I want to run a program with a specific user group and added sg mygroup before the command in the Exec line of a .desktop file. While I could successfully run the command in a terminal, I could not start it by clicking the menu icon (nothing happens). Is there a way to see a error message somewhere?

  • Can you give the whole Exec line?
    – Pandya
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 9:58
  • I found an issue with escaping. Actually, the program was called but due to wrong parameters it stopped again silently. While still searching for a log file I changed the Exec to Exec=command2 "a text parameter". command2 does not exist and I get no error message.
    – Knut
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:33
  • So, What is final Exec line? and now is it working fine?
    – Pandya
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:39
  • issue 1 solved: use sg in command. issue 2 not solved: where is the error log if Exec is malformed.
    – Knut
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:54
  • I think you should revise your question by adding sufficient details.
    – Pandya
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


The output (including error messages) of applications executed directly from a GUI menu is usually redirected to a file. I say “usually” because it depends on how it's configured by the distribution and by the session startup scripts. Under Debian and derivatives, under most if not all desktop environments, the file is .xsession-errors in your home directories.

To watch output being added to this file, open a terminal and run

tail -f ~/.xession-errors

If this file doesn't exist, look for files that were recently modified in your home directory:

ls -Altr ~

If you can't find the session log file, try finding it in your desktop environment's documentation. If you can't find it, ask a question on this site, telling us what distribution and what desktop environment (or session manager and window manager) you use.

  • 1
    I checked .xession-errors before here are no changes. I use Linux Mint 17.3 with Cinnamon. I scanned my home with find and there was no file which recently changed.
    – Knut
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 13:28

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