So, it seems like I'm not the only one with this problem:

julian@yggdrasil:~$ gnome-shell --replace

(gnome-shell:11309): Clutter-CRITICAL **: Unable to initialize Clutter: Unable to select the newly created GLX context Window manager error: Unable to initialize Clutter.

If I try to log in normally, GNOME fallbacks to Fallback mode

A bit of googling showed that this is ultimately reduced to a lacking feature in my gpu (nVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT), although this seems kind of weird, considering that I've been able to run Unity (apparently, users with the same problem also reported having trouble running Compiz).

I'm running the nVidia driver version 285.08.09, which seems to be the latest available. This computer has got 2 GB of memory, and uses a Intel Dual Core CPU with 1.6 GHz in each core.


After doing a bit more of research, and looking into my Xorg log (/var/log/Xorg.0.log for the most recent one), I realized that the problem was that my nVidia driver was incorrectly compiled, for it had no DRI support (which is required for running gnome-shell). The solution lied in installing the Xorg development files (sudo apt-get install xorg-dev should do) and recompiling the nVidia driver.

After this, I rebooted and everything was working properly.

If the reader's getting the same error, first thing you should do is check the Xorg logs and read through, if you find no signal of DRI being activated, you should look that up on your Xorg configuration (/etc/X11/xorg.conf).

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