I am trying to debug why certain apps fail to autostart (autostart package).

Premise: My final goal is to understand why the autostart sequence is broken (probably due to certain packages' autostart fail). Debian 8 itself boots normally but autostart features doesn't work properly.

So i wanted to go through boot's log (in /var/log/daemon I didn't find what I'm looking for).

According to Debian Wiki, I should fine boot log at /var/log/boot without any configuration in Debian 8.

However the file is not there.

The wiki also says:

If you use systemd as your init system, you may need to use systemctl to debug boot problems.

So I tried with

sudo systemd

but I get an error

Trying to run as user instance, but $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR is not set.

  • Are you talking about the fbautostart package? There is no other jessie packages with autostart in their name. Jan 7, 2016 at 11:48
  • 2
    journalctl -b Jan 7, 2016 at 22:05
  • @MartinUeding thanks for your answer. I tried running the command. Result: No journal files were found.
    – dragonmnl
    Jan 14, 2016 at 21:00
  • @dragonmnl I one created the directory /var/log/journal in order to get a persistent systemd journal across boots. But journalctl should still write something to memory. Jan 15, 2016 at 8:34
  • thank you. I tried to create the directory myself. I'll see if makes it write something
    – dragonmnl
    Jan 16, 2016 at 13:19

2 Answers 2


Debian Jessie is using systemd, so there is no longer an /var/log/boot file.

You can still obtain a lot of information on the boot process with the command dmesg.

But if you use fbautostart, as I suppose, your problem should appear during the start of the window manager. As fbautostart is relatively trivial the best way, is probably to start by commenting everything, then commenting out, i.e. uncomment, each lines of your configuration files, step by step until you find your problem.

  • 1
    thank you for your answer. dmesg shows some interesting stuff indeed (but in form of timestamp since boot unfortunately, so I can't see the time when it's something like 35846.36.......). Could you please better explain the fbautostart part? (in particular: commentin out...) I have an autostart package called simply 'autostart' and built-in Debian 8
    – dragonmnl
    Jan 7, 2016 at 21:50
  • Can you edit your question and publish the content of your autostart file? Jan 7, 2016 at 22:00
  • I've modified my answer trying to be more explicit. Jan 7, 2016 at 22:04
  • To be honest I don't really get the fbautostart part. however I accept the answer for the offer. as for dmesg seems interesting. I'll go deeper into it
    – dragonmnl
    Jan 26, 2016 at 11:52

sudo journalctl in Jessie outputs the boot window details including the Warnings and Errors. I have found it to be most helpful in fixing errant packages that systemd starts or attempts to start. It is located at /bin/journalctl.

  • 4
    Thanks, this worked very well for me. Note that if you only want to see warnings, errors, critical and alert messages, you can add the priority parameter like so: journalctrl -p 4. If you only want errors and above, make that a -p 3.
    – domsson
    Jan 4, 2018 at 22:39

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