HOW-TO: KDE 3.5 on 11.4 (**UPDATED**)

**** UPDATED ****

Finding KDE4.x slow, bloated, a solution in search of a need, or just too much of a hassle? Then come to the familiar and low-tech, “easier, faster, simpler” desktop option for the openSuse 11.4 distribution!

If you feel comfortable doing a bit of extra work to get a base install of KDE 3.5 on your 11.x distro version, from which you can add only what you need, then this procedure is for you! Big thanks to the OpenSuse KDE3 community (openSUSE Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-kde3), especially the workhorse of it all – Ilya Chernykh, and the Trinity community (, all of whom are labouring hard to keep KDE3 alive.

Clean install using 11.x_DVD or “netinstall.iso” (don’t use a “Live” CD).

  • Select new install, allow auto setup (works for me, YMMV)
  • Install only “Other - Minimal X Windows”
  • Replace “icewm-lite” with “icewm-default”, add “mc” and “nano” (my tastes)

After this (very) minimal install, login (using root saves time) and open Xterm and use “nano” to change “windowmanager” from “twm” to “icewm”; e.g., “cd /etc/sysconfig”, then “nano windowmanager”. After you make and save the change (CTL+O), and “CTL+X” from “nano”, logout from TWM (exit on menu)

After next login you will have more of a desktop, use Yast:

  • to remove DVD (or netinstall.iso from repos (my choice, since never needed again),
  • and do all patches/updates, then reboot (upgraded kernel, or just to be safe, etc)

After login, add 11.x/kde3.5 repo, e.g., I add this and call it “KDE3_on_11.4”:
Index of /repositories/KDE:/KDE3/openSUSE_11.4

Using Yast > Software Management, select View > Repositories, and select the one you just added, and select only the following entries for your base install of KDE3; BTW, if you select Options, and deselect “show dev …” and “show debug”, the list to select from will be a LOT shorter and clearer):

  • kde3-gtk-qt-engine (provides the GTK settings applet in “Personal Settings”)
  • kde3-k3b (CD/DVD burner, optional, my choice)
  • kde3-kio_sysinfo
  • kde3-knemo (network activity icons in systray, optional, my choice)
  • kdeaddons3-konqueror
  • kdeadmin3
  • kdeartwork3
  • kdeartwork3-kscreensaver
  • kdeartwork3-sound
  • kdebase3 (also need 32bit of selecting from x64 choices?)
  • kdebase3-SuSE (in addition to auto pullin of “kdebase3-SuSE-branding-opensuse”; accept “downgrade if offered”)
  • kdebase3-apps
  • kdebase3-kdm (REALLY important)
  • kdebase3-ksysguardd
  • kdebase3-session
  • kdebindings3
  • kdegames3
  • kdegraphics3
  • kdemultimedia3
  • kdemultimedia3-CD
  • kdemultimedia3-mixer (this gives you your volume control applet!)
  • kdenetwork3
  • kdepim3 (this gives you kmail)
  • kdeutils3
  • qtcurve-kde3 (optional)
  • desktop-data-openSUSE
  • desktop-data-openSUSE-extra

If you need wireless or other stuff, add that too. Accept the dependencies offered, and install everything. After install, BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE, open an Xterm and use “nano” again to make the following changes (cd /etc/sysconfig, and nano xxxxx):

  • windowmanager: change “icewm” to “startkde3”
  • displaymanager: change “xdm” to “kdm3”.

REBOOT. If IceWm hangs and won’t reboot, just hit your reset button … common occurence. Log in to your new KDE3 system. Add your own personal tastes in additional software, and personal settings.

IMPORTANT: in Yast > System > System Services, turn ON/YES “haldaemon”. Without this, CD’s, DVD’s, USB sticks may not be recognised when inserted.

Important Note: From this point on, ALWAYS use Yast’s “Installation Summary” tab to view any updates or further installs that you make. Zypper has a habit of trying to install KDE4 stuff at every opportunity, and it isn’t long until you end up with a full-blown KDE4 install that complicates your every use of the system. Be vigilant! I personally find that locking/tabooing the first suggestion of KDE4 file manager, works wonders.


Warning: In relative terms, I’m stone-age. I don’t have/use a cell/smart phone, netbook/laptop, facebook, rss, twitter, texting and all that “social” stuff. So my desktop needs are modest:

Firefox, Gpicview, Ktorrent or Deluge (packman), Java-SUN, Flash, Gimp, Acrobat, Msttfonts (use Updates pullin), Wine, Bleachbit (Contrib repo), Rar/Unrar/P7Zip/LHA/Unzip, etc., LibreOffice, gcc (and make and kernel-syms) to enable install of proprietary ATI driver. Also, (g)&(s)Mplayer, Gnome Mplayer (for x-ms-asf), vlc, codecs, – i.e., “Multimedia” per:
Multi-media and Restricted Format Installation Guide
Check your multimedia problem in ten steps

You will need to add some repos for some of these add-ons; here’s my 11.4 list:
Index of /distribution/11.4/repo/oss
Index of /distribution/11.4/repo/non-oss
Index of /update/11.4
Index of /repositories/KDE:/KDE3/openSUSE_11.4 (aka “KDE3_on_11.4”)
Index of /repositories/LibreOffice:/Stable/openSUSE_11.4
Index of /repositories/openSUSE:/11.4:/Contrib/standard
Index of /repositories/Emulators:/Wine/openSUSE_11.4
Index of /repositories/Java:/packages/openSUSE_11.4
(if needed) Index of /repositories/home:/muzlocker/openSUSE_11.4 **
Index of /repositories/KDE:/Extra/openSUSE_11.4
Index of /pub/mirrors/packman/suse/openSUSE_11.4/

** This repo contains better freetype2 and cairo libs for enhanced (sharper) sub-pixel rendering on LCDs.

If you are migrating to (say) 11.4 from 10.x or 11.x, and wish to continue using Kmail (within kdepim3), you can tranfer your existing mail folders, settings and address book by saving the following beforehand, and then copying them into your new install (same locations, I advise renaming any new (target) directories to “xxxxx.old” before pasting your old versions into the new directories/folders). I only use kmail, so full “PIMers” may require more:

In your /(HOME)/.kde/share/apps folder: kabc, kmail, kwallet.
In your /(HOME)/.kde/share/config folder: emaildefaults, emailidentities, kaddressbookrc, kmaileventrc, kmailrc, kwalletrc.

If any problems, give a shout to the OpenSuse KDE3 community (openSUSE Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-kde3).