NB: I'm not talking about startup applications. I mean, how does the system know which applications to start as part of the Pantheon destkop, such as which panel, dock, etc.

I'm only seeing gala and gnome-settings-daemon in /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions/pantheon.session, so I figure it must be somewhere else.

1 Answer 1


Pantheon uses a component called Cerbere as a watchdog type service that launches and monitors the additional desktop components. By default, the processes it starts and monitors are: wingpanel, plank, and slingshot-launcher. These are configurable through dconf-editor or gsettings. Take a look at the monitored-processes property in the org.pantheon.desktop.cerbere schema.

gsettings get org.pantheon.desktop.cerbere monitored-processes
  • So where is cerbere told to start with the session? This is what I'm trying to get to.
    – RolandiXor
    Aug 19, 2015 at 19:21
  • It's launched as an autostart process when the session loads. The default session autostart processes are located in /etc/xdg/autostart. If for some reason you didn't want it to start, you could remove the desktop file: sudo rm -f /etc/xdg/autostart/cerbere.desktop. This would give you just a wallpaper when you login. To add it back run: sudo ln -s /usr/share/applications/cerbere.desktop /etc/xdg/autostart/cerbere.desktop Aug 20, 2015 at 12:49
  • thanks. I was trying to solve a problem with wingpanel not starting on login. I'm currently running Pantheon on Ubuntu (I have another laptop for running elementary but haven't installed it yet).
    – RolandiXor
    Aug 21, 2015 at 19:42

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