I'll try to give some background, because I do not have a really good idea why this is happening.
It seemed to start when I tried to install Adobe-Digital-Editions (ADE), so I could read an ebook borrowed from the local public library. I installed wine, and attempted to install ADE. At the end of the install process, the console went into a kind of loop, with the same message repeated over and over in rapid succession. (I did not have the presence of mind to try to record this message).
This through my session into a dysfunctional state, so I rebooted. Or restarted the display manager, I don't remember. Neither GDM nor Lightdm have started again, in a number of days. I was able to start i3 and xfce4, through startx with correct lines in .xinitrc.
I uninstalled wine and ADE, then recently tried again to reinstall, with the thought this experience may have been a fluke. The same exact message popped up when executing "wine install.exe".
This system is in pretty decent shape. It's been up running for many months, with quite a number of packages from the pacman distros as well as AUR; I have never had a serious problem that I could not easily figure out. Arch Linux has become my goto distro, as it just works, and maintainance is not a hugely time consuming or hit and miss affair as has been my experience with Gentoo.
I have now installed manjaro and redcore, on the same laptop. I have removed Fedora 26, which turned quirky after a few weeks (which I installed so I would be able to advise a friend in the case of any troubles). Manjaro is easy to install; it's nice to be able to use AUR, but even if I avoid any wrinkles, it will take days to get this installation into shape.
I come to you hoping for some light to be shed on this problem. At the bare minimum I would like to generate a list of installed packages of all kinds (AUR and pacman). I truly hope, however, to find the problem, and fix it. I can copy the files in my home directory, and copy them over to a new installation. d
Does this description make any sense to someone?
Thank you for reading this far.