posted by Robert Follett on Tue 2nd Sep 2003 15:19 UTC

"XFce on SuSE, Page 3"
The startxfce4 script

When you login into your system and select a window manager, the Linux system will call for the needed binaries in /usr/X11R6/bin/. Once the XFce4 RPMs are installed, you will have a (binary) entry by the name of startxfce4 located in the /usr/bin/ directory. As we want XFce4 to be available for such system calls, we will link startxfce4 from it's original location in /usr/bin/startxfce4 to the the /usr/X11R6/bin/ directory:

ln - s /usr/bin/startxfce4 /usr/X11R6/bin/XFce4

Please note, even though the start script is called "startxfce4", we named the link "XFce4". We will discuss why later.


The proper way to customize startxfce4 is not by modifying the actual file, but rather through the xinitrc file. To do so, copy the (global) xinitrc file from /etc/xfce4/ (it's original location) to ~/.xfce4/. Once it is sucessfully copied make the file executable and then modify that file locally as desired.

mkdir ~/.xfce4
cp /etc/xfce4/xinitrc ~/.xfce4
cd ~/.xfce4
chmod +x xinitrc

Adding Xfce4 to the KDM menu

SuSE 8.2 offers several window managers during installation. When you login to the system, you can select any of the previously installed window managers via a drop-down menu in KDM, the KDE display manager.

Unfortunately, any additional windowing environments that you install, from source or binaries, will not be automatically listed in the KDM drop-down menu. Thus, they will not be accessible unless you kill the X-server and manually start your additional window manager from the console window.

Obviously, we want XFce4 to be displayed as an option in the KDM drop-down menu. We can do this by editing the kdmrc file located in /etc/opt/kde3/share/config/kdm/. Look for the "SessionTypes=" entry in the kdmrc file:


The kdmrc file lists the window managers available to the user via the KDM drop-down menu. Simply add "xfce4" after the "SessionTypes=" entry.

The order that they are listed is the order that they will be displayed in the drop-down menu, so where you place it in this entry is a matter of choice. If you place it at the end of the "SessionTypes=" entry, make sure that it is followed by a comma.

Notice that the entry we are placing in the kdmrc file is called "xfce4", rather than "startxfce4". The reason for doing so is because the name that we gave the link (not the name of the start file itself) is the name that will show up in the KDM drop-down menu. A menu entry named "xfce4" is certainly more aesthetically pleasing than "startxfce4". So, the new "SessionTypes=" entry should look like the following (don't forget the comma):


Keep in mind that the "SessionTypes=" line lists the window managers in the same order that they will be listed in the drop-down menu. If you want XFce4 (or any other window manager) to be listed first, simply change the order of the listings.

Special Thanks

Thanks to Ilkka Ollakka for contributing those wonderful XFce4 RPMs for SuSE 8.2.

Thanks to Steve Nye for his assistance some of the research, as well as other valuable input.

About the Author:
Robert Follett, a Northwest bred Linux lover and a new transplant from Portland, OR to Houston, TX.

Table of contents
  1. "XFce on SuSE, Page 1"
  2. "XFce on SuSE, Page 2"
  3. "XFce on SuSE, Page 3"
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