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Gconf2 error when launching browser

When launching various browsers (iceape, iceweasel, firefox) I kept getting an error message:

GConf Error: 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.

The browser seemed to run normally but the error message was annoying. This was on Debian stable.

I found various suggestions on the net but none of them worked. In the end I purged gconf2 and reinstalled it, after which the error message went away.

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