Lost window manager and gnome-panel
About a month ago I installed testing amd64 on a brand new hard disk
for my Thinkpad, planning on migrating from Jaunty to Debian. I kept
my old Jaunty hard disk untouched. I used the Jaunty disk as a source
of config files as I installed the applications I need, plus I wanted
it available just in case my migration to Debian did not go well.
After several days of installing and configuring things I suddenly lost
metacity and gnome-panel. That is, upon rebooting I got a blank screen.
Even without the window manager or gnome-panel you can right-click on
the screen and create a launcher. I created a launcher for
gnome-terminal. From the terminal I was able to start metacity and
gnome-panel. However two days of poking failed to get metacity and
gnome-panel to start automatically on rebooting. I just couldn't figure
out where they started from. Eventually I had work I needed to get
done, so I put the Jaunty hard disk back in the computer and left my
migration to Debian for another day.
That day arrived a few days ago. I decided start over from scratch. I
used the netinst CD and reinstalled completely, reformatting the new
disk. Until yesterday afternoon I spent my time installing and
configuring as I did before. Everything was running great. I had just a
couple problems left to resolve. Then I decided to reboot. And then it
happened again - no metacity or gnome panel. Only this time I couldn't
right-click on the desktop and create a launcher either. I could boot
into Recovery Mode, but you can't start an X program from there.
A local friend suggested to boot to Recovery Mode and then install
XFCE. I did so. And when I rebooted I found the option to use XFCE
instead of Gnome. When XFCE came up I had a normal desktop with window
manager and panels. Yay!
So at least this time around I am back and I have things running. I
have XFCE fixed up to my taste, but I want Gnome back. I still can't
log in to Gnome without losing the window manager and panels.
So this long story boils down to two questions:
1) How can I fix Gnome? What part of the configuration starts metacity
and gnome-panel when the user logs in? Note that I'll have to do this
manually from XFCE, because I can't even get a terminal running in
2) How the heck did this happen? I did hundreds of things before I
rebooted - which thing messed up Gnome? Can someone suggest a way to
find out what I did to cause this so I can file a bug report or at
least avoid doing it again?