Thanks @dino99. I've seen a lot of different suggestions for tackling
this error, so it would be good to understand exactly which config
change is the critical one.

I think this is a major bug on a newly installed system. As an Ubuntu
Desktop user I shouldn't be experiencing an issue where the OS stops me
from launching any new app once I have a few apps open. I shouldn't need
to go hunting through logs to and start googling for a solution, then
modify open file limits, just to run a handful of desktop applications.

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Touch seeded packages, which is subscribed to dbus in Ubuntu.

  Can't open apps due to Too many open files

Status in dbus package in Ubuntu:

Bug description:
  Occasionally I find that I can't launch a new terminal, or can't
  achieve some other desktop task. Checking journalctl I see error
  messages like this:

  May 15 12:12:15 jl-XPS-13-9360 terminator.desktop[11840]:
  org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.LimitsExceeded: Failed to determine seats
  of user "1000": Too many open files

  or this:

  May 15 12:12:47 jl-XPS-13-9360 google-chrome.desktop[28308]:
  [28308:28343:0515/] Failed to connect
  to the bus: Failed to determine seats of user "1000": Too many open

  At the time this happen's I'm usually running Slack, Chrome, Emacs, and a few 
Java apps.

  I'm using Ubuntu Bionic (18.04), 4.15.0-20-generic x86_64, vanilla

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