Having made no changes to my system, I booted/logged-in today to an odd behaviour: the wallpaper I see at login persists into the session. I have a wide image I use to span two monitors, but the "spanned" version doesn't show up when the login is complete. Instead, it looks like this:


Note the Ubuntu logos (x2) in the lower left of "each" pane, the mis-match of paper to monitor, and (most of all!) the lack of spanning.

I have:

  • re-booted, to no avail;
  • attempted to reset the wallpaper, but new settings don't "take", although when I run gsettings list-recursively org.gnome.desktop.background, the new image file appears as the org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri value; and
  • checked "unity tweak tool", but didn't notice anything amiss.

The output for gsettings list-recursively org.gnome.nautilus.desktop is:

org.gnome.nautilus.desktop trash-icon-name 'Trash'
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop text-ellipsis-limit 3
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop background-fade true
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop home-icon-visible false
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop trash-icon-visible false
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop network-icon-visible false
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop font ''
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop network-icon-name 'Network Servers'
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop home-icon-name ''
org.gnome.nautilus.desktop volumes-visible false

The system otherwise seems to be functioning properly.

I'm on 14.04 LTS (at least for a little while longer!). Any help appreciated!

Original image at Wikimedia Commons if anyone is interested. :)
I got the gsettings commands from a related question which, sadly, has no answers.

  • How long did it work normally? Have you tried any other tools to set and span a wallpaper such as Nitrogen, instead of unity tweak tool? Similar bugs to this have been around with unity tweak tool on 14.04
    – jiipeezz
    Jul 5 '16 at 15:48
  • @jiipeezz I've been using 14.04 since its release. I have used Nitrogen in the past, but it didn't place nice with Unity, so have simply used the "span" option in the normal Appearance Settings. I don't use the "unity tweak tool" for wallpaper settings, just the normal settings app; I only checked it just in case there was a setting in there, but I didn't see one.... Hope this helps! Thanks for the Q's.
    – Dɑvïd
    Jul 5 '16 at 15:58
  • Might have been a glitch in Nautilus. One could always try to kill all the Nautilus processes and restart it. Jul 6 '16 at 11:36
  • @Serg - Thanks for that suggestion. Checking things out, and with some inspiration from this older answer I took a look at things with the gnome Tweak Tool. Under Desktop, I see the correct settings. I keep icons off the desktop, so on a whim I toggled on Icons on Desktop, and whoosh - the spanned wallpaper came good. I then toggled icons off again, and all good. So, something is quirky, but if it happens again, I'll see if this is a reliable work-around.
    – Dɑvïd
    Jul 8 '16 at 16:19
  • Yes, he icons part is where it disables the desktop window of the Nautilus file manager. Lack of desktop window will expose what is known as Root window, and that can glitch time to time. Personally I stopped disabling icons, because I had trouble with the root window a few times. Now I just keep the desk top relatively clear. By the way, I can try to come up with a script that toggles icons on and off on every login, if you want Jul 8 '16 at 19:35

I'm not sure this constitutes an "answer" -- but in the midst of doing some routine work (Evince was the active program at that moment, but several others were also open), the problem cleared. I have now re-set the wallpaper back to the spanning "Urnersee Panorama" crop (noted in OP's question), and it is displaying in all its glory.

So this is quite mysterious. One doesn't like "mysterious" when it comes to computer settings, so if anyone can shed light on the phenomenon, that would still be a help.

Update And just as mysteriously, the non-spanning glitch is back. As I said, "One doesn't like 'mysterious' when it comes to computer settings..."! Hopefully this time around it will "clear" soon, too. But it shouldn't happen at all. Something isn't "clearing" on the way to a stable system, perhaps?

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