How to redistribute a customized KDE desktop? (Debian derivative)

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at
Wed Oct 24 13:09:00 BST 2012

adrelanos posted on Wed, 24 Oct 2012 10:26:07 +0000 as excerpted:

> I am adrelanos, developer of Whonix, [1] which is a Debian derivative.
> I want to customize the KDE desktop, only small things which you an
> normally do with a few clicks. Such as adding desktop icons, changing
> wallpaper and theme, modifying the taskbar, enable show menu bar in
> Dolphin, etc.
> What is the recommend way of doing so?
> Can I just set up a fresh user account, make my changes and copy ~/.kde
> and ~/.local to /etc/skel?
> Cheers,
> adrelanos
> [1]

You'll want to read the kde system administration guide (link below) on 
kde techbase, in particular the sections on filesystem layout (both fdo/ and kde) and/or environmental vars.

Basically, kde has a hierarchial config layout in which the distro, 
system (if customized from distro) and user configs all have the ability 
to contain the same settings, with the user config (normally) overwriting 
system, which overwrites distro, which overwrites built-in defaults.

As a distro, you'd either place your files in the distro/system location, 
or set the KDEDIRS var (often unset-builtin-defaulted to the single
/usr/share dir, depending on distro) to contain both the debian and your 
own custom system dirs (in the appropriate order so your settings 
overwrote the debian and kde defaults, but the user and/or sysadmin could 
still override yours).  That way, a user who moved away their KDEHOME 
(defaulting to ~/.kde as shipped by upstream, but many distros change 
that to ~/.kde4) in ordered to clear a broken user config would start 
with your defaults, not the upstream debian or kde defaults, even if pull 
in /etc/skel/ again.

KDE's operational config is combined from both the KDEDIRS and KDEHOME 
locations, with KDEDIRS itself stackable.  A sysadmin can thus put 
settings in any of those locations.  A distro should confine themselves 
to the system locations, of course, but you may wish to consider stacking 
via KDEDIRS, so you can keep your customizations entirely separate, and 
an admin or user can toggle between your customized and debian upstream 
configs, for troubleshooting or the like.

Do note, however, that with the upcoming kf5 (kde frameworks 5), some of 
those location defaults may possibly move from the legacy kde specific 
locations and vars to the new fdo-compliant locations.  The sysadmin 
guide covers the fdo vars/locations to some extent as well, altho they 
aren't being used that much yet, with kde4.

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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