gnome (gconf) saga - please read

My machine crashed last night. Not sure why; probably buggy nvidia drivers (screen saver was frozen in mid-glx-alpha-blended-glory). After trying to login remotely, etc. I rebooted. The problem is that I was in the midst of a gnome session with evolution and galeon running. After logging back in, I could not run galeon. It said that gconf was misconfigured or that I was running two instances of gconf. Neither was true. (Files in /etc were untouched from latest debian package in testing and had reasonable entries.) After some trial and error, I moved ~/.gconfd to anther name. Now galeon came up, but I had lost all setting, bookmarks, everything. I found they were in ~/.galeon/old.galeon, so I moved that to ~/.galeon. Now it works sort of (bookmarks, cookies, etc. were restored). Now galeon immediately forgets new configuration settings (but for some reason, it still finds my proxy server, perhaps from the http_proxy environment variable?). There's a FAQ on the galeon site that says this is a gconf problem that the galeon developers cannot explain (the given solution of killing gconfd-1 does not, in this case, work). Evolution seemed to weather the crash better, but now cannot access url's on the 'summary' page. I can't at the moment remember where that's configured. Fortunately, other settings (panels, etc.) survived, but I've lost them after past X session crashes.

Now I've used gnome from the 1.0 days, and this has happened to me quite a few times and I imagine to others as well. After having to kill an X session, I've sometimes found it was better to rebuild my gnome environment from scratch than to try and fix corrupted files. (Are there _any_ tools for restoring sanity to stored gnome config info?) Sometimes its panel settings, sometimes applications. I think this points to a very deep flaw in how gnome maintains persisitent configuration and session information. Yes, my account is NFS mounted. I'm sure some will try to blame it on kernel/nfs locking or some thing else. But the fact remains, that in my experience, gnome simply does not reliably maintain persistent data. My guess is that the problem is that gconf does not support ACID transactions and that is causing file corruption. Sorry if this has been discussed to death previously; I haven't monitored this list for a long time. I may be barking up the wrong tree, or just unlucky, but please before the indignant replies pile in, try killing your X server in the middle of a gnome session a few times and see if your setup survives. (Maybe every developer on this list could do that once a day for the next month and report back :-) Otherwise, gnome has been increasingly a joy to use. I hope it gets a robust configuration engine someday.


Timothy H. Keitt
Department of Ecology and Evolution
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, New York 11794 USA
Phone: 631-632-1101, FAX: 631-632-7626

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]