We have a cluster of Ubuntu 16 LTS machines that authenticate off of LDAP and have their home directories in a separate filer. Users can log into the terminal (Ctrl-Alt-F1) and can also log into the GUI (in this case, since it's Ubuntu 16, Unity.) However, no menu or dash appears. The contents of their ~/Desktop folder appear, but they can only right-click to get the menu, and the click-and-drag field. This problem does not happen for the guest user account -- they get the menu bar and dash.

Running DISPLAY=:0 ccsm & does not make the compiz configuration manager appear.

Running dconf reset -f /org/compiz gives the error message, "Cannot autolaunch D-Bus without X11 $Display".

Running startx results in a Unity session but with the same issue, where there is no menu bar or dash.

Since this ONLY happens to regular users, it was suggested to me that I look in /etc/pam.d for solutions, and while I added session optional pam_systemd.so /etc/pam/common-session, this did not resolve the issue. However, PAM is a sprawling non-Euclidean horror and I may have missed something further in it, though I don't know what.

The test machine has been wiped and Ubuntu reinstalled several times. These are Dell OptiPlex 7050 with integrated Intel graphics, single-booting to Ubuntu (no other OS on them.)

Thank you very much for your time, and for any other help you can provide!


The issue was, at least in part, due to some change to nfsclient. With help from a colleague, we determined that PAM was not at fault but rather the remote directories. I added 'nolock' to the /etc/fstab entry for the location of the home directories, and it now works.

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