XFCE4 Interactive Desktop: Unable to load a failsafe session (and other errors)


One of our users is having issues launching an XFCE4 interactive desktop. From what I can tell, the issue seems to be isolated to him. I have previously posted on XFCE-related errors here, but since I have more clarity on this issue than the previous one, I thought I’d start a new post.

When launching the interactive desktop window in the browser, the user is confronted with two errors, shown in the images below:



Previously, Jeff had mentioned that Anaconda can sometimes cause these issues. He does have Anaconda installed in his home directory, but he does not have conda automatically initializing in either his ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile.

I’ve also ruled out the specific compute node and base image, because I am able to launch an interactive desktop successfully on the same node he is having trouble on. There are some home directory folders that I’ve been looking in, like .config, .cache, and .dbus but at this point, I’m kind of just throwing darts at the wall.

Can anyone provide some guidance on where I should be looking for this problem, or how to fix it?


Well looking at ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile was my goto. Are you sure bash is their default shell?

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I guess just to follow up on that, I would say this: It only affects that user, so that’s a big clue. Hone in on this clue; what’s different about this user? As you say, they don’t have anything in their bash initialization files, but if they use csh they could be loading a .cshrc as an example.

Really all they need to do is modify their $PATH such that dbus-* are not the system dbus binaries. Or maybe they just set an XDG environment variable to something silly (in any of their init files).

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Thanks, Jeff. Just to cover my bases, I checked again, and this user does indeed have the conda init routine in their .bashrc file – sorry about that. Not sure how I missed it.

Since Anaconda is so popular, have you all identified a way to make the interactive desktop app and Anaconda play nice together? For example, if I modify the $PATH, which directory contains the appropriate dbus-* binaries so I can list those first? Or as you suggested, can I just do something like export XDG_CONFIG_DIRS=foobar?

Again, sorry for the false alarm.


It’s no problem at all!

Actually, having triaged this myself and now seeing your topic I’m forced do the right thing and fix it on our side. I’ve just created this ticket on our repo for this issue.

You maybe able to set the PATH in the wrapper_script, that could work. You can see that ticket for what I’d set it to to support all possible installation locations but you may be able to just use PATH=/usr/bin:$PATH.

Thanks, Jeff. That’s very helpful. I’ve modified that line in the xfce.sh script in our version of the desktop app.

I appreciate the help, as always.