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Re: Copy all desktop settings for a new user

on Sat, Dec 13, 2003 at 10:41:34AM +0100, Philipp Schulte (pschulte@uni-duisburg.de) wrote:
> Hello,

> lets say I have a few users (not all of them with prior GNU/Linux

> experiance) and I want to setup a common profile for their accounts.
> By profile I mean things like desktop-icons, desktop-theme, menues,
> MUA-settings, browser-settings, printer ...
> The users will most likely either use KDE or Gnome and applications
> like Firebird, Thunderbird and OpenOffice.
> I would like to create a role-account, configure everything for this
> account and copy all those settings everytime a new user is created.
> I know about /etc/skel but I am not sure if it's possible to use this
> because some paths are absolute in configuration files.

What files, and what paths?

I presume you're looking for a turnkey solution of some sort.  I'm not
aware of one, though I suspect that some (much?) of the current
corporate interest in GNOME and KDE is just this capability:  rolling
out a standard profile.  To what extent have you researched this?  Your
initial post and followups don't indicate this.

I'd look myself at a divide and conquer approach:

  - What is my standard configuration?  Presumably you've got a standard
    desktop config in mind.

  - What files _don't_ have personalizations in them?  These are
    candidates for /etc/skel or some similar default configuration
    installation library or tool.

  - What files have personalizations in them?  These need addressing
    either by:

    - Allowing installation with user-specific configurations, or

    - Pointing personalizations at a system- (or group-) specific
      repository of configurations.  Some files may not be amenable such

As for _how_ to provide for user-specific configurations, what you're
essentially asking for is a templating system.  I suspect that most of
the tools you're looking at already have existing templates.  Some of
these, if well-designed, may already be configured to look at /usr/local
paths as well as /usr, for configurations, and take /usr/local by

Otherwise, one simple proxy is to substitute shell variables where
necessary for current user.  If your installation script runs as the
user in question, simply using "${USER}" within the context of a shell
script or here document may be sufficient.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I
    wasn't a Communist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak
    up, because I wasn't a Jew.  Then they came for the Catholics, and I
    didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant.  Then they came for me,
    and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.
    -- Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

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