Friday, 1 October 2010

gconf-sanity-check-2 exited with error status 256

Today I discovered I knew something was wrong before it was wrong. That doesn't make much sense, but let me explain.

One day on my laptop I had a problem with my /tmp directory where the permissions had changed and therefore my user was not able to install applications, etc, etc. I didn't know what changed it, but since I didn't reboot, I just changed the permissions of /tmp back to 1777. Everything happy.

Today, a colleague of mine installed Ubuntu on his desktop. He did the usually good thing of installing all the updates. However after the reboot he got the error listed above and couldn't log into his system. The rather odd error of /usr/lib/gconf2-4/gconf-sanity-check-2 exited with error status 256 didn't really give much as to why this was happening.

We used ctrl-alt-f1 to go into a tty and look around. We tried a few things but nothing seemed to fix it. I did a quick Google search and discovered that others had had this issue even with versions prior to 10.04. The solution?
sudo chmod 1777 /tmp

And guess what? That fixed it. What exactly changed the permissions on /tmp we're not sure, but at least we were able to fix it.

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