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I use

  • Debian Wheezy/Sid with XDM
  • urxvt as terminal as well as i3 as window manager
  • ~/.xsession and /.Xresources as session and resources file, respectively.

Last night I accidentally used up all my battery, so my notebook shut down. Since then, whenever I try to login with xdm (as launched by startup), the session crashes and loops back to the login screen as described here.

However, if I start XDM manually by

sudo xdm -session ~/.xsession

I can log in normally without the session crashing. Judging from the terminal layout I get, ~/.Xresources isn't loaded and adding -resoucres ~/.Xresources to the line starting XDM doesn't help either.

Now, what I want is XDM to behave as before on startup, that is not to loop back to login screen after logging in, and my terminal to look as before. I believe that means I have to tell XDM to use ~/.Xresources as well as ~/.xsession by default.

I also tried to launch XDM as

sudo xdm -config .xdm-config

where ~/.xdm-config is a config file I copied from /etc/X11/xdm/xdm-config in which I changed the values of the lines

  • DisplayManager*resources to /home/*myname*/.Xresources and
  • DisplayManager*session to /home/*myname*/.xsession.

As before (manually specifying) the correct session file was used, but the terminal layout remained wrong, so the correct resources file probably wasn't used.

What can I do?

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By the way, I copied .Xresources to .Xdefaults, so that my terminal now looks like before, but this solution isn't as "clean" as I want it to be. – k.stm Oct 4 '12 at 15:01
Your question is on topic and absolutely fine to stay here. If it doesn't receive enough attention, you could place a bounty on it or migrate it to Unix & Linux, as you wish. If the latter is what you want, flag it for moderator attention to have it migrated. – slhck Oct 4 '12 at 18:53

After an unsuccessful login you could look into ~/.xsession-errors. It usually shows what went wrong.

Looking into ~/.xsession-errors won't help though if your home directory is read-only, or full, or you ran into your quota. In this case you would get returned to the login screen quick, too, because X needs write access to your ~/.Xauthority file.

Quota or full disk don't apply the root user (there are usually 5% of a disk space kept free for root-only usage) so that may be the reason why it worked with sudo but not without.

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