HOW-TO: KDE 3.5 on 12.2

This write-up outlines the procedure for a basic istall of KDE 3.5 on openSuse 12.2, to which you can add your favourite applications. A “kitchen sink” Live CD/installer of 12.1 and KDE 3.5 exists here (Derivatives - openSUSE) for x86 and x_64, and I imagine the author will add a 12.2 version in due course.

Using a 12.2_DVD or “netinstall.iso” (32 or 64-bit, but don’t use a “Live” CD):

  • Select “new install”, and 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 from repos (my choice, since never needed again),
  • and do all online updates, then reboot (maybe there was an upgraded kernel, or just to be safe, etc).

After login, add 12.2/kde3.5 repo via Yast > Software > Software Repositories > Add > Community, e.g., “”.

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-knemo (network activity icons in systray, optional, my choice)
kdebase3 (also need 32bit of selecting from x64 choices?)
kdebase3-SuSE (in addition to auto pullin of “kdebase3-SuSE-branding-opensuse”)
kdebase3-kdm (REALLY important)
kdemultimedia3-mixer (this gives you your volume control applet!)
kdepim3 (this gives you kmail)

If you need wireless or other stuff, add that too using the KDE:/KDE3 repository.

Now change back to the regular “Search” selection, making sure these are selected:

  • desktop-data-openSUSE
  • desktop-data-openSUSE-extra
  • fetchmsttfonts (in “no arch”; gives you basic MS TT fonts like arial, georgia, etc)

Accept the dependencies offered, and install everything you have check-marked. After install, BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE, open an Xterm and use “nano” again to make the following changes (cd /etc/sysconfig, and nano xxxxx), where “xxxxx” is:

  • windowmanager: change “icewm” to “startkde3” (one occurence, front of file), and
  • displaymanager: change “xdm” to “kdm3” (one occurence, front of file).

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 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), Flash, Gimp, Acrobat, Wine, Bleachbit (packman), Rar/Unrar/P7Zip, etc., LibreOffice, gcc (and make and kernel-syms) to enable optional install of proprietary ATI/Nvidia driver. For multimedia I go plainly and simply with VLC (VideoLan), libdvdcss2 (from and with gecko-mediaplayer … the latter of which provides all the codecs and plugins within firefox browser. For the “kitchen sink” method, read:
-, and

About Java. It’s really not needed, not even for LibreOffice which automatically installs it, so if you “Taboo” java-1_xxxx-openjdk in Yast2 > Software Management, this buggy and swiss-cheese security nightmare will stay uninstalled.

If you are migrating to 12.2 from an earlier version of openSuse with KDE 3.5, 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, kmail.eventrc, kmailrc, kwalletrc.

Any problems, consult OpenSuse KDE3 community (openSUSE Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-kde3).