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As of about a week ago, my desktop has exhibited the following problems - all starting at once.

  • After a cold boot or a restart I reach the login screen in a normal amount of time, but after entering my password there's a noticeable hitch, then I end up on a black screen with only a mouse cursor.

  • If I leave it alone for a few minutes, the taskbar and launcher finally appear.

  • Besides the taskbar and launcher, the desktop remains black (as if there's no longer a wallpaper set), but the computer is otherwise functional.

  • All the icons in the top-right corner of the screen have a 'missing image' icon:

    Taskbar

As far as I know I didn't make any configuration changes at the time, besides perhaps installing updates. Here's some system information; please ask if something else would be helpful.

  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • Unity 7.4.0
  • Intel Core i3 3.3Ghz x 4 / 8GB RAM
  • Gallium 0.4 on AMD TURKS (DRM 2.43.0, LLVM 3.8.0)

Here is what I think is the log of the last apt operation before I started having trouble. Right at the end it shows Error: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg exited unexpectedly - but I'm not sure what in particular it's referring to, or how to recover from it.

Thanks in advance!

  • What does the line say before the error you listed? Something like: "dpkg: malloc.c:2372: sysmalloc: Assertion `(old_top == (((mbinptr) (((char *) &((av)->bins[((1) - 1) * 2])) - __builtin_offsetof (struct malloc_chunk, fd)))) && old_size == 0) || ((unsigned long) (old_size) >= (unsigned long)((((__builtin_offsetof (struct malloc_chunk, fd_nextsize))+((2 *(sizeof(size_t))) - 1)) & ~((2 *(sizeof(size_t))) - 1))) && ((old_top)->size & 0x1) && ((unsigned long) old_end & pagemask) == 0)' failed." – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 24 '16 at 0:31
  • I don't see anything like that - the gist I link to is pretty much all I've got. The term.log.1 file doesn't show any errors, but it's probably notable that the last line before it quits is Unpacking unity (7.4.0+16.04.20160906-0ubuntu1) over (7.4.0+16.04.20160715-0ubuntu1) .... – Brad Buchanan Oct 24 '16 at 0:41
  • Interesting I've never paid attention to Unity but I just read another AU question where the OP referenced Unity version 7.5. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 24 '16 at 0:46
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I can't say I'm certain of the root cause here, but just re-updating everything seems to have gotten things back to normal.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt autoremove
sudo reboot

My best guess based on the logs is that something went terribly wrong while updating the window manager to unity (7.4.0+16.04.20160906-0ubuntu1) that at the very least caused a bunch of the built-in assets to go missing. Another upgrade fixed the install.

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