SUSE Kickoff Menu

how to build SUSE Kickoff menu in 7 steps

a lot of the steps in this how-to is taken from the Building KDE From Source Step By Step tutorial. i would suggest that you thoroughly read that tutorial if you find some aspects ambiguous.

let’s assume that all the needed tools and libraries for compiling/building KDE are already installed on your Linux.

the KDE version i have on my system is 3.5.5.

also make sure that you have installed liblazy. if not, you can get a copy here. at the time i compiled the Kickoff menu, i couldn’t find a liblazy RPM file for 32-bit x86 systems. the only ones available were for PPC and 64-bit systems. fortunately there were source RPMs available.

step 1
create a new user. the KDE tutorial tells you to name it kdedev, but that is actually arbitrary. i would also assume that you know how to go about creating a user and setting a password for it. this user also must not have root privileges.

change to that user you just created using the su command (on a console). from hereon, let’s just use kdedev as the user.

su – kdedev

step 2
create the necessary directories. using mkdir, create the following inside kdedev’s home.

SRC folder
LOG folder
BUILD folder
INSTALL folder

actually what you really need is a directory where you download the source, configure it and compile afterwards. you can just do away with the directories mentioned above and make your own. but make sure that you set all the necessary variables where the build will be installed later. on this how-to, i would suggest that you follow the steps.

step 3
set environment variables. using vi, or any other text editor you prefer, create or edit the .bash_profile file in kdedev’s home directory containing:


step 4
logout and test the variables. exit from your current kdedev user session, using the exit command. then su โ€“ kdedev again. check if the the enviroment variables are properly set.

echo $PATH

the following commands should show you the paths you entered in your .bash_profile file.

step 5
download the sources. there is a subversion repository of the suse Kickoff menu. i am using revision 600658 (for just the kicker directory). you can get it via websvn,, or through a svn client tool using this address, svn://

change first to the SRC folder before you get the copy via the svn utility.

cd / home/kdedev/src/kde

now download the sourcecode

svn co svn://

step 6
start the build process. change to the suse Kickoff menu directory

cd /home/kdedev/src/kde/suse_kickoff
make -f Makefile.cvs

create the Kickoff menu build directory, then change to it

mkdir /home/kdedev/src/kde/build/suse_kickoff
cd /home/kdedev/src/kde/build/suse_kickoff

this is where we will execute the configure and make commands, instead of the SRC (src/kde/suse_kickoff) directory to keep the source clean.

/home/kdedev/src/kde/suse_kickoff/configure โ€“prefix=/home/kdedev/kde-unstable > \ /home/kdedev/src/kde/log/suse_kickoff.log 2>&1

(note: i unintentionally wrote the wrong path to the configure script . before it was /home/kdedev/src/kde/build/suse_kickoff/configure. obviously it doesn’t reside there. above is the correct path to the said script. my apologies on this.. .)

you could actually skip the redirection part and have the output go to the standard output instead. the logs are there for convenience. in case something goes wrong during the configure and/or make steps, you have a copy of what happened during either process.

make >> /home/kdedev/src/kde/log/suse_kickoff.log 2>&1

it is expected that errors may come out and force the make process to stop since the svn source you have is a developers copy. it is and will be constantly changing until such time that it is deemed stable.

the errors that i’ve encountered so far, lucky me, is that make complains that it does not have a rule to compile a file. the directories doc, kate and konqueror were the number one culprits. just take them out from the SRC folder. repeat from the start of STEP 6 until the compile is successful. (you don’t have to compile everything under the suse_kickoff menu from the svn repository. you only need the components that the new menu would need for it to build successfully. under suse_kickoff in the svn repository, try to download only the following directories: kicker, kcontrol, kdesktop, kdm, kdmlib, kioslave, klipper, kxkb & libkonq, plus the files needed for make from the base of the suse_kickoff directory.)

make install >> /home/kdedev/src/kde/log/arts.log 2>&1

during make install some portions will fail since it requires root privileges. you could just switch to root and do make install as root.

for explanations on other errors during the build process and how to go around it, please refer to the Building KDE From Source Step By Step tutorial Step Six: Troubleshooting

step 7
run KDE with the new SuSE Kickoff menu. switch to the user kdedev by starting a new KDE session. but before you do that, edit the .xinitrc file from kdedev home directory, or create one if necessary. modify it to show the line,

exec /home/kdedev/kde-unstable/bin/startkde

at this point you only installed the Kickoff menu and its related components to the /home/kdedev/kde-unstable directory instead of the real KDE directory which may be either on /usr or /opt. so you won’t be able use this menu on other users on your system. you can do steps 3 (and 4) and 7 for it to work on other users.

enjoy the new SUSE Kickoff menu!

* don’t forget to install the devel package for the Cyrus SASL API before you compile. chances are, some app that require client-side authentication needs this API. kmail is one such app.

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Notice: This article was published on October 31, 2006 and the content above may be out of date.