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I am a proud owner of a MacbookPro10,1 (retina). I have installed Debian stable on it and it has been working great so far, until today.

If I leave grub untouched and boot in default mode, I see the text being displayed but the login screen never appears. Last lines:

...
Started WPA Supplicant
Started User Manager for UID 103

I can reboot in recovery mode, startup network-manager without no issue. I've reinstalled the nvidia package just in case (apt-get install -t stretch-backports nvidia-driver).

So my goal here is to diagnose why gdm3 is not starting up. On my machine I cannot use Ctrl+Alt+Backspace or Alt gr + Print Screen + K since those keys are not present on the keyboard.

I cannot use a virtual tty (Ctrl+F1 does not give me a prompt).

So I manage to setup ssh + PermitRootLogin yes for now.

From my remote ssh, if I try the following command, I do not see anything happening:

# service gdm3 restart

However (also from my remote ssh), I can start startx and I'll see the X session appear just fine on the remote MacbookPro.

What are the steps to track down why gdm3 is not starting up ?

For reference, my old habits is simply to grep /var/log/debug, but this time nothing clear appear:

# grep gdm3 /var/log/debug
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: Enabling debugging
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: Changing user:group to Debian-gdm:Debian-gdm
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: Successfully connected to D-Bus
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmManager: GDM starting to manage displays
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmLocalDisplayFactory: Adding display on seat seat0
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: id: (null)
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: seat id: (null)
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: session class: greeter
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: initial: no
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: allow timed login: yes
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: local: yes
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: session type: wayland
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: seat id: seat0
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: initial: yes
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplayStore: Adding display /org/gnome/DisplayManager/Displays/94531909767968 to store
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: Managing display: /org/gnome/DisplayManager/Displays/94531909767968
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: Preparing display: /org/gnome/DisplayManager/Displays/94531909767968
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: doing initial setup? no
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: prepare display
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: Got automatic login details for display: 0
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Creating D-Bus server for worker for session
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: D-Bus server for workers listening on unix:abstract=/tmp/dbus-tddsFbEu
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Creating D-Bus server for greeters and such
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: D-Bus server for greeters listening on unix:abstract=/tmp/dbus-b3xo1lyn
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Setting display device: (null)
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: Running greeter
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: Creating greeter for (null) (null)
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmLaunchEnvironment: Starting...
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmLaunchEnvironment: Setting up run time dir /var/run/gdm3/greeter
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Creating D-Bus server for worker for session
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: D-Bus server for workers listening on unix:abstract=/tmp/dbus-vfQwpNon
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Creating D-Bus server for greeters and such
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: D-Bus server for greeters listening on unix:abstract=/tmp/dbus-BAYbCdhF
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Setting display device: (null)
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: starting conversation gdm-launch-environment
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSessionWorkerJob: Starting worker...
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSessionWorkerJob: Running session_worker_job process: gdm-session-worker [pam/gdm-launch-environment] /usr/lib/gdm3/gdm-session-worker
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSessionWorkerJob: : SessionWorkerJob on pid 2778
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: setting session to type 'wayland'
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmLocalDisplayFactory: display status changed: 1
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDBusServer: new connection 0x55f9ece6d650
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Handling new connection from worker
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Authenticating new connection
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: worker connection is 0x55f9ece6d650
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Emitting conversation-started signal
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Beginning setup for session for program using PAM service gdm-launch-environment
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Conversation started
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm-launch-environment]: GdmSessionWorker: Set PAM environment variable: 'HOME=/var/lib/gdm3'
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: type wayland, program? yes, seat seat0
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Emitting 'session-opened' signal
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: Greeter session opened
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: session id: c1
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Stopping all conversations except for gdm-launch-environment
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: type wayland, program? yes, seat seat0
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: type wayland, program? yes, seat seat0
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm-launch-environment]: GdmSessionWorker: Set PAM environment variable: 'HOME=/var/lib/gdm3'
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm-launch-environment]: GdmSessionWorker: Set PAM environment variable: 'PWD=/var/lib/gdm3'
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm-launch-environment]: GdmSessionWorker: start program: /usr/lib/gdm3/gdm-wayland-session "gnome-session --autostart /usr/share/gdm/greeter/autostart --debug"
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm-launch-environment]: GdmSessionWorker: opening session for program '/usr/lib/gdm3/gdm-wayland-session'
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmSession: Emitting 'session-started' signal with pid '3287'
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmDisplay: Greeter started
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmManager: trying to register new display
Dec 13 12:35:33 macbookpro gdm3: GdmLocalDisplayFactory: display status changed: 2

Also for reference, I do not see an error here either:

# systemctl status gdm 
● gdm.service - GNOME Display Manager
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/gdm.service; static; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Thu 2018-12-13 12:35:33 CET; 5min ago
  Process: 2600 ExecStartPre=/usr/share/gdm/generate-config (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
  Process: 2582 ExecStartPre=/bin/sh -c [ "$(cat /etc/X11/default-display-manager 2>/dev/null)" = "/usr/sbin/gdm3" ] (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 2626 (gdm3)
    Tasks: 3 (limit: 4915)
   CGroup: /system.slice/gdm.service
           └─2626 /usr/sbin/gdm3

Dec 13 12:40:06 macbookpro gdm-launch-environment][9098]: GdmSession worker: watching pid 9101
Dec 13 12:40:06 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmSession: Emitting 'session-started' signal with pid '9101'
Dec 13 12:40:06 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmDisplay: Greeter started
Dec 13 12:40:08 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmManager: trying to register new display
Dec 13 12:40:08 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmLocalDisplayFactory: display status changed: 2
Dec 13 12:40:13 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmManager: trying to open new session
Dec 13 12:40:13 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmDBusServer: new connection 0x55f9ece6db50
Dec 13 12:40:13 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmSession: Handling new connection from outside
Dec 13 12:40:13 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmManager: client connected
Dec 13 12:40:13 macbookpro gdm3[2626]: GdmDisplay: Got timed login details for display: 0
  • The log mentions Wayland, so try to start Wayland manually instead of X, and see what happens. – dirkt Dec 13 '18 at 13:09
  • Might be related to using nvidia proprietary drivers and wayland. Can you try with nouveau drivers ? Or you might disabling wayland in gdm3 – Pierre-Alain TORET Dec 14 '18 at 11:10

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