Unfortunately, I cannot debug this way. The error is that no files are created by normal users, so I cannot use files for logging. Also there is no console because this is the /etcX11/Xclients script, e.g. it is executed by gdm after logging in to X window system through xdmpc. Well, I might setup an xml rpc server for logging, but hey, if I cannot write into a wicked file then I should not start with complex protocols and networking.

Humour me. Try opening a fixed filename in a location which you double-check is world-writeable. E.g. /tmp/FOO and print all your relevant variables there. If it works as gandalf, then delete that trace file and try as a non-working user.

If that fails, then try opening the file in the home directory of the user who you are testing as.
I tried this before I wrote to this list. It does not work. No 'normal' users can create these files from /etc/X11/Xclients. But after gnome starts up, they can create these files. If I login with a normal user and I try to re-run /etc/X11/Xclients then the files gets created, and finally I get an error message telling that gnome is already running.
If that fails then you can try logging them with syslog.
How can I do that from Python? :-) I tried this:

from syslog import *
syslog(|LOG_INFO | LOG_USER, 'test')

No exception raised but I found nothing under /var/log.|

Are you sure that if say the file() fails, that a window manager won't start anyway? You can test that by making the filename something clearly non-existent.
To your request, I changed the ddir variable to '/nonexistent', and gnome was started! So you found the problem! Thanks! :-)

It was that gdm started /usr/local/etc/gdm/Xsession. That script started /etc/X11/Xclients but ONLY for user gandalf. It is because I selected 'use system default session' in gdm before logging in. It was months ago, and I forgot it. Other users were using the default gnome session, e.g. they were NOT executing the Xclients script.

Thank you again!


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