First post here. I thought I'd try xfce as an alternative to the complexites of Gnome. First impressions are good, but 'save session' doesn't work very well. I have dual monitors (there was zero trouble with that :-) and normally run Opera on one and Chromium on the other, plus a few terminals on other workspaces. On restart, both Opera and Chromium are 'remembered' but all terminals are forgotten. 'terminal' or 'konsole' just the same. Also, there is the "Failed to receive a reply from the session manager" issue, which I also get. Version is the latest via apt-get just today. Running LMDE. FWIW, Gnome always remembers everything loaded on one monitor and forgets everything loaded on the other.
I've been messing with changing window managers & yep, the message "Failed to receive a reply from the session manager" sounds familiar. AFAIK, xfce isn't responsible for that; it's the result of a disconnect in the init chain. I had no idea it would be such a PITA to configure a different window manager, but I still don't have it sorted out. I'm about ready to give up on lightDM, and try lmdm instead.
"Gnome always remembers everything..."
hmm, the way I'm reading it (learning on the fly) GDM is the window (session) manager and GDM != gnome
Unless you explicitly uninstalled it, GDM should still be present; you probably just need to update its config.
For me, the "no reply from session mgr" has only shown up when a (misconfigured) window manager is present in the init.
With the window manager removed altogether, upon xfce logout I just get a (runlevel 2? or 3?) terminal prompt, with no error message.
By the way, during my readings today, I encountered a blog post (from 1Q2011) warning that several "lightweight" (?) xwm's are subject to a bug in policykit, a bug which gdm seemed to be unaffected by. I don't know whether that bug has since been resolved.
Last edited by aga (2012-01-01 10:00:51)
If you've got the "Failed to receive a reply from the session manager" then 'save session' (from the logout screen) does not work at all. You will get an old session, perhaps one with the browsers but no terminals.
To clear the "Failed to receive a reply from the session manager", try this ...
Reboot in failsafe mode, su to your usual user id and delete:
where * will be the machine id : display number (if you have two displays, then expect there will be two files).
Then bring the machine up as normal. You'll have to set up a new session and I can't guarantee the logout problem won't come back. However, currently, deleting the session cache file is the only way I know of to clear the logout problem and not saving the session is the only way of ensuring the problem does not recur.
It is easy (I do it all the time) to confuse display managers with window manager with session managers.
The display manager presents the login screen and handles logging in.
Examples are xdm, gdm, kdm, lxdm and lightdm
The window manager provides minimize/maximize/etc functions for windows, allows you to position windows on the desktop and may provide compositing features (aka eye-candy).
Examples are: cwm, ratpoison, twm, Openbox, Metacity, Kwin and Compiz.
The session manager saves and restores desktop session - auto starting or restarting programs where you left off.
For LXDE, it is LXSession, for XFCE it is xfce4-session, for KDE is startkde and ksmserver.
Ok thanks guys. I'll work on those ideas.
Yep, deleting the 'xfce4-session' files seems to be the only cure.
It does seem that this is a very well known bug and that the devs have yet to fix it. Nuts, so far it's the only thing about Xfce that I would say is inferior to Gnome.
Even there, on balance I prefer Xfce because Gnome never remembered my session on my 2nd monitor, only on the first. Xfce remembers both monitors -- unless it screws up totaly as above. Oh well, they'll fix it one day. Maybe it's just me, but what I want in software, particularly in an OS and a desktop, is not glitz but stability, usability, configurability and consistency.
As to all those services, it strikes me that with all those layers, and each one expected to work with any combination of the others, it's a miracle that anything works at all. I suspect if I was a dev, I'd want my desktop to be run on one WM and one only. With half a dozen of them out there, how can anything be solid?
One more little detail: When 'it happens', I quit, kill the session files, restart, and all my desktop icons are strange -- they are there, but the colors are wrong and they are fuzzy. I hafta logout and restart one more time for things to work ok.