Do you boot into a graphical login, or do you login at a text prompt and have to type startx
to get into the GUI?
If it is the latter (text login), then you should edit a file in your home directory called .xinitrc
(yes, the dot is important). This is a script that is run (sort-of) when you type startx and instructs your computer to run your applications, including your Window Manager or Desktop Environment. An example would be like this:
# xinitrc file
# runs when I load X
Note the & symbol after gaim
, and more equally as important, notice that there isn't an & symbol after startgnome
Hope this helps.