At some point, somebody made the decision that the venerable XDM wasn’t good enough, and so they wrote KDM to replace it. If you’re a longtime survivor of the ongoing X-Windows Disaster, you might be scratching your head about the whole thing; I’m shaking my head about a specific part of it and here’s why.
The way it used to work back in the stone age was that a user would have an .Xsession file, and when you put your name and password into XDM, it would call up your .Xsession file, and that file would fire up a bunch of other stuff, like browsers, terminals, a load monitor or whatever other stuff you wanted to put in there before finally firing up the window manager.
KDM, being both new and improved, does the opposite – now you can choose from a list of different WMs, and there’s no mechanism for firing up anything default at all. Because this is the future, or something. But boy, you sure can make it look pretty. Woo!
KDM doesn’t respect your .xsession file unless you choose “default”, at which time you can go back to running things the old way. There is no mechanism in a standard KDM setup, as far as I can tell, to have it both ways – you either get to choose your window manager and not run any programs, or you can run your .Xsession file. The whole “default” mechanism is more than a little suspect, being both completely counterintuitive (your username is already associated with your previous WM, which is what “default” means to most people) and if you don’t have a valid .Xsession file, outright broken.
Going from “preloaded apps and no WM choice” to “WM choice and no preloads” is clearly not progress, and this is how I’ve fixed this particular idiocy:
- Take your old .Xsession file, copy it to .Xsession-apps
- Open .Xsession-apps up and cut out the window manager line.
- Create a file in
95xsession-apps_start, and put this in it:
for STARTAPPS in "$HOME/.Xsession-apps" "$HOME/.xsession-apps" ; do
if [ -e $STARTAPPS ]; then
- log out, log back in.
It took me far, far longer to figure out how to set this up than it should have, and I don’t claim that this doesn’t suck, only that it sucks less.
This is only meant for KDM, by the way. It might work on Gnome, and it might not, and I don’t care – Gnome is pretty, but whenever my computer goes bobbing for Objects in the Corba barrel it takes forever to come up for air. When I want that kind of user experience I’ve still got my old Commodore 64 downstairs.