KDE System Administration/Environment Variables

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Contents

Introduction

There are numerous environment variables that are useful when managing and controlling a KDE environment. Supported environment variables are listed below.

Automatically Set Variables

KDE_FULL_SESSION

Set to true by KDE startup, it is used by e.g. Konqueror to know if it should consider remaining in memory for future re-use when being closed. If not set, konqueror will exit after being closed (e.g. kdesu does that, it's also useful for debugging).

If you plan on using this variable to detect a running KDE session, it is safest to check if the value is not empty (i.e. test -n "$KDE_FULL_SESSION") instead of seeing if it equals true. This allows for changing the value of the variable to include KDE version info or other uses.

KDE_SESSION_VERSION

Introduced in KDE4, this environment variable is set to the major version number of the KDE desktop being run on startup. This allows one to know which kde?-config to run: kde${KDE_SESSION_VERSION}-config. For KDE3 this will resolve to kde-config and for KDE4 this will result in kde4-config. One can then use this knowledge to query more details as to the minor version, prefixes, etc.

Display and Window Management

KDEWM

If the KDEWM environment variable has been set, then it will be used as KDE's window manager within the startkde script instead of kwin.

KDE_DISPLAY

An old(?) way to set DISPLAY for multihead.

KDE_MULTIHEAD

Set this variable to "true" to indicate that KDE is running on a multi-head system.


File System

KDEDIRS

Overrides KDEDIR and allows you to specify multiple directories where KDE searches for its data. Useful if you want or have to install some programs to a different prefix than the rest of your KDE.

Please note, that at least the startkde script expects the KDE install directory to be listed as first.

KDEHOME

If not set, KDE uses ~/.kde as directory where your personal data is stored.

KDE_HOME_READONLY

Set this variable to indicate that your home directory is mounted as read-only.

KDEROOTHOME

If not set, KDE uses ~root/.kde as directory for root's personal data. Was introduced to prevent KDE from accidently overwriting user data with root permission when user run a KDE program after switching with "su" to root.

KDESYCOCA

Allows to specify the path and the name of the generated KDE system configuration cache file.

KDETMP

Allows to specify another path than /tmp where KDE stores its temporary files.

KDEVARTMP

Allows to specify another path than /var/tmp where KDE stores its variable files.

Localization

KDE_LANG

Overrides the KDE language configuration, e.g. "KDE_LANG=fr kprogram &" starts a program with french translation if the necessary files are installed.

KDE_UTF8_FILENAMES

If this environment variable is set, KDE assumes all filenames are in UTF-8 encoding regardless of the current C locale.

Networking

KDE_NO_IPV6

Set this variable to disable IPv6 support / IPv6 DNS lookups.

KDE_USE_IDN

The content of this variable defines for which top level domains the usage of IDN is enabled. If not set, "at:ch:cn:de:dk:kr:jp:li:no:se:tw" will be used.

Performance Related

KDE_IS_PRELINKED

Set this variable to indicate that you have prelinked your KDE binaries and libraries.

KDE_MALLOC

If set to "1" the fast malloc routine provided in kdecore is used if KDE was compiled with --enable-fast-malloc, otherwise the libc's routine is used.

KDE_NOUNLOAD

If this variable is set then KLibLoader is told to never unload dynamically opened libraries.

KDE_DOUNLOAD

If this variable is set then KLibLoader is told to always try to unload dynamically opened libraries. Warning, this will most probably lead to crashes!

Troubleshooting and Debugging

KDE_DEBUG

Set this variable to disable the KDE crash handler (same as --nocrashhandler command line option).

KDE_FORK_SLAVES

Set this variable to spawn KIO-slaves directly from the application process itself, by default KIO-slaves are spawned using klauncher/kdeinit. This option is useful if the KIO-slave should run in the same environment as the application, this can be the case with Clearcase.

freedesktop.org Compliance

The following environment variables are defined in the freedesktop.org base directory specification and are supported by all XDG compliant environments and applications.

XDG_DATA_HOME

Defines the base directory relative to which user specific data files should be stored. If $XDG_DATA_HOME is either not set or empty, a default equal to $HOME/.local/share is used.

XDG_CONFIG_HOME

Defines the base directory relative to which user specific configuration files should be stored. If $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is either not set or empty, a default equal to $HOME/.config is used.

XDG_DATA_DIRS

Defines the preference-ordered set of base directories to search for data files in addition to the $XDG_DATA_HOME base directory. The directories in $XDG_DATA_DIRS should be separated with a colon ':'. If $XDG_DATA_DIRS is either not set or empty, a value equal to /usr/local/share/:/usr/share/ is used.

XDG_CONFIG_DIRS

Defines the preference-ordered set of base directories to search for configuration files in addition to the $XDG_CONFIG_HOME base directory. The directories in $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS should be separated with a colon ':'. If $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS is either not set or empty, a value equal to /etc/xdg is used.


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