20 December 2011

35. Fixing: gnome alt+f2 broken, returns command not found -- debian testing current bug, description and solution

An explanation and solution is here: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=198&t=67502&p=510197#p512994

My version of the solution above is a follows:

1. First, locate the file to edit

locate utils.js | grep misc

which returns


2. Next, confirm that argc is present (this is what's causing the problems)

cat /usr/share/gnome-shell/js/misc/util.js | grep argc

which returns

        let [success, argc, argv] = GLib.shell_parse_argv(command_line);
    let success, argc, argv;
        [success, argc, argv] = GLib.shell_parse_argv(command_line);

There are more elegant ways of doing this, but this is how I roll.

3. Edit /usr/share/gnome-shell/js/misc/util.js as root

sudo vim /usr/share/gnome-shell/js/misc/util.js (you can of course use gedit, nano, emacs etc.)

search for argc and remove all instances of of it, so that
[success, argc, argv] turns into to  [success, argv]

Once you've removed all argc, save and then hit alt+f2 in gnome, type r and enter to restart the shell. Then hit alt+f2 and type e.g. gedit to test it

It now works!

Reading through bug reports it seems it won't be fixed in Debian -- instead we'll have to wait until gnome 3.2 rolls out. Or just follow the instructions above.


(Current version of gnome-shell is 3.0.2-8+b1)

Hitting alt+f2 to start e.g. gedit or another program used to be straightforward.

During the past week it hasn't worked properly though -- instead the entry of any command has returned a 'command not found'. If you instead of simply typing in gedit type in /usr/bin/gedit, chances are the computer will experience an odd sort of freeze -- the top bar will be unresponsive, the black entry box will remain, the screen will be shaded, but gedit won't open. You will, however, be able to continue using your computer, but it'll be a dark experience.

Symptomatic descriptions of the bug and experiences are available here:


  1. Have been searching for a solution for weeks. Thanks you so much!!

    Where did you find that it would resolve the issue?

  2. Thanks! Works like a charm!!

  3. Linked to by http://debianizing.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/debian-wheezy-install-on-msi-k9ngm-ms.html