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Background Processes

All KDE background services are user-specific: unlike system daemons they are not shared between users. As well as being unique per user they are also unique per X-server display. The processes are:


Desktop communication


Generic service daemon.

Triggers Sycoca database updates when needed


Initialization service

See the section called “kcminit” for more information.


Program launch (this is not the Alt + F2 dialog!)

See the section called “ klauncher for more information.


User notifications.

See the section called “ knotify for more information.


Session management

See the section called “KSMServer” for more information.


kdeinit is used to start all other KDE programs. kdeinit can start normal binary program files as well as kdeinit loadable modules (KLMs). KLMs work just like binary program files but can be started more efficiently. KLMs live in $ KDEDIR /lib/kde3

The drawback is that programs started this way appear as kdeinit in the output of top and ps . Use top -c or ps aux to see the actual program name:



waba     23184  0.2  2.1 23428 11124 ?	S    21:41   0:00 kdeinit: Running...
waba     23187  0.1  2.1 23200 11124 ?	S    21:41   0:00 kdeinit: dcopserver --nosid
waba     23189  0.2  2.4 25136 12496 ?	S    21:41   0:00 kdeinit: klauncher
waba     23192  0.7  2.8 25596 14772 ?	S    21:41   0:00 kdeinit: kded
waba     23203  0.8  3.4 31516 17892 ?	S    21:41   0:00 kdeinit:

kdeinit: Running... indicates the master kdeinit process. The other processes listed are programs started as KLMs.

When kdeinit starts for the first time it will launch dcopserver , klauncher , and kded , as well as any additional programs specified on its command line in the startkde script, normally kcminit and knotify .


dcopserver is a daemon which provides inter-process communication (DCOP) facilities to all KDE applications. The DCOP facilities are accessible from the command shell via the dcop command line tool. DCOP is essential for all KDE applications.

Some related files:


e.g. .DCOPserver_linux__0. Controlled by $ DCOPAUTHORITY

/tmp/.ICE-unix/dcop pid - number

e.g. dcop7634-1069677856. This is the file that the DCOPserver file above points to.

$ HOME /.ICEauthority

Authorization information controlled by $ ICEAUTHORITY


kcminit executes initialization services during startup. Initialization services are specified in the .desktop files of applications or services via the X-KDE-Init line:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=kcmshell energy

Initialization services are typically used for initializing hardware based on user-specified settings.

kcminit --list can be used to show all initialization services and kcminit service can be used to execute a single service explicitly. This can be useful when investigating startup problems.


klauncher is a daemon which is responsible for service activation within KDE. It operates in close connection with the kdeinit master process to start new processes. KDE applications communicate with klauncher over DCOP in order to start new applications or services.

Best known from the error message: KLauncher could not be reached via DCOP which either indicates a serious problem with the dcopserver or that klauncher crashed.

klauncher can be restarted by restarting kdeinit from a console window. Make sure that $ HOME , $ DISPLAY and the various $ KDEDIR(S) are set correctly when doing so!


The primary task of knotify is to relay sound notifications to the sound server, it also provides alternative notification methods.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire