openbox/Gnome wont launch from gdm

Bug #272418 reported by Kevin Tew on 2008-09-20
This bug affects 11 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
openbox (Ubuntu)
Nominated for Intrepid by Doug Schaapveld
Nominated for Karmic by Neil Perry

Bug Description

Binary package hint: openbox


In intrepid I had to comment out the default line and replace it with the following in /usr/bin/openbox-gnome-session

#exec gnome-session --choose-session=openbox-session "$@"
exec gnome-session "$@"

to avoid the following error.

gnome-session when launched from gdm was dying saying
** (gnome-session:24086): WARNING **: Unknown option --choose-session=openbox-session

Had the same problem. Removing the "--choose-session=openbox" argument fixed it.

SquarePulse (squarepulse) wrote :

I can confirm this, too. Actually, it's not a bug in openbox but in gnome-session. The parameter --choose-session is not supported (anymore) there.

Brent Newland (brent-newland) wrote :

Also confirmed here.

Spider (spider-alternating) wrote :

Verifying as well, it broke my upgrade path.

Please note that the manpage of gnome-session still documents --choose-session and --choosesession as valid options.

Waves% gnome-session --choose-session openbox
** (gnome-session:7119): WARNING **: Unknown option --choose-session

Waves% gnome-session --choosesession openbox
** (gnome-session:7120): WARNING **: Unknown option --choosesession

brian mcgee (justinisnt) wrote :

confirmed. solution worked for me too

Tom John (tomcjohn) wrote :

Confirmed. Solution worked for me also.

molave (molavec) wrote :

Confirmed. Solution worked for me also.

Jamie Bainbridge (superjamie) wrote :

solution works here also

Doug Schaapveld (djschaap) wrote :

Removing the "--choose-session=openbox-session" argument from /usr/bin/openbox-gnome-session fixed several computers of mine.

I've attached a very, very simple patch. How do we get this into -updates?

Steven Harms (sharms) wrote :

I can confirm this on Ubuntu 8.10

Changed in openbox:
status: New → Confirmed
Dilomo (ankere) wrote :

I can confirm it too in my Ibex 32bit

Shawn Dellysse (sdellysse) wrote :

I can confirm session bug on intrepid 64bit, updated fully today
Doug Schaapveld's patch worked for me.

Ivan Chen(西滨) (ivan4u) wrote :

Removing the "--choose-session=openbox-session" argument from /usr/bin/openbox-gnome-session doesn't work in Ubuntu 9.04

KLoK (klokane) wrote :

There is fast fix in jaunty:

klok@klok-laptop:~$ cat .xsession

(and you need to set Xclient as default session)

But troubles are there still (in .xsession-errors):
gnome-session[13754]: WARNING: Unable to find provider 'openbox' of required component 'windowmanager'

I tried to fix file '/usr/share/gnome/wm-properties/', but i didn't get sucess.

Removing the argument worked for me in Jaunty. I attached the exact diff i applied in case it helps any.

Adam (adam-rogalski) wrote :

Removing "--choose-session=openbox-session" doesn't work for me in 9.04. After login gnome starts metacity (or compiz) as window manager.
This solution worked for me in 8.10.

Jamie Bainbridge (superjamie) wrote :

Same here.

However, KLoK's .xsession script does function as intended. It also launches the desktop environment alot quicker.

merrymenvn (merrymenvn) wrote :

Try "openbox --replace" :)

"openbox --replace" works for me. Thanks!

陈锡彬(Ivan Chen)
Blog | make life easier
Java Knowledge Base

Jamie Bainbridge (superjamie) wrote :

Good thinking. I would say "openbox --replace" is probably alot cleaner than the .xsession script, as the script seems to fill up ~/.xsession-errors with messages. You could even put "openbox --replace" in Gnome's "Startup Applications" and just launch a normal Gnome session. Thanks!

hunterthomson (darden-tyler) wrote :

Did not work for me in 9.04. Gnome just took forever to load and then uses metacity.
Ubuntu hides the stdout I have know idea why.
I hate Ubuntu ... I miss Archlinux :( Darn ATI and there crappy drivers.

hunterthomson (darden-tyler) wrote :

OK I just added

openbox --replace

To gnome's startup applications and it works grate :)

Antti Kaihola (akaihola) wrote :

I've experienced this on Ubuntu Netboox Remix 9.04.

After installing the openbox packages, selecting the Openbox/GNOME session used Metacity instead of Openbox as the window manager.

I removed the --choose-session argument, and it fixed the issue until I turned Compiz on and back off from the System menu. I wouldn't get any window manager with GNOME and got this in .xsession-errors:

    gnome-session[13754]: WARNING: Unable to find provider 'openbox' of required component 'windowmanager'

These are the steps I took to fix the issue:

1. applied this patch to /usr/bin/openbox-gnome-session:

2. gconftool-2 -s -t string /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager openbox

3. sudo ln -s /usr/share/gnome/wm-properties/openbox.desktop /usr/share/applications/

Seems to me that things are finally starting to work again in Karmic. I "just" have to edit the /usr/bin/openbox-gnome-session and remove the "--choose-session" argument.

Still, the whole damn think should work right after "apt-get install openbox" without having to edit the script.

For me on Ubuntu Karmic Gnome/Openbox does not work on an unchanged -session file so far.

Iakov Davydov (iakov-davydov) wrote :

This bug affects me on karmic.

Kimec (kimeckun) wrote :

I just manually launch openbox in background. Metacity/Compiz won't start this way. So far it seems to work. I know it is dirty :D.

My openbox-gnome-session file:


if test -n "$1"; then
    echo "Syntax: openbox-gnome-session"
    echo "See the openbox-gnome-session(1) manpage for help."

# Run GNOME with Openbox as its window manager
export WINDOW_MANAGER="/usr/bin/openbox"
#exec gnome-session --choose-session=openbox-session "$@"
exec gnome-session "$@"

KLoK (klokane) wrote :

Hi there again, on Koala I found clear solution which is working correctly:

Look comment at /usr/bin/gnome-wm

... Please have your window manager install
# a desktop file and change the gconf key
# /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager

It looks it's working correctly if you set


To value:


Eugene Arshinov (earshinov) wrote :

#28: When I modify the GConf key you mentioned and try to login into GNOME session, I get *one* workspace in workspace switcher applet instead of *four* as I set in ~/.config/openbox/rc.xml. Don't you have the same problem?

P.S. I've already discovered a workaround: run obconf and change number of desktop to 3 and back to 4. But you have to do this every time after login…

Eugene Arshinov (earshinov) wrote :

#29: Sorry, there is a separate bug report about the number-of-workspaces issue I mentioned: number of workspaces in workspace switcher

Spider (spider-alternating) wrote :

#29: That is a workaround to use Openbox, it doesn't fix/make openbox a session of it's own, which is what the original report still is about.

KLoK (klokane) wrote :

[#29] confirm, after reboot I've same troubles, but other things (obMenu, obKeys) are working correcty

karl (karl-sebastian-liebich) wrote :

Confirmed for 9.10/32

YannUbuntu (yannubuntu) wrote :

I don't know if it is the same bug or just related one, but in Ubuntu 10.04, I did the following:
- install openbox (packages: paquets openbox obconf obmenu )
- on GDM, log with « GNOME/Openbox »
- Result (and problem): Openbox is not taken into account, I still have Compiz activated

On "Using Openbox in Gnome" wiki ( I saw the following command:
openbox --replace
That worked for me.

Hope this helps.

David Futcher (bobbo) wrote :

I can't seem to reproduce this in Maverick dev branch. Opening a GNOME/Openbox session works with no issues (I'm writing to you from one right now). Could another Maverick tester please check whether this is an issue for them still?

Felix Geyer (debfx) on 2011-01-08
Changed in openbox (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for openbox (Ubuntu) because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in openbox (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
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