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I am trying to open a second X session with unity on display :1.

For this to achieve I open another terminal (e.g. tty 6) with Ctrl + Alt +6 and login as the user whose desktop session I want to start. When I start the X session with unity as a client on display :1, unity loads but does not adhere to my desktop settings.

This is how I start the session:

$ startx /usr/bin/unity -- :1

This does not work properly:

  • Startup applications don't start.
  • dconf settings are not read (e.g. org.gnome.desktop.interface.text-scaling-factor)
  • The language of the desktop is not correct (This user's desktop should be English while my main user has a German desktop).
  • ... maybe other stuff I did not notice.

I also tried to start X with

$ startx -- :1

This shows the correct desktop wallpaper but does not show anything else (no xterm, no panels, no dash, ...). But Ctrl + Alt +T opens a decorated terminal and I can start unity. That loads unity with almost everything I need. But the language still is German.

I also tried appending unity to ~/.xinitrc but that did not change anything.

Can someone point out my mistakes? An optimal solution for me would be to being able to start a second unity session with startx -- :1.

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Oh. By accident I just stumbled upon the solution for my problem: Obviously I just need to use the user switcher in the panel and lightdm opens the session of the second user on display :1. This does not answer my questions but solves my problem. – justfortherec Jul 14 '13 at 19:50

If you want to manually start an xsession like that, you should rather do something like gnome-session --session=ubuntu. gnome-session will load required components such as gnome-settings-daemon which in turn will configure your stuff.

Sessions are stored in /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions/. You'll see things like "gnome.session" and "ubuntu.session". You use the file name without the ".session" extension in the --session parameter.

Likewise, if you want to properly shut down your desktop session, you can kill that instance of gnome-session.

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Thanks. Where would I do that? In the tty? Can I pass an argument which display should be used? I can't find how to do that. If I run startx -- :1 first, open a terminal and start gnome-session --session=ubuntu I get an error message: "Failed to aquire org.gnome.SessionManager". – justfortherec Jul 15 '13 at 6:52

I'm using following method for tty:

cp ~/.xinitrc ~/.xinitrc.old # if they exist
echo "exec unity" > ~/.xinitrc  # or "exec gnome-session --session=ubuntu"
sudo startx -- :1

And i have full-featured session Desktop Environment. BUT, if you go to another tty, session will be broken.

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