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Whenever I start minecraft I can only get past the login screen. After that, the screen flashes dark, occasionally showing a Checking battery state ... [OK], and then it brings me to the login screen. I've purged and re-installed Java 7, downloaded a new minecraft jar, and updated the game itself. I'm not sure what I could do. Any Ideas?

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try installing openjdk-6-jre and removing java 7. I had similar trouble a while ago with 7. – jackweirdy Jul 12 '12 at 18:35
possible duplicate of Ubuntu gets stuck in a Login Loop – Eric Carvalho Mar 16 '14 at 13:06

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