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Debugging 'Failed to start Login Service'

Submitted by admin on Sat, 07/01/2017 - 21:29

This is an explanation of an error that occured to me with Debian 9 Stretch. Basically, logging in was no longer possible because the login service, among other things, failed to start. Here is an excerpt of my syslog:

Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Starting Network Manager...
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp anacron[644]: Anacron 2.3 started on 2017-06-30
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Starting Login Service...
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Starting Save/Restore Sound Card State...
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp avahi-daemon[638]: Found user 'avahi' (UID 113) and group 'avahi' (GID 119).
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Starting Modem Manager...
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp avahi-daemon[638]: Successfully dropped root privileges.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp avahi-daemon[638]: avahi-daemon 0.6.32 starting up.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Started System Logging Service.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: dbus.service: Main process exited, code=exited, status=1/FAILURE
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp anacron[644]: Will run job `cron.daily' in 5 min.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp anacron[644]: Jobs will be executed sequentially
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: dbus.service: Unit entered failed state.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: dbus.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Started Auto import assertions from block devices.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Started Restore /etc/resolv.conf if the system crashed before the ppp link was shut down.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Started Save/Restore Sound Card State.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp gdomap[630]: GNUstep distributed object mapper disabled, see /etc/default/gdomap.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Started LSB: Start the GNUstep distributed object mapper.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp speech-dispatcher[645]: speech-dispatcher disabled; edit /etc/default/speech-dispatcher.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Started LSB: Speech Dispatcher.
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp bluetoothd[643]: Bluetooth daemon 5.43
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp ModemManager[652]: <info>  ModemManager (version 1.6.8) starting in system bus...
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp /usr/lib/snapd/snapd[636]: daemon.go:250: DEBUG: init done in 701.956┬Ás
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp /usr/lib/snapd/snapd[636]: daemon.go:251: started snapd/2.21-2+b1 (series 16; classic; devmode) debian/unknown (amd64).
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp snapd[636]: 2017/06/30 22:21:42.846911 daemon.go:251: started snapd/2.21-2+b1 (series 16; classic; devmode) debian/unknown (amd64).
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp NetworkManager[649]: <info>  [1498854102.8529] NetworkManager (version 1.8.0) is starting... (for the first time)
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp NetworkManager[649]: <info>  [1498854102.8536] Read config: /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf
Jun 30 22:21:42 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:44 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:45 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:46 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:47 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:48 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:49 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:50 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:51 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:53 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:54 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:55 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:56 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:57 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:58 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:21:59 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:01 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:02 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:03 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:04 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:05 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:06 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:07 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:08 tclp systemd[1]: systemd-logind.service: Main process exited, code=exited, status=1/FAILURE
Jun 30 22:22:08 tclp systemd[1]: Failed to start Login Service.
Jun 30 22:22:08 tclp systemd[1]: systemd-logind.service: Unit entered failed state.
Jun 30 22:22:08 tclp systemd[1]: systemd-logind.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'.
Jun 30 22:22:08 tclp systemd[1]: systemd-logind.service: Service has no hold-off time, scheduling restart.
Jun 30 22:22:08 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:10 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:11 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:12 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:13 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:14 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:15 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:16 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:17 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.
Jun 30 22:22:19 tclp systemd[1]: Looping too fast. Throttling execution a little.

As can be seen in the logfile, it all started with dbus failing to launch. This can also be confirmed by running systemctl -l and then systemctl status dbus to see what went wrong.

In my case, it showed that there's a recursive inclusion in /etc/dbus-1/system.conf. The file included itself for some reason:

<!-- Include legacy configuration location -->
<include ignore_missing="yes">/etc/dbus-1/system.conf</include>

After commenting that part out, restarting dbus worked just fine. A complete reboot showed that all services now started again properly.

Reinstalling dbus caused that configuration file to vanish. The new config file is located in /usr/share/dbus-1/system.conf. It appears that my dbus installation somehow got into a weird state.

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