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Debian 6 xsession hangs after login

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http://unix.stackexchange.com – Debian 6 amd64, Gnome desktop. The logon screen appears regularly. After logon, the desktop background and mousecursor appears. Nothing else happens even after a lengthy wait (hours). Same happens for a newly created user account, or root. .xsession-errors only contains "beginning session setup...", and thats it. No further changes until I shutdown the system from the commandline. Then xsession complains about losing the Display. System used to work until before my holiday. I did not change the system in a while, except for updates, and I did reboot about 3 weeks ago, did work then. Sy (HowTos)