[CentOS] odd problem with .vnc/xstartup and kdm

Wed Apr 24 22:02:18 UTC 2013
Miranda Hawarden-Ogata <hawarden at ifa.hawaii.edu>

I recently switched our workstations from gdm to kdm, because I was 
receiving some complaints with gdm about having to set the desktop 
halfway through the login (versus being able to set it from the start of 
the login process), as well as having the mile long list of previous 
logins (which, by the way, if anyone knows how to turn that off, lemme 
know, please!).

After switching the window manager to kdm, we started having problems 
with our vncserver sessions. Every single session was kde, without 
regard for the contents of the xstartup file for that particular user. I 
have users that want gnome and others that want kde, and some project 
accounts that use some other custom stuff, so obviously this was a problem.

The only "configuration" I did after yum group-installing KDE-Desktop 
was to set up the /etc/sysconfig/desktop file to contain:

so I am not sure what is up with kdm to be causing this. I tried looking 
online but only found some ancient debian/ubuntu questions that are 
mostly unanswered or resolved in ways that won't work for us (hard 
coding something in xinitrc, for example).

So, does anyone have any ideas as to what is going on and what I can do 
to resolve it? I am currently in the process of rolling back the 
workstations to the gdm configuration as a "fix", but if possible I'd 
really like to be able to actually sort out what is going on. Our 
systems are not heavily customized, being "software development 
workstation" installs with a few extra group installs (including the 
centos base tigervnc-server package) and a handful of third-party 
rpmforge packages installed, and kdm seems to work properly on the 
console (allowing selection of other desktops, etc), it's only with the 
~/.vnc/xstartup that we are having issues.