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I installed various window managers (Awesome, dwm, etc.) from which I am not able to log out back to the login screen (gnome-session) in order to switch to another window manager. I need to reboot to do that, which is a waste of time.

Question How can you log out via the terminal? didn't work..

dbus-send --session --type=method_call --print-reply --dest=org.gnome.SessionManager /org/gnome/SessionManager org.gnome.SessionManager.Logout uint32:1

..neither did this:

gnome-session-save --force-logout

..nor that:

gnome-session-quit --force-logout

they all returned:

Failed to call logout: The name org.gnome.SessionManager was not provided by any .service files

Is there a quick way to log out back into Gnome's session manager from a non-Gnome desktop manager using a terminal emulator? I know that CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE can be configured to restart X, but I'm looking for the easiest way to log out.

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Could you not just log out by just quitting the WM - i.e Mod4+Shift+Q for awesome? –  Alexander Torstling Apr 19 '12 at 17:28
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You could restart the desktop manager, which is similar to restarting X.

On Ubuntu 11.10:

sudo service lightdm restart

On earlier versions:

sudo service gdm restart

If that fails or you are on a very old system, try:

sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart

One of these should take you back to the login screen. Be aware that you will not be prompted, so save any work before running this command!

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This kills all connected users. Not always what you want. –  cadrian Sep 18 '13 at 6:47
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<modkey> + shift + q is the default dwm command for killing the dwm client. This effectively returns to the logout screen. Tested on a MacBook Air XUbuntu 12.10, where it is alt + shift + q.

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To switch users leaving the session open, one can use dm-tool switch-to-greeter or Ctrl + Alt + F{7,8}. Tested on Xubuntu 13.04 + i3. –  ignis Oct 4 '13 at 7:37
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On Ubuntu 12.04 you can use

/usr/lib/indicator-session/gtk-logout-helper --logout

It opens a dialog box. I use it with Awesome Window Manager.

To directly logout, you can also (softly) kill your window manager.

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