Bug 106189 - GNOME Greeter crashes
Summary: GNOME Greeter crashes
Alias: None
Product: Fedora
Classification: Fedora
Component: gdm (Show other bugs)
(Show other bugs)
Version: rawhide
Hardware: All Linux
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Havoc Pennington
QA Contact: Mike McLean
Keywords: Triaged
: 106344 106371 106376 106436 106860 (view as bug list)
Depends On:
Blocks: CambridgeBlocker
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 2003-10-03 15:25 UTC by Adam H. Pendleton
Modified: 2007-11-30 22:10 UTC (History)
24 users (show)

Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
Story Points: ---
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2003-11-12 13:36:11 UTC
Type: ---
Regression: ---
Mount Type: ---
Documentation: ---
Verified Versions:
Category: ---
oVirt Team: ---
RHEL 7.3 requirements from Atomic Host:
Cloudforms Team: ---

Attachments (Terms of Use)
different patch (4.19 KB, patch)
2003-10-09 18:43 UTC, Jonathan Blandford
no flags Details | Diff

Description Adam H. Pendleton 2003-10-03 15:25:26 UTC
Description of problem:
After applying the latest test2 updates today, when the login screen for Fedora
appears (which I assume is gdm), a message appears saying:

"The greeter program appears to be crashing.  I will attempt to use a different

At that point a login box, different from the usual one, appears, and allows me
to enter my username/password.  After successfully doing that, I get another
error message that says:

"Cannot find or run the base session script, will try the GNOME failsafe session
for you."

This happens every time I log out or reboot.

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):


How reproducible:

Fully reproducable.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. up2date to latest test2 updates
2. Reboot
Actual results:

Above messages.

Expected results:

Normal greeter program.

Additional info:

Comment 1 Gerry Tool 2003-10-03 17:58:05 UTC
I see this same thing after updating to all packages in the update channel as of
11:00 CDT on 10/3/03

Comment 2 Elton Woo 2003-10-03 18:08:09 UTC
Same behavoir noted here after installation via the RHN beta channel, and a
subsequent reboot of the machine. (14H06 - EST - Fri. 03 Oct. 2003). Additional
NOTE: the programs in my Gnome Startup are still present, but do NOT start.
(viz: tkseti, kmail, licq)

Comment 3 Elton Woo 2003-10-03 18:14:52 UTC
... also I am *now unable* to login to the KDE desktop "cannot find login 
script ... will attempt gnome login session", and I get logged into the 
gnome desktop!

Comment 4 Elton Woo 2003-10-03 18:57:02 UTC
I find now that I cannot *print*, either! "Unable to open USB device
"usb/dev/usb/lp0": No such device. I guess this is because I'm actually
logged in to the desktop in "Failsafe mode"?

Comment 5 Havoc Pennington 2003-10-03 20:49:02 UTC
Hmm, not good.

Comment 6 George Lebl 2003-10-03 21:00:22 UTC
Seems like there is some issue with the base session script (BaseXsession key in
the config)  From the looks of it it's not installed.  AFAIK it should point to
/etc/X11/xdm/Xsession , if it points somewhere else, that is why it's failing. 
GDM will get very confused if it can't find this script but will attempt some
sort of a login (just directly execing gnome-session in failsafe mode)

The "can't use USB" thing would almost on the face of it look like a different
problem entierly.

The greeter crashing seems also a different problem.

It would be useful to get some output using the debug option (config file) and
see the output generated in /var/log/messages

My guess is that a whole bunch of files don't get installed right.

Comment 7 Gerry Tool 2003-10-03 21:26:41 UTC
Confirm additional comment #3.  There is no way to get into KDE.

Comment 8 Gerry Tool 2003-10-03 21:35:41 UTC
Since today's updates included a new kernel, I tested with an older one,
(2.4.22-1.2061.nptl) with the same results.  Another thought is that it might be
processor dependent.  I have an Athlon XP, and I remember Elton Woo as having an
Athlon of some kind. 

Comment 9 Sjoerd Mullender 2003-10-03 21:52:57 UTC
I have the same problem on my Pentium 4.

Comment 10 Gerry Tool 2003-10-03 23:50:05 UTC
ARe these lines from /var/log/messages of any interest?

Oct  3 16:34:16 gstpc su(pam_unix)[4971]: session opened for user root by
Oct  3 16:34:21 gstpc gconfd (root-5024): starting (version 2.4.0), pid 5024
user 'root'
Oct  3 16:34:21 gstpc gconfd (root-5024): Resolved address
"xml:readonly:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory" to a read-only config source at
position 0
Oct  3 16:34:21 gstpc gconfd (root-5024): Resolved address
"xml:readwrite:/root/.gconf" to a writable config source at position 1
Oct  3 16:34:21 gstpc gconfd (root-5024): Resolved address
"xml:readonly:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults" to a read-only config source at
position 2
Oct  3 16:35:14 gstpc ntpd[4629]: kernel time discipline status change 41
Oct  3 16:36:18 gstpc ntpd[4629]: kernel time discipline status change 1
Oct  3 16:36:21 gstpc gconfd (root-5024): GConf server is not in use, shutting down.
Oct  3 16:36:21 gstpc gconfd (root-5024): Exiting

Comment 11 Andrew Hodes 2003-10-04 01:55:29 UTC
I can confirm that changing the line "BaseXsession" in /etc/X11/gdm/gdm.conf
(line 103) to BaseXsession=/etc/X11/xdm/Xsession fixes all messages except the
greeter crashing.  On a default installation the line reads
BaseXsession=/etc/X11/gdm/Xsession after all updates from the RHN channel.

Comment 12 Mario 2003-10-04 02:38:50 UTC
I have the same problem. I have a PIII machine. After I updated my system today
with rhn I got the same msgs.

The log file for gdm /var/log/gdm/0.log doesn't show any error. The file
/var/log/message says:

Oct  3 22:02:10 130 gdmgreeter[3874]: No default session link found. Using
Failsafe GNOME.

Comment 13 Mario 2003-10-04 02:43:20 UTC
I also recreated the user to see if any msg changed but there was no difference
at  all.

Comment 14 David Totten 2003-10-04 13:19:39 UTC
I had this same problem, and I changed my greeter theme to something other than
bluecurve. I believe that is what corrected this for me.

Comment 15 Gerry Tool 2003-10-04 13:32:07 UTC
Reference Additional Comment #14.  Changing the theme and REBOOTING made the GDM
login screen appear, but I still got the error messages and logged into a
default Gnome session.

Comment 16 George Lebl 2003-10-04 16:14:35 UTC
From comment #14 I gather that the spec file fails to patch the gdm.conf file
properly.  The default gdm.conf file did change a little bit between version and so I suppose the patch didn't apply.  Furthermore there
needed to be some adjustments to the config for everything to play nice which I
suppose got somehow lost.  I haven't looked at the new package but it sure does
look like this is the problem.

Comment 17 Mike Chambers 2003-10-05 16:17:46 UTC
I've got the same problem as of this morning with the rawhide updates.

Comment 18 raxet 2003-10-05 16:45:10 UTC
I have the same exact, duplicating issue with profound consternation. From
kernel message:

Oct  5 10:13:59 raxet gdm(pam_unix)[6595]: session opened for user maxer by (uid=0)
Oct  5 10:14:00 raxet gdm[6606]: gdm_slave_session_start: Cannot find or run the
base Xsession script, will try GNOME failsafe
Oct  5 10:14:19 raxet gconfd (maxer-6616): starting (version 2.4.0), pid 6616
user 'maxer'
Oct  5 10:14:20 raxet gconfd (maxer-6616): Resolved address
"xml:readonly:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory" to a read-only config source at
position 0
Oct  5 10:14:20 raxet gconfd (maxer-6616): Resolved address
"xml:readwrite:/home/raxet/.gconf" to a writable config source at position 1
Oct  5 10:14:20 raxet gconfd (maxer-6616): Resolved address
"xml:readonly:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults" to a read-only config source at
position 2

Comment 19 Bob Cochran 2003-10-05 23:04:30 UTC
This happens to me also on my Dell XPS T550 desktop machine. This is not a 
processor dependant bug. I believe the same problem hangs my Sony Vaio PCG-F350 
laptop during the boot process. This is an older, 364 MHz Pentium II machine. 
If I want to use the Vaio at all I need to boot into runlevel 3. I also believe 
this issue may be breaking Ximian Evolution, which has had constant problems 
ever since Fedora Core was first released. Evolution is actually more stable 
under the initial Severn 1 release.

Comment 20 Panu Matilainen 2003-10-06 06:30:48 UTC
Yup, I'm seeing this (greeter crashing and falling back to Gnome failsafe
session) too after the latest updates, gdm version

Comment 21 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-06 08:35:45 UTC
I just built libart_lgpl-2.3.16-1, when this reaches rawhide. It might fix the
greeter crashing problem.

Comment 22 Marcus O. White 2003-10-06 10:11:38 UTC
This problem also occured on a Compaq Armada M700 Laptop following the update
performed yesterday to include the kernel update.

Comment 23 Marcus O. White 2003-10-06 13:46:26 UTC
The problem still exists (comment #22) with the libart_lgpl-2.3.16-1 update
installed. However, there were other updates including a kernel update that I'll

Comment 24 Nils Philippsen 2003-10-06 14:16:56 UTC
Just for the record: the graphical greeter works for me when using the bijou gdm
theme from http://art.gnome.org/themes/gdm_greeter/257.php

Comment 25 Adam H. Pendleton 2003-10-06 14:51:23 UTC
The problem still exists, in exactly the same fashion as my original bug post,
with the latest updates on the test2 RHN channel.

Comment 26 Marcus O. White 2003-10-06 15:22:07 UTC
Downgraded gdm to verison, per suggestion by Sjoerd Mullender, to
correct the problem.

Comment 27 Havoc Pennington 2003-10-06 15:24:48 UTC
There's no need to continue confirming this bug I'd say ;-)

Please report any success with libart_lgpl-2.3.16-1 when that becomes available,
otherwise a new gdm package should be along in a day or two.

Downgrading certainly should work around the problem for now.

Comment 28 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-06 15:27:39 UTC
twaugh said the libart upgrade didn't fix it. Oh well, I just know that there
was some asserts in the old libart that triggered in greeter. This is something
else then.

Comment 29 Edward Muller 2003-10-06 15:43:43 UTC
I can confirm that the problems still exists with libart_lgpl-2.3.16-1 installed.

Comment 30 Havoc Pennington 2003-10-06 16:17:06 UTC
*** Bug 106371 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 31 Havoc Pennington 2003-10-06 16:17:55 UTC
*** Bug 106376 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 32 Havoc Pennington 2003-10-06 16:19:08 UTC
*** Bug 106344 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 33 George Lebl 2003-10-06 22:17:32 UTC
The "greeter crash" is not really a "greeter crash" if I'd understand it
correctly.  There is a slight bug where a theme not found will be reported as a
crash, this is fixed upstream in CVS (will make at some point too).  
This should really have nothing to do with libart.  not looking at the packages
themselves I'd say it's most likely a screwup in the gdm spec file.  Other
packages which might be screwed up and cause such things are xinitrc and the
artwork package (whatever the name might be in fedora).

I'm kind of thinking however that it is strange that the graphical greeter
didn't load the circles theme, perhaps 1) circles is screwed (it is not screwed
upstream) or 2) the gdm package spec file removes the circles theme.  The
greeter will try to load a theme called "circles" as a backup.

Comment 34 Bill Nottingham 2003-10-07 03:44:53 UTC
*** Bug 106436 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 35 Mike Chambers 2003-10-07 08:32:59 UTC
Someone mentioned that switching to something other than the Bluecurve them, got
it working after one crash.  Some of you might want to test that to see if that
at least gets you a better working system.

Comment 36 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-07 09:58:05 UTC
gdm- (building now) will have the BaseXSession fix, but it still has
the greeter crash. I'll start looking into that now.

Comment 37 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-07 12:14:03 UTC
Ok, i tracked down the Bluecurve crash.
Basically the new greeter_canvas_item.c has some code to try to linewrap text
that doesn't fit. It then takes a string like "Shut _down", expands it to "Shut
<u>d</u>own", and then tries to shorten it to fit. Of course, it accidentally
picks "Shut <u>" when trying different sizes, which spews this warning:

GnomeCanvas-WARNING **: Failed to set cell text from markup due to error parsing
markup: Error on line 1 char 25: Element 'markup' was closed, but the currently
open element is 'u'

Then later it crashes inside pango when setting some other markup with:
CRITICAL **: file pango-attributes.c: line 773 (pango_attr_list_unref):
assertion `list->ref_count > 0' failed
** Segmentation fault

Comment 38 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-07 13:40:49 UTC
gdm- which is building at the moment has a patch that fixes this
problem for me. Please test it out.

Comment 39 Erik Englund 2003-10-07 16:07:55 UTC
I downloaded gdm-, the greeter now works perfect but i still can't get
gnome to work properly (not sure if it has to do with this bug but i think so
cause it worked before i updated gdm...)!

I get this everytime i start gnome:

"There was an error starting the GNOME Settings Daemon.

Some things, such as themes, sounds, or background settings may not work correctly.

The Settings Daemon restarted too many times.

The last error message was:

Child process did not give an error message, unknown failure occurred

GNOME will still try to restart the Settings Daemon next time you log in."

Comment 40 Erik Englund 2003-10-07 16:13:20 UTC
Just rebooted my computer once more and everything works fine...


Comment 41 Adam H. Pendleton 2003-10-07 16:44:25 UTC
gdm- fixes this.

Comment 42 Mike Chambers 2003-10-08 03:42:02 UTC
gdm- from RHN up2dates works here as well now.

Comment 43 Tom Diehl 2003-10-08 04:01:07 UTC
When will this be in rawhide?? Are rawhide and rhn beta channels different??
This is what I am seeing:
ftp.redhat.com:/pub/redhat/linux/rawhide/i386/RedHat/RPMS> ls -l gdm*
-rw-r--r--    1 ftp      ftp       1921467 Oct 06 16:26 gdm-
lftp ftp.redhat.com:/pub/redhat/linux/rawhide/i386/RedHat/RPMS>

Comment 44 Nils Philippsen 2003-10-08 06:15:06 UTC
Rawhide doesn't get pushed automatically, you probably just have to wait a bit.

Until then, you can work around the errors by changing these settings in


You can change GraphicalTheme to whatever themes you have installed ("ls
/usr/share/gdm/themes"), apparently only the default theme make problems with
the older gdm version.

Comment 45 Tom Diehl 2003-10-08 20:38:18 UTC
Ok, add another metoo to the list. It looks like you guys have squashed yet
another bug.



Comment 46 Jonathan Blandford 2003-10-09 18:37:00 UTC
George didn't like that patch, alex.  He sent another one to try out.  I'll try
building gdm with it later today.

Comment 47 Jonathan Blandford 2003-10-09 18:43:38 UTC
Created attachment 95083 [details]
different patch

Comment 48 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-10 09:28:48 UTC
Well, i didn't like the linebreaking code at all. :)

george: A better way to do this would probably be to split up the markup into
separate text and attribute-lists. Then you don't have to fuck around with
semi-parsing the markup, all you have to to is keep track of where you
insert/remove stuff from the string and correct the corresponding offsets in the

For instance, I think both patches gets all confused by escaped characters like
"&gt;". My patch was just a minimal change to avoid crashing, not in any way the
"right" solution. The really right solution involves using PangoLayout for
line-breaking anyway, but i'm not sure the canvas currently lets you set
max-width for the pangolayout.

Comment 49 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-10 09:31:09 UTC
When i say "split up" i mean calling pango_parse_markup() of course.

Comment 50 Mike Chambers 2003-10-15 12:36:39 UTC
This should now be closed?

Comment 51 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-15 12:40:30 UTC
It seems like the new patch is buggy. kmaras reported it turning "Shut _Down" to
"Steng ne_<u>d</u>" in norwegian.

Comment 52 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-15 12:56:47 UTC
Even worse. He claims it actually displays "Steng ne_<u>d</u></u>". I.e. there
is no underlines. Might be because markup parse fails due to the two closing tags.

Comment 53 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-15 13:00:05 UTC
Changing the english text from "Shut_down" to "Steng ne_d" is an easy way to
reproduce this behaviour.

Comment 54 Alexander Larsson 2003-10-15 13:01:37 UTC
Steng ne_dd works though, so this must be some sort of corner case.

Comment 55 George Lebl 2003-10-15 21:33:26 UTC
Different bug entierly actually and I just fixed it in HEAD on cvs.  I will make
a new upstream release tomorrow.  A simple fix is to take greeter_item.c, find
the place where 'underline--' and then there's a check like:

if (underline == 0)
  g_string_append (str, "</u>");

change that to

if (underline == 0) {
  g_string_append (str, "</u>");
  underline = -1;

I fixed it in a more complicated way on HEAD, but the above should do.

Comment 56 Bill Nottingham 2003-10-21 20:45:51 UTC
*** Bug 106860 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 57 Nils Philippsen 2003-11-12 13:36:11 UTC
As far as I can see this bug is fixed. If anyone objects, one can
always reopen the bug ;-).

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