GNOME-SESSION(1) General Commands Manual GNOME-SESSION(1)
gnome-session - Start the GNOME desktop environment
gnome-session [-a|--autostart=DIR] [--session=SESSION] [--failsafe|-f] [--debug] [--whale]
The gnome-session 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 $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/gnome-session/sessions,
$XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/gnome-session/sessions and $XDG_DATA_DIRS/gnome-session/sessions.
When saving a session, gnome-session saves the currently running applications in the $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/gnome-session/saved-session direc-
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 group:
Name 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 ses-
Here is an example of a session definition:
The .session files are looked for in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/gnome-session/sessions, $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/gnome-session/sessions and
gnome-session sets several environment variables for the use of its child processes:
This variable is used by session-manager aware clients to contact gnome-session.
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.
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/config/autostart $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/config/autostart /usr/share/gnome/autostart
The applications defined in those directories will be started on login. gnome-session-properties(1) can be used to easily configure
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/gnome-session/sessions $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS/gnome-session/sessions $XDG_DATA_DIRS/gnome-session/sessions
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.