login without kdm messes up desktop background

Hi, all,

I’m trying to switch to opensuse 11 from debian lenny because certain photography-related software that I want to run isn’t available prepackaged for debian (or is years out-of-date) and also won’t compile under debian because of unavailable dependencies. I am used to working at the command line under debian and having a very difficult time coming to terms with yast.

In particular, my preferred desktop is icewm. Under debian I didn’t use a display manager. I just typed “startx” at the command line.

Under opensuse 11, when I disable or uninstall kdm and log into icewm without going through the kdm, my desktop (just a plain grey background, no image, no icons, no nothing) has a very annoying and eye-straining “tiny little cross-hatch” effect going on.

When I log in using kdm, the desktop is very smooth grey as it should be.

How do I log into icewm without using kdm, that is from the console, and not have the messed up desktop? It doesn’t seem to be a resolution issue, because images and the plain white background on a web-page display just fine. There is probably some configuration file I need to edit, but I don’t know which ones, I’m still a linux newbie (switched from windows about a year ago).

Thanks! in advance for any insight,


My goal is to login to my icewm desktop from the console, without using a display manager. I have found a partial solution. I used yast to select “console” as my preferred method of logging in. I type “startx” at the command line and icewm starts, but the desktop looks really awful, cross-hatches instead of a smooth grey background. I open a terminal and type in “exec icewm-session” and presto, magic, the nice smooth grey desktop appears. This command comes from IceWM FAQ and Howto: Installation

I also finally figured out how to shut my computer down at the command line. The right command is “sudo /sbin/shutdown -h now”. The problem with typing “sudo shutdown -h now” is that /sbin isn’t in the user path, as per a helpful post somewhere on the opensuse forums.

Next step is to figure out how to get the “exec icewm-session” to happen on its own instead of my having to type it in every time I start my window manager. Oh, well, one step at a time.