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I've installed kubuntu 18.04 on my laptop. At some point I've decided to try gnome and installed ubuntu-desktop. I've stick with that and removed most kde/plasma packages few weeks back. I've even successful upgraded to 18.10 and in general have no major issues.

However, I've noticed some weirdness that I'm not sure how to fix or debug further.

When I try to inspect XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP from gnome-terminal I get this:

$ echo $XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP 
ubuntu:GNOME

However, when I do the same from a terminal within emacs, I get:

$ echo $XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP 
KDE

This is really annoying, as some app rely on it. E.g. the default behavior in emacs is to use xdg-open to open urls. But with XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP set to KDE, xdg-open delegates to kde-open5 which doesn't exist and fails.

How can I debug it further? I wonder where this is being set up to KDE. Any hints greatly appreciated.

XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP

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A college put me on the right track and then this post filled in the blanks.

I'm using spacemacs and it "caches" your environment the first time you start it in ~/.spacemacs.env.

Removing the file

$ rm ~/.spacemacs.env

And then asking spacemacs to recreate it with

[M-x] spacemacs/force-init-spacemacs-env

resolved the issue.

Further reading

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