Browsers and LibreOffice won't work after latest Manjaro upgrade (12th Dec 21)

Hi, I’m not sure if this fits in here, I didn’t find a place where I can ask for help regarding upgrade related issues.
It happened exactly after upgrading Manjaro with the files provided last weekend (I usually do upgrades as soon as they are available, even for single packages).

KDE-Plasma 5.23.4
KDE Framwork 5.88.0
QT-Version 5.15.2
Kernel version 5.10.83-1-Manjaro (64-bit)

I did the upgrade in the evening before shutting down the PC. Everything worked fine until then. The next day, when I started the PC, I noticed that my shell script to start certain programs wouldn’t run through as usual. So I did a restart of the PC and the shell script worked after that. However, three programs wouldn’t start properly:

  1. Thunderbird can be seen in the process list, but not on the screen. It doesn’t come as far as to ask for the master password.
  2. Firefox is the same, it can be seen in the process list, but won’t show on the desktop
  3. Libreoffice comes as far as showing the window frame with its title, but that’s it. There is no GUI beyond that, it’s just a blank space.

I noticed that when trying other browsers (Opera, Chromium, eric2), they all report that they cannot connect to the website (whichever). But I can connect to the Internet, I can download and upload files and establish ssh-connections to remote PCs (that’s all I tested).
After some discussion in the German forum I followed the suggestion to try another kernel, which I did. With kernel 5.10 everything worked as expected - but only for one time. When I started the PC again with kernel 5.10, it did the same thing as happened before (no Thunderbird, no Firefox, no LibreOffice).
I tried other kernels after that, did numerous reboots, none did change anything.
Currently, I’m writing from my netbook, that’s the only way for me to get into the forum or to get any other information I need.
Just for further info, some programs which run fine are:

  • Dolphin
  • Clementine
  • Bluefish
  • Octopi
  • Konsole

Does anyone have a clue what could be the reason for this? It would be great!

The list of programs you mention looks an awful lot like gtk programs don’t work while qt programs do…

Did you try resetting/re-applying any theming especially gtk theme settings?
Do you see the same problem with a fresh/new user?

Thank you for your reply! There are GTK programs running (like Bluefish), so this can not be generalized. I thought of that, too. What I didn’t try, was with another user. And there everything seems to work fine. So it must have to do with something that broke in my settings with the new upgrade.

What strikes me is that not a single browser can connect to the internet/websites, even though connection to the internet is possible. Why would such a thing happen?

I just checked for failed system processes, there is the shadow.service that failed. When I run grpck, I get something like (translating from German):

for group network an entry exists in /etc/gshadow, but their password field in /etc/group/ is not set to x

The same for group scanner. The command “pwck” does not yield any result.

Did you try

sudo grpck
 sudo pwck 

Yes, I did, the results above actually are the ones from those commands. I have solved the shadow issue in the meantime, the problem with browsers, Thunderbird and LibreOffice still exists.

One more observation: OpenOffice works, while LibreOffice doesn’t. I don’t know what could be the difference between the two with regard to the problem. I preferably use LibreOffice, particularly databases I don’t want to work on in OpenOffice, because that might render the database useless in LibreOffice (I had that case once).

This needs fixing. Did you merge a /etc/group.pacnew recently by any chance?
This is how it looks on my system:

$ grep 'network\|scanner' /etc/group 

Problems with the network group sure sound like they might cause networking issues…

I didn’t merge any files. should I?
I modified the file /etc/group, network and scanner have now the “x”, but this didn’t change the behaviour. Still I can’t start Thunderbird, Firefox (and any browser) or LibreOffice (which, I think, wouldn’t have anything to do with networking, at least not in order to be able to start up?).

Some more information: I experimented a little bit with LibreOffice and discovered, that it has problems with loading files. When I tried to open it, I always started it with a file to open passed as parameter. Then I tried it without such parameter, and it starts. However, when I try to open any existing document, LO just hangs. When I open a new, empty document, this works, and I can even save it. But when I close it, I can’t open it again.
I find this very strange. Because LO reads its configuration files just fine, it seems. It just can’t read files that are meant to be worked upon.

I still think this is all related also to the browser issue in some way, but I have no clue as to what could be behind it.

After doing some more research, I figured out that Firefox and Thunderbird both would start in safe-mode.
I can only guess, that with the last upgrade some changes were made to these programs which could not be integrated with my current settings. However, I didn’t find out yet what this could be. I disabled all extensions/add-ons in Thunderbird and tried a non-safe-mode start, that didn’t work, therefore I think it’s not related to the extensions.
I did the same for Firefox, with the same result. in safe-mode it starts, but it won’t start when all extensions are disabled but not in safe-mode.
To be precise: the programs will start, but they don’t load anything, at best the frame of the window is visible and the window title bar.