With respect to gnome-session, what is a "component"?

Posted by Alistair Buxton on Ask Ubuntu See other posts from Ask Ubuntu or by Alistair Buxton
Published on 2012-12-02T22:16:46Z Indexed on 2012/12/02 23:26 UTC
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Under /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions are files which describe the different types of sessions available from gnome-session. In these files is a list of required components, eg for shell:

RequiredComponents=gnome-shell;gnome-settings-daemon;

or for fallback:

RequiredComponents=gnome-panel;gnome-settings-daemon;

This appears to be a list of executables, but it is not. If I change gnome-panel to some other type of panel, the session does not start, and I see the following errors in ~/.xsession-errors:

gnome-session[2003]: WARNING: Unable to find required component 'xfce4-panel'

So my question: What is a component, how are they defined, and where does gnome-session look for them?

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