While preparing and testing XBMC (will write about that soon) I had a really nasty crash which prevented me from doing anything with my computer. After the login screen a couple of error messages with stuff like
"Failed to contact configuration server, some possible causes are that you need to enable TCP/IP networking for ORBIt or you have stale NFS locks due to a system crash. See http://www.gnome.org/projects/gconf/ for information. (Details - 1: IOR file '/tmp/gconfd-root/lock/ior' not opened successfully, no gconfd located: Input/output error 2: IOR file '/tmp/gconfd-root/lock/ior' not opened successfully, no gconfd located: Input/output error)"
Tried everything I could think of, booted from a CD, ran FSCK, rebooted, rebooted again, read a thousand pages on Google (on another computer), went through the syslog and messages logs etc. My Gnome screen was black, and the only thing that worked was the mouse and PrntScrn which, apart from bringing up the screendump dialog also generated an error message.
The solution which I found here, sortof, which in turn makes it possible for me to write this, was to rename saved_state like this:
mv ~/.gconfd/saved_state saved_state.old
Reasons like this makes it hard to suggest Linux to my mother…