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gdm issue results in black screen during loggin out

Posted on 2008-10-09
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Last Modified: 2013-12-21
Using Ubuntu on a family machine.  The machine remains switched on but may not be logged in.  Family members all have separate profiles + the profiles are logged in & out during the day.  We've noticed that after an indeterminate amount of time, the last person to log out will seem to hang during logging out.  It leaves a black screen with the mouse still active but no interaction is possible as there are no controls available.  I've found that if I send gdm a HUP signal, the problem is resolved (note that I have to do this blind-fold as the tty screens never show up once X is started).  I expect that the hang-up signal to gdm isn't going to be the end solution to fixing the issue so I'm trying to understand why this occurs.

I am lucky to have had an ssh session to the machine on one of these occasions today, so I immediately took a "ps -ef | grep gdm" output to give me more insight.  As you can see from the output there are some obviously gdmopen processes which look like they are awaiting input...
root      8678     1  0 Sep29 ?        00:00:00 gdm
root      8693     1  0 Sep29 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/gdm/gdmopen -l /bin/sh -c /usr/bin/whiptail --yesno 'There already appears to be an X server running on display :0.  Should another display number be tried?  Answering no will cause GDM to start the server on :0 again.  (You can change consoles by pressing Ctrl-Alt plus a function key, such as Ctrl-Alt-F7 to go to console 7.  X servers usually run on consoles 7 and higher.)' 16 70
peterm   20623  8678  0 08:03 ?        00:00:00 gdm
root     21275 20623  0 08:35 tty16    00:00:14 /usr/bin/X :0 -br -audit 0 -auth /var/lib/gdm/:0.Xauth -nolisten tcp
peterm   22903 22884  0 15:16 pts/0    00:00:00 grep gdm
root     24153     1  0 Oct01 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/gdm/gdmopen -l /bin/sh -c /usr/bin/whiptail --yesno 'There already appears to be an X server running on display :0.  Should another display number be tried?  Answering no will cause GDM to start the server on :0 again.  (You can change consoles by pressing Ctrl-Alt plus a function key, such as Ctrl-Alt-F7 to go to console 7.  X servers usually run on consoles 7 and higher.)' 16 70
root     24413     1  0 Oct05 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/gdm/gdmopen -l /bin/sh -c /usr/bin/whiptail --yesno 'There already appears to be an X server running on display :0.  Should another display number be tried?  Answering no will cause GDM to start the server on :0 again.  (You can change consoles by pressing Ctrl-Alt plus a function key, such as Ctrl-Alt-F7 to go to console 7.  X servers usually run on consoles 7 and higher.)' 16 70
root     24440     1  0 Oct05 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/gdm/gdmopen -l /bin/sh -c /usr/bin/whiptail --yesno 'There already appears to be an X server running on display :0.  Should another display number be tried?  Answering no will cause GDM to start the server on :0 again.  (You can change consoles by pressing Ctrl-Alt plus a function key, such as Ctrl-Alt-F7 to go to console 7.  X servers usually run on consoles 7 and higher.)' 16 70
root     24442 24440  0 Oct05 tty14    00:00:00 /usr/lib/gdm/gdmopen -l /bin/sh -c /usr/bin/whiptail --yesno 'There already appears to be an X server running on display :0.  Should another display number be tried?  Answering no will cause GDM to start the server on :0 again.  (You can change consoles by pressing Ctrl-Alt plus a function key, such as Ctrl-Alt-F7 to go to console 7.  X servers usually run on consoles 7 and higher.)' 16 70

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Question by:Barthax
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gheist earned 1500 total points
ID: 22695241
locate gdm.conf on your machine and make sure it has:

[daemon]
AlwaysRestartServer=true

Updating system may or may change your mileage without setting mentioned.
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by:Barthax
ID: 31504673
Cool, thanks. Will give that a go. ;)
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