Before switching to VL, I always used .profile and $ENV. Thing is, .profile wasn't being sourced when I first installed VL. I recently ruined that installation ( user data stayed intact
) and reinstalled light. .profile still wasn't being sourced when session started from kdm. Since I wanted to see what gdm and xdm would do, I ran vxdmset. Gdm sourced .profile and .xprofile, and xdm sourced .profile twice, then .xprofile. Since I'm used to looking at kdm, I switched it back with vxdmset. Kdm started sourcing both .profile and .xprofile.
Apparently, I didn't run across vxdmset during two installs. Running it causes kdm to source the files correctly, and that solves my problem.
Thanks Bigpaws. Just took me a while to see it because it wasn't working as documented. Now to move the stuff that various scripts put in .bashrc that should be in .profile.