Ticket #148 (closed defect: fixed)

Opened 15 years ago

Last modified 15 years ago

Failsafe GNOME isn't actually failsafe

Reported by: jdreed Owned by:
Priority: normal Milestone: Summer 2009 Deployment
Component: dotfiles Keywords:
Cc: Fixed in version:
Upstream bug:


The "Failsafe GNOME" session is currently advertised as a replacement for the Athena 9 "Ignore my customizations" login option, except it's mostly useless. It ignores ~/.xsession, so that's good. It also ignores /usr/athena/lib/init/However, it still runs .cshrc.mine and .environment (because we conditionalize that on $NOCALLS, which athena xdm used to set). So we need to change some things:

  • In /usr/lib/init/{ba,c}shrc, we should set NOCALLS if $GDMSESSION=="GDM_Failsafe.GNOME"
  • The "logout" alias currently depends on XSESSION being set. XSESSION will not be set in a failsafe session, so typing "logout" in a Terminal will get you "Not a login shell."

Change History

comment:1 Changed 15 years ago by jdreed

Er, the third sentence should say "It also ignores /usr/athena/lib/init/xsession.*, and thus .startup.X"

comment:2 Changed 15 years ago by jdreed

We should probably just make our own failsafe session (that sets NOCALLS and behaves the way we want it to), and then set the following in gdm,conf:


We could consider making our own terminal-only (ie: non-failsafe) session if there's demand for it.

comment:3 Changed 15 years ago by jdreed

  • Component set to dotfiles

comment:4 Changed 15 years ago by jdreed

A sample implementation for our own "Login with customizations" session is in /mit/jdreed/debathena/debathena-xsession/

debathena-nocalls.desktop goes in /usr/share/xsessions and debathena-nocalls.xsession goes in /etc/X11/Xsession.d, preferably early in the startup process (like 05debathena-nocalls).

The .desktop file simply runs a GNOME session, which is fine, since the "Login without customizations" is intended to solve problems with people's dotfiles.

I've tested it and it appears to work, and since it's a not a gnome failsafe session, $XSESSION is set, so logout works.

comment:5 Changed 15 years ago by jdreed

  • Milestone set to Fall Release

comment:6 Changed 15 years ago by jdreed

  • Milestone changed from Fall Release to Summer Deployment

Bumping this up to Summer, because before we deploy in clusters, we need to enable this and turn off the two GDM failsafe sessions, especially because Failsafe Terminal lands you outside the chroot.

I know we can disable Failsafe Terminal individually, but it probably makes sense to do it all at once.

comment:7 Changed 15 years ago by broder

  • Status changed from new to proposed

This should have been fixed in r23840 and r23843 for debathena-xsession (create the new "Login without customizations" session) and r23844 for debathena-cluster-login-config (disable the default failsafe sessions for cluster machines).

They've both been uploaded to proposed.

These should not be moved to production until we've verified:

  • That login without customizations works
  • That login with customizations works
  • That the new session shows up just below the GNOME session in the sessions menu
  • Anything else that seems worth testing

I have pretty much no capability to test this stuff, so it's going to be on someone else to verify that they work.

comment:8 Changed 15 years ago by jdreed

The current version in proposed (r23853) has been tested. Failsafe GNOME is now failsafe.

comment:9 Changed 15 years ago by broder

  • Status changed from proposed to closed
  • Resolution set to fixed

Fixes moved to production

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