debugging systemd user services for gpg-agent and dirmngr [was: Re: gpg hangs when asking for passphrase]

Joey Morris rjmorris.list at
Thu May 11 04:17:28 CEST 2017

Daniel Kahn Gillmor <dkg at> wrote on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 02:10:27PM -0400:
> One difference i note is that you're using ~/.xsession, and i'm just
> relying on the alternatives system to launch openbox:
>     0 dkg at alice:~$ readlink -f $(which x-session-manager)
>     /usr/bin/openbox-session
>     0 dkg at alice:~$ 
> ( For the programs that i want launched per-graphical-session that can't
>   be handled as systemd user services, i include them in
>   ~/.config/openbox/autostart )

I've been using my .xession setup for a number of years, and actually when this
issue came up it was the first I'd heard of systemd user services. (I was aware
of the system-level systemd, just not the user-specific part.) I'll spend some
time getting up to speed on it.

> Do you think you could try that approach (with the systemd user services
> unmasked) and see whether the agents respond properly?  if so, it'd give
> us something specific to debug (we would look into your .xsession to try
> to figure out how it differs from the standard startup).

Sure, I'll give it a try. It will probably be a few days before I can spend more
time on this, though.

> also, when the systemd user services are unmasked, what is shown by:
>     journalctl --user-unit gpg-agent dirmngr

I get:

    No journal files were found.
    Failed to add match 'dirmngr': Invalid argument

Running just `journalctl --user-unit gpg-agent`, I get:

    No journal files were found.
    Failed to get journal fields: Cannot assign requested address

I have systemd version 222-1 installed, which appears to be wildly out of date.
The first thing I'll try when I get back to this is to upgrade systemd.


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