Fedora 15: First big problem…


Yesterday I hit a pretty major problem with Fedora 15. I did a reboot and the login screen came up fine, but when I tried to log in I got a message saying,

failed to load session ‘gnome’

No options or alternatives. Just back to the login screen. ??

I started the machine up in “Full multiuser mode” by hitting the “a” key during boot and adding “3” on to the boot parameters. Once at the login prompt I could now log in as root. Since it looked like it might be a GNOME problem I uninstalled and reinstalled GNOME.

yum -y groupremove "GNOME Desktop Environment"
yum -y groupinstall "GNOME Desktop Environment"

No change!

My next thought was to install KDE, so at least I would have a desktop. I did this using,

yum -y groupinstall kde

I made KDE the default window manager by editing the “/etc/sysconfig/desktop” file to contain.


The machine now rebooted and I got KDM as the display manager. This allowed me to start KDE, but surprisingly, also allowed me to start GNOME as my window manager.

Now I figured it was probably an issue with GDM, not GNOME itself, so I reinstalled GDM.

yum -y remove gdm
yum -y install gdm
yum -y install gdm-plugin-fingerprint

Bingo. I was now able to switch back to GDM as my display manager by editing the “/etc/sysconfig/desktop” file to contain.


I have no idea what happened to cause this problem in the first place. Googling for a solution wasn’t much help because most posts are really old and the new ones just said reinstall.

If anyone else has misfortune to run into this issue, you now know how I got out of it.

Incidentally, my brief time on KDE did not fill me with a desire to switch. I think I prefer GNOME. I am however a little nervous about the stability of Fedora 15 after this incident. Maybe I did something dumb to cause it, but if I did, I have no idea what it was. I’m just running a browser and VirtualBox VMs for the most part.



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

4 thoughts on “Fedora 15: First big problem…”

  1. i have this problem too when i was playing arround with gnome 3 theme and gnome-shell-extensions

  2. I am having the same problem. I cant login. My system only have fedora15 installed. Unable to login as root. Also it does not give me “failed to load session ‘gnome’” error message.
    Any help would be great.

  3. Hi.

    You can try and do what I did. If you have a functioning installation you should be able to log in a root by entering single-user-mode or multi-user-mode from the boot prompt, as described in the post.

    I’m not a Linux expert, just a user.



  4. I had the same issue after going through a fresh install updating and removing a few programs. Reboot and the error popped up. I tried uninstall/re-install of just gdm, but that didn’t work. This worked for me:

    yum -y groupremove “GNOME Desktop Environment”

    yum -y remove gdm (nothing to remove here)

    yum -y install gdm

    yum -y groupinstall “GNOME Desktop Environment”

    Thanks for the info Tim

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