Well, this totally sucks but just to let you know someone's reading you.
Have you tried launching it various ways? Like from a menu and from a different xterm and from a desktop shortcut if you're using KDE in general? Maybe see if it works in one and how the commands under the GUI differ? Repeat the successful strings in the other startup mechanisms, or trace out which files the different activation processes are using? Otherwise, though, I really can't think of what it might be.