10.4. Setting up Desktop, Menu bar, etc the Same for Everyone When the User is Created

There are some people who think that the appearance of the "desktop" which accompanies Skolelinux/Debian-edu is not totally optimal. Maybe you would like to give all of your users another background picture, other icons on the desktop, other icons on the K-menu and taskbar in KDE. It would be great if that could be done in such a way that everything was done once and for all in a simple fashion.

The secret lies in placing the files that you want all of your users to get when each user is created, in the correct directory, in this case in the directory named /etc/skel. If your users already exist, then see 7 og Section D.4.

Everything that is placed in the directory /etc/skel will get copied to the user's home directory when the user is created. For example, if a file test.txt is placed there, then it will be put in the home directory with the correct permissions and ownership.

What we want is for everyone from the start should get a predefined setup of background, desktop, K-menu, etc in KDE. The way this is done is to make a user which serves as a template. Call this user, for example, golden, see Chapter 11 to find out how to create a user. Now log in as this user and set up thing the way you want them to be. Then copy the directory that contains all of the relevant KDE configuration files into /etc/skel. You find the KDE configuration files in the directories under .kde

First create the directory /etc/skel/.kde with the command mkdir /etc/skel/.kde, then do the copying with the command

cp -ar /skole/tjener/home0/golden/.kde/* /etc/skel/.kde

Everything you see in your KDE desktop environment is a setting in one or another KDE configuration file. For example, the attributes for your shortcut icons are covered in the file Desktop/something-or-other.desktop. The following is part of the contents in the shortcut for OpenOffice.org Writer


[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Encoding=UTF-8
Terminal=false
Categories=Application;Office;
Icon=ooo_writer
Exec=/usr/bin/oowriter %U
Type=Application
Name=OpenOffice.org Writer
Comment=OpenOffice.org Text Document
StartupNotify=false
Here you can see clearly how you can make changes to attributes such as the file path to where the program is stored, what kind of picture that is to be used for the icon, etc.

10.4.1. The Kicker, the Bottom Menu Line

Another important directory for KDE configuration files is .kde/share/config. This is where you find almost all of the configuration files for KDE programs. The niftiest one to know about is the file .kde/share/config/kickerrc which determines the appearance of the panel at the bottom of your screen.

10.4.2. Desktop Icons, Background

Whatever you have on the desktop in the way of icons and other types of shortcuts is determined by the contents of the directory Desktop. Everything in the directory /etc/skel/Desktop winds up on the desktop for all new users. Copy shortcuts that you want everyone to have into this directory; see Section D.4 to find out how these .desktop-files can be copied.