Section: User Commands (1)
gnome-session - Start the GNOME desktop environment
gnome-session [-a|--autostart=DIR] [--session=SESSION] [--failsafe|-f] [--debug] [--whale]
program starts up the GNOME desktop
environment. This command is typically executed by your login manager
(either gdm, xdm, or from your X startup scripts). It will load
either your saved session, or it will provide a default session for the
user as defined by the system administrator (or the default GNOME
installation on your system).
The default session is defined in gnome.session, a .desktop-like
file that is looked for in
When saving a session, gnome-session saves the currently running
applications in the $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/gnome-session/saved-session
gnome-session is an X11R6 session manager. It can manage GNOME
applications as well as any X11R6 SM compliant application.
The following options are supported:
Start all applications defined in DIR, instead of starting the
applications defined in gnome.session, or via the --session
option. Multiple --autostart options can be passed.
Use the applications defined in SESSION.session. If not specified,
gnome.session will be used.
Run in fail-safe mode. User-specified applications will not be started.
Enable debugging code.
Show the fail whale in a dialog for debugging it.
Sessions are defined in .session
files, that are using a .desktop-like
format, with the following keys in the GNOME Session
Name of the session. This can be localized.
List of component identifiers (desktop files) that are required by the session. The required components will always run in the session.
Here is an example of a session definition:
The .session files are looked for in
sets several environment variables for the use of
its child processes:
This variable is used by session-manager aware clients to contact
This variable is set to the X display being used by
gnome-session. Note that if the --display option is used
this might be different from the setting of the environment variable
when gnome-session is invoked.
The applications defined in those directories will be started on login.
These directories contain the .session files that can be used
with the --session option.
This directory contains the list of applications of the saved session.
If you find bugs in the gnome-session
program, please report
these on https://bugzilla.gnome.org.