Chapter 2. Quick Start Guide

This is a quick start guide for users who fit the following pattern:

  • X is configured and works with the command startx from the commandline.

  • Each user will generally only use a single window manager or desktop environment, and does not change this choice very often, or is comfortable editing a single text file in order to change their choice.

This scenario will be sufficient for many environments where a single user or several users normally boot the computer and log into their preferred environment.

Procedure 2.1. Setting up a Default Session

  1. Create or open the file ~/.xinitrc

    If you already have a working ~/.xinitrc, go to the next step

  2. If one does not already exist, add a line to the ~/.xinitrc to start your preferred window manager or desktop environment.

    For KDE you should enter:


    For other window managers or desktop environments, you should look in their documentation for the correct command.

  3. Make a link as follows:

    ln -s ~/.xinitrc ~/.xsession

At this point, typing startx on the commandline should start X, with a KDE session. The next task is to try kdm.

As root, type kdm at the prompt.

You should see a login window, which is described more fully in Chapter 3, The Login Window.

Typing your normal username and password in the fields provided, and leaving default selected as the session type should now open a KDE session for your user.

If you have other users to configure, you should repeat the procedure above for each of them.


This is a quick guide to getting up and running only. You probably will want to customize kdm further, for example, to hide the names of the system accounts, to allow further sessions, and much more. Please read through the rest of this manual to find out how to do these things.