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Let me see. You need to transfer your configurations between diferent PC's? or you need to save/restore your open apps? If it's the former, all you need to do is to copy the .kde folder in your home folder. For the latter you need to hibernate. That way your open apps remain open and will appear where you left them when you turn it back on.
So .kde is effectively a complete image of the environment at the time it is copied? When is it updated? Because if I boot up and log in again, the desktops are not the way I left them. So how do I "sync" the .kde directory?
No. The .kde directory contains your settings. Like the wallpaper you have, the shortcuts you have put on your desktop, the position of your panel, what applets you have put in your panel, etc. What you want to make (an image of the running applications) can only be achieved through hibernation. The way to activate hibernation is to click on the "exit" entry in the start menu and click on the "hibernate" button in the "exit" dialog box. If the hibernate button isn't present is because the proper ACPI mainboard support for your computer's mainboard haven't been added to the linux kernel yet (in which case you likelly need to wait for the next release of your distro, or install a distro with a more recent kernel).
Perhaps you mean suspend to RAM and suspend to disk? That would hold an active session, but not replicate a "start up" for repeated use. Ideally, I'd like to replicate for repeated use (see bullet 2 below).
There are several questions which fall out of this:
-what happens with the .kde directory when one alternatively runs 4.2 and 3.5, as in a networked environment, where the home directory is commonly mounted, and there are diverse platforms, running different KDE versions?
-currently, when I startup KDE, I get a collection of various windows with various applications. That happens on the diverse platforms. What is the mechanism which provides for this?
Open System Settings. Click on the "Advanced" tab, then on "Session Manager". Make sure the appropriate option is selected under the "On Login" header. If you want the programs that were open when you logged off to start up then make sure "Restore previous session" is selected. If you want no programs to autostart, select "Start with an empty session".
If you want to set up an initial startup configuration that's the same every time you log in you need to select "Restore manually saved session". When you have that selected (and hit apply), a new option appears in the Kickoff Application Launcher called "Save Session". Just click that when you have your desktop set up the way you like it and that will become your new default setup on login. If this is what you want, I suggest restarting using the "Start with an empty session" option and THEN, with a clean desktop, change to "Restore manually saved session", set up you desktop the way you like it, and save it with "Save Session". That way you won't have anything running you don't want running on startup.