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This morning, my Ubuntu 14.04 installation booted to terminal rather than Gnome shell. startx got me in, but without sound (hardware not shown), and on a reboot instead tried sudo start gdm which got me what looked like another reboot, but this time back into gnome shell, with everything apparently working again.

Certainly not good times, so I thought I'd take a look at the dmesg to see if there's anything obviously wrong. Which there clearly is. Can anyone help me understand what the problems are and how to fix them? Even if they're not the cause of the boot problems, I'd still like to fix them.

[Sat May  9 09:59:42 2015] init: failsafe main process (762) killed by TERM signal

That doesn't look right. Doesn't mean much to me, sadly. I can provide the lines around that as well if they're relevant to diagnosing it.

[Sat May  9 09:59:54 2015] init: plymouth-upstart-bridge main process ended, respawning

Is that meant to happen? Sometimes I'm sure I see processes go wrong and get respawned.

[Sat May  9 09:59:55 2015] init: docker.io main process (1629) terminated with status 127
[Sat May  9 09:59:55 2015] init: docker.io main process ended, respawning

Lots of these, over and over, until finally

[Sat May  9 09:59:55 2015] init: docker.io respawning too fast, stopped

When I went looking, the docker.io.log over in /var said this:

/proc/self/fd/9: 8: exec: /usr/bin/docker.io: not found

It's right. There is no such file. The closest I find is /etc/systemd/system/docker.io.service but that's just a link to /dev/null. So I'm guessing that docker.io was removed at some point (I don't recall using it), but it's been left in a startup script somewhere? Any ideas where I might find that?

I've got very little experience with the Linux startup process, so I'm feeling my way here. It would be nice to understand every line in the dmesg, but small steps :)

Edit: Addendum. I've got the bootchart png if that's a useful source of information.

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For your "plymouth" line: I have had that one for as long as I can recall:

$ dmesg | grep plym
[   61.114383] init: plymouth-upstart-bridge main process ended, respawning

I do not think it is an issue.
For your "failsafe" line: I have it also, and think it is normal, but am not certain:

$ dmesg | grep failsafe
[   49.144668] init: failsafe main process (870) killed by TERM signal

I do not have the docker.io package installed, so don't know about that one. Perhaps try to re-install it.

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For the docker.io messages, they go away after purging the docker.io package

sudo apt-get purge docker.io

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