Starting KDE4

KDE4 Startup Dependencies

Recommended Runtime Dependencies

After Kde-workspace has been installed, the first important milestone has been reached. Now you need to configure your system to start KDE4.

Starting KDE4 from the command prompt

You can start KDE4 from runlevel 3, using xinit-1.3.4, or from runlevel 5, using a Display Manager, such as sddm-0.12.0.

To start KDE4 using xinit-1.3.4, run the following commands:

cat > ~/.xinitrc << "EOF"
ck-launch-session dbus-launch --exit-with-session startkde


The X session starts on the first unused virtual terminal, normally vt7. You can switch to another vtn simultaneously pressing the keys Ctrl-Alt-Fn (n=1, 2, ...). To switch back to the X session, normally started at vt7, use Ctrl-Alt-F7. The vt where the command startx was executed will display many messages, including X starting messages, applications automatically started with the session, and eventually, some warning and error messages. You may prefer to redirect those messages to a log file, which not only will keep the initial vt uncluttered, but can also be used for debug purposes. This can be done starting X with:

startx &> ~/.x-session-errors


You may wish to drop consolekit and/or dbus-launch, e.g., just using startkde in ~/.xinitrc. However some capabilities such as mounting or umounting file systems from a file manager will not be possible, or the reboot option will be absent or inoperative, among other problems.

When shutting down or rebooting, the shutdown messages appear on the vt where X was running. If you wish to see those messages, simultaneously press keys Alt-F7 (assuming that X was running on vt7).

Starting KDE4 at boot

KDE4 comes with a graphical login interface called KDM (the KDE4 Display Manager), which provides a customizable graphical login at boot. To use KDM, you need to edit your /etc/inittab file (as the root user). First, setup run-level 5 to start KDM (adjust the path to kdm according to your system):

cat >> /etc/inittab << EOF

Additionally, you need to change the default run-level from 3 to 5:

sed -i 's#id:3:initdefault:#id:5:initdefault:#' /etc/inittab

You can now restart your system and see the KDE4 login screen.

Installing further languages (l10n)

You may want to install support for your locale language. The l10n packages can be found at See Further KDE4 packages for build instructions. If you are in a KDE4 session when installing a new language and configure KDE4 to use it, the session needs to be restarted, in order to see the effects.

Installing further KDE4 packages

Every subsequent package can be built while having KDE4 up and running, but remember to keep $KDE_PREFIX and $QT4DIR set.

Last updated on 2015-09-29 16:49:19 -0500