the gnome login scripts do not execute properly if the user's default
shell (in /etc/passwd) is tcsh. i only verified that bash works and
that tcsh doesn't - i did not try others. kde is happy with tcsh.
I believe I've seen this before, but I cannot duplicate it right now. Are you
running Helix' gdm, or Red Hat's. Are you running the most recent Helix stuff,
if you are running that?
(fwiw, I've been using tcsh as my default shell for 7 years now, and have never
had any GNOEM problems with it. :-)