When I open files as administrator and try to open a text file as root to edit it, scratch does not open. Wingpanel turns opaque as though scratch is maximized, but nothing displays. Eventually I get a message to force quit scratch.

I've tried:

  • setting all of the scratch related gsettings to default.
  • opening scratch using gksu in the terminal

This is the output when I try to open it using the terminal:

jesse@sp3:~$ gksu -d scratch-text-editor /etc/environment 
Gtk-Message: Failed to load module "pantheon-filechooser-module"
No ask_pass set, using default!
xauth: /tmp/libgksu-Yd2FDF/.Xauthority
STARTUP_ID: gksu/scratch-text-editor '|etc|environment'/4375-0-sp3_TIME344270
cmd[0]: /usr/bin/sudo
cmd[1]: -H
cmd[2]: -S
cmd[3]: -p
cmd[5]: -u
cmd[6]: root
cmd[7]: --
cmd[8]: scratch-text-editor
cmd[9]: /etc/environment
brute force GNOME_SUDO_PASS ended...
Yeah, we're in...
[INFO 21:16:05.505659] Application.vala:153: Scratch version: 2.4.1
[INFO 21:16:05.505702] Application.vala:155: Kernel version: 4.13.4-041304- generic
[DEBUG 21:16:05.513498] Settings.vala:163: Loading settings from schema   'org.pantheon.scratch.saved-state'
[DEBUG 21:16:05.513978] Settings.vala:163: Loading settings from schema 'org.pantheon.scratch.settings'
[DEBUG 21:16:05.514871] Settings.vala:163: Loading settings from schema 'org.pantheon.scratch.services'
[WARNING 21:16:05.538065] [Gtk] Theme parsing error: apps.css:282:10: 'height' is not a valid property name
[WARNING 21:16:05.538155] [Gtk] Theme parsing error: apps.css:300:10: 'height' is not a valid property name
[WARNING 21:16:05.538256] [Gtk] Theme parsing error: apps.css:316:10: 'height' is not a valid property name
[WARNING 21:16:05.538303] [Gtk] Theme parsing error: apps.css:317:9: 'width' is not a valid property name
[WARNING 21:16:05.538390] [Gtk] Theme parsing error: apps.css:331:10: 'height' is not a valid property name
[WARNING 21:16:05.538426] [Gtk] Theme parsing error: apps.css:332:9: 'width' is not a valid property name
[DEBUG 21:16:05.553159] [Gtk] Connecting to session manager
[WARNING 21:16:05.559052] [libpeas] Failed to enable unknown plugin loader 'gjs'
[WARNING 21:16:05.563827] [libpeas] Failed to enable unknown plugin loader 'gjs'
[FATAL 21:16:05.709597] MainWindow.vala:523: Error opening directory '/root/.local/share/scratch-text-editor/unsaved': No such file or directory
[FATAL 21:16:05.709630] [Gtk] gtk_action_set_visible: assertion 'GTK_IS_ACTION (action)' failed
[DEBUG 21:16:05.711977] SplitView.vala:202: WelcomeScreen shown successfully
[DEBUG 21:16:05.715935] Settings.vala:163: Loading settings from schema 'org.pantheon.scratch.plugins.folder-manager'
[DEBUG 21:16:05.716338] MainWindow.vala:578: created 'unsaved' directory: /root/.local/share/scratch-text-editor/unsaved
[DEBUG 21:16:05.718868] SplitView.vala:210: WelcomeScreen hidden successfully
[DEBUG 21:16:05.720042] SplitView.vala:125: View added successfully
[DEBUG 21:16:05.723757] sql-schema.vala:204: schema_version is 10
[DEBUG 21:16:05.748192] Document.vala:747: Could not find mount location
[INFO 21:16:05.748287] Document.vala:167: Opening "systemd-logind"

It looks like the Opening "systemd-logind" is what is causing it to hang, but I have no idea how to keep it from trying to open it. There is nothing set to open by default in gsettings.

  • try without gksudo, just use sudo scratch-text-editor
    – pretz
    Oct 1, 2017 at 20:27
  • still no go.... Oct 2, 2017 at 13:20
  • Are you running any 3rd party theming? elementary tends to not play well with non-stock themes.
    – pretz
    Oct 2, 2017 at 14:17
  • stock theme... scratch opens fine as a regular user, it just won't open as root. Oct 3, 2017 at 11:48
  • 1
    I've updated the question with the terminal output. Oct 3, 2017 at 11:52

2 Answers 2


I managed to solve this by opening dconf editor as root (gksu dconf-editor) and then navigating to org/pantheon/scratch/settings and setting "focused-document-view1" and "opened-files-view1" to default.

I didn't realize there could be different settings for user and root.


OK it looks like it might be an issue with Pantheon itself. I suggest removing and then reinstalling Pantheon:

sudo apt remove pantheon
sudo apt install pantheon

Reference: https://askubuntu.com/questions/684169/gtk-message-failed-to-load-module-pantheon-filechooser-module

  • unfortunately that didn't help... also when removing pantheon it removed elementary-desktop, so I had to apt install elementary-desktop as well. Oct 3, 2017 at 12:50
  • crap, sorry I missed the * after panteon. Glad you got that worked out. That's weird you're still experiencing the issue though.
    – pretz
    Oct 3, 2017 at 12:59
  • I'm shooting in the dark now but you might need the gnome-themes-standard libraries. It appears to be having an issue with base gnome themes while running gksudo. Give this a shot: sudo apt install gtk2-engines-pixbuf gnome-themes-standard libcanberra-gtk3-module:i386 libcanberra-gtk3-module
    – pretz
    Oct 3, 2017 at 13:01
  • I've updated the question with new terminal output... it looks like it could be hanging while trying to open "systemd-logind" Oct 3, 2017 at 13:25

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