Xsession: Beginning session setup...
/etc/gdm/Xsession: 192: ls: not found
/etc/gdm/Xsession: Executing default failed, will try to run x-terminal-emulator