I ditched gnome by ditching gdm in my Debian install and replaced it with xdm and fluxbox. The problem that now occurs is that logging in to fluxbox doesn't work. I type my username and password, press enter, the screen blanks out and I get back to the xdm login stage again.

I traced this behaviour to existence of source <somefile>, or . <somefile> statements in the .xsession (.xsessionrc) files. This makes it impossible to source .profile when using the graphical login.

Can someone more knowledgeable about the contemporary login process of Debian elaborate on what is the best place to customise the environment in, or where to source .profile?

  • I don't know the contents of your .xsession and .profile, but it's very unusual to source .profile for starting the X session. If you open terminal windows, the shell started inside those will read .profile. Other programs shouldn't need it. If you need specific paths etc. for fluxbox, those should go directly into .xsession, or into the fluxbux config (I am not familiar with fluxbox). If you got a default .xsession from somewhere, don't hesitate don't adapt it to your needs. – dirkt Oct 10 '18 at 8:39
  • Have you checked .xsession-errors to see what errors occur? I use . $HOME/.profile in my .xsession without problems. That said, I don't use systemd, and my .xsession begins with #!/bin/sh. – wurtel Oct 10 '18 at 10:20
  • @wurtel I didn't find anything strange in .xsession-errors. I guess the culprit might be systemd. You're not using systemd?? What distro are you on? Devuan? :) – Mali Remorker Oct 10 '18 at 14:25

Decided to ditch xdm and installed TDM, the super simple terminal-based login manager for X. Since the login shell is anyway started first with TDM, the environment is exactly as I wanted it to be.

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