Fixing DCOP_SERVER not working error message

Q Having heard so much about PCLinuxOS and its foolproof installation, I thought I'd give it a go. I tried version 89a and it ran sweetly from the CD, so I clicked Install To Hard-Drive. The installation appeared to proceed absolutely fine: no hangups, awkward questions I couldn't answer or anything like that. It finished normally, as far as I could tell. However, on reboot from the hard drive and after I'd logged into KDE, an error message appeared, saying it couldn't start KDE and suggesting that I check my DCOP_SERVER was running. What is my DCOP_SERVER and how do I check if it's running and make it do so if not? Shouldn't it be running anyway if the PCLinuxOS installation is so foolproof? Although I have had to revert to my Mandriva setup for the time being, this isn't quite right any longer as some settings seem to have been altered by PCLinuxOS.

A It appears that you have tried to use the same home directory for your user on both distros. Sharing /home is fine, but using the same home directory in different distros is asking for problems. Although you may have the same user name, the numeric user and group IDs are often different. As the system uses the numeric IDs to determine who owns what, it is likely that your user in PCLinuxOS is not able to create files in the home directory. Since the DCOP server tries to create sockets in ~/.kde, and fails, KDE thinks the DCOP server is not running, so it cannot start up.

DCOP is the Desktop COmmunication Protocol. It is an inter-process communication system, whereby programs can exchange messages and data. It is fundamental to the working of KDE, which relies heavily on embedding one program in another, such as KMail in Kontact or KPDF in Konqueror when you click a link to a PDF file. The safest approach is to use a different home directory for each distro. You can use the same username, just change the home directory. For example, you could be 'fred' on each distro and have home directories of /home/fred-pclinuxos and /home/fred-mandriva, respectively. To make it easier to access the other distros' home directory, set your user and group IDs to be the same. I found Mandriva gave the first user a UID and GID of 500, whereas PCLinuxOS starts at 501, because the guest user for the Live CD uses 500. The files you need to edit, as root, are /etc/passwd and /etc/group. The line in /etc/passwd should be like:

username:x:UID;GID:Real Name:/home/username:/bin/bash

and in /etc/group,


Change them so that your PCLinuxOS files have the same UID and GID values as in Mandriva, and reboot. You should also make sure that all files in your home directories have the correct IDs with

chown -R username: /home/ username*

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