My gnome-terminal 3.16.2-1 stopped working after a system update. I am running Linux arch 4.1.6-1-ARCH #1 SMP PREEMPT Mon Aug 17 08:52:28 CEST 2015 x86_64 GNU/Linux.

When launching it I recieve

Error constructing proxy for     org.gnome.Terminal:/org/gnome/Terminal/Factory0: Error calling StartServiceByName for org.gnome.Terminal: GDBus.Error:org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.Spawn.ChildExited: Process org.gnome.Terminal exited with status 8

Googling the problem told me to re-set the locale settings. For that I opened /etc/locale.gen and made sure that en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 was uncommented.

I then ran sudo locale-gen to generate the locales. To top things off I also ran localectl set-locale LANG=en_US.UTF-8 and rebooted.

When the problem first arose I did recieve an error message that had to do with the locale. After doing the previous steps those error messages disappeared, but gnome-terminal still does not work. The above error message remains.

Strange behaviour that I can otherwise observe:

My Nautilus file manager will not start from the desktop shortcut, but does start without problems from the console.

gnome-terminal does launch when run as root.

locale outputs:


localectl outputs

System Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8
   VC Keymap: us
  X11 Layout: us,de
  • There was no ~/.profile so I created that file and put it in there. It is the only text in the file, is that right? Even after rebooting it does not work.
    – kunterbunt
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 19:58
  • Okay apparently bash looks for existing files in /etc/profile and then ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bash_login, ~/.profile in that order until it finds an existing one. I had a ~/.bash_profile so I added the language setting to that as well as to /etc/profile but to no avail. Thanks for your help though.
    – kunterbunt
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 20:12
  • Appended outputs in my edit.
    – kunterbunt
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 20:22
  • Sorry, this took me a while to get done. No, it does not work for another user either. Same behavior.
    – kunterbunt
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 21:38
  • I have exactly the same problem, but have no idea how to solve it. I'll try to downgrade some stuff, to see if it works again.
    – aexl
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 22:44

4 Answers 4



Run in the terminal (alt+ctrl+F1 if you have only gnome-terminal installed), but remember is not permanent so after reboot you will need to do it again:

dbus-update-activation-environment --all

Or to solve it permanently (assuming that you have missing script in your /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d see explanation for more details) load in your ~/.xinitrc proper scripts:

if [ -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d ] ; then
  for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/?*.sh ; do
    [ -x "$f" ] && . "$f"
  unset f

Make notice that this will work only if you will have proper script in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d


In my case the problem was missing DISPLAY variable for D-Bus session services. Due to that, I could not start gnome-terminal nor nautilius.

I am using Arch Linux with Slim and some customized .xinitrc. Due to that, I missed loading additional stuff from /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/. In case of Arch Linux there is script called 50-systemd-user.sh which takes care of setting up a proper environment for a D-Bus session. In my case it looks like this:


systemctl --user import-environment DISPLAY XAUTHORITY

if which dbus-update-activation-environment >/dev/null 2>&1; then
    dbus-update-activation-environment DISPLAY XAUTHORITY

My understanding is that the DISPLAY and XAUTHORITY variables are imported into the systemd manager environment block and also to dbus-daemon --session which use those variables when activating session services. Some applications (it also depends on how they are called) fail due to missing those variables during start.

  • Worked for me. I was getting error code 10 with gnome-terminal on a frash install of Arch Linux with gnome.
    – Marcel
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 22:28
  • This did not work for me on Ubuntu 16.04.
    – Cerin
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 15:24
  • using "systemctl --user import-environment DISPLAY XAUTHORITY" fixes my broken gnome-terminal that I like to run on Windows under Cygwin (using ssh forwarding and running gnome-terminal off my Debian box). Running that command first fixes gnome-terminal and it appears again on the X server machine! Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 23:33

I added the following line to ~/.profile It sets DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS variable. It solved the problem for me.

eval `dbus-launch --sh-syntax`

Append the following line at the bottom of ~/.bashrc and a reboot works for me

dbus-update-activation-environment --all
  • 1
    This did not work for me.
    – Cerin
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 15:20

In my case,after changing localectl, I modified my .vnc/xstartup file by commenting out this line below:-

gnome-session --session=gnome-flashback-metacity --disable-acceleration-check --debug &

Here's how my .vnc/xstartup looks like:

# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:
# exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &
x-terminal-emulator -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
x-window-manager &
export XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP="GNOME-Flashback:Unity"
export XDG_MENU_PREFIX="gnome-flashback-"

#gnome-session --session=gnome-flashback-metacity --disable-acceleration-check --debug &
gnome-panel &
gnome-settings-daemon &
metacity &
nautilus &

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