Usualy, after logging out from the desktop (like from KDE), the display manager (kdm in a usual KDE setup) appears again prompting for a new login. On one of my machines this is not a
case for a while now. Instead of returning to the kdm login screen I end up in a virtual terminal for text input. Since this machine is most of the time simply shut down after use, I didn’t really look into the problem until now.
The problem is well know. It’s for example documented in bugs 295743, 432521 in Ubuntu’s launchpad, bug 253987 in the Gentoo bugzilla, bug 18028 in the freedesktop.org bugzilla and this thread in the German-speaking sidux forum.
The guilty party for causing the problem seems to be the X-Server that can not be properly reset. Not all X-Servers are buggy but at least the SiS-X-Server is (in my case
it’s crashing with „SIS(0): Unable to map IO aperture. Invalid argument (22)“) and the Intel-X-Server was. So the solution would be to fix the X-Servers. However, this is not done yet, even though the bug is quite old.
Lucky us, a workaround exists. Telling kdm with
kdmrc (see the kdm documentation) to terminate the X-Server instead of restarting it, resolves the issue.
If you apply this workaround, be sure to check the entry in your
kdm file after each upgrade of kdm. It might me overwritten through the upgrade mechanisms.