Introduction + create a custom user profile for KDE 4.10.5

Niki Kovacs info at
Sun Aug 18 12:46:52 BST 2013


Since this my first post on this list, allow me to introduce myself. I'm 
running a small IT company in South France, based 100% on GNU/Linux and 
FOSS. I'm mainly working with schools, public libraries, local town 
halls and small companies.

Until recently, I've been using exclusively a highly modified Xfce 
desktop for the job. Only recently have I played around with KDE 4.10.5 
(custom-built on Slackware 14.0 =>, and I liked it so 
much I decided to install it on my main workhorse PC and to install it 
to some customers.

Everything works perfectly so far. Now I have only one last detail to 
figure out, but it seems it's a tough one. Creating a custom user 
profile, e. g. the desktop's default configuration when a user is created.

Compared to the vanilla KDE configuration, the custom user profile I 
created for a template user includes a few sensible defaults. Here's 
what I got so far to make KDE4 more Joe-Sixpack-friendly:

* Increase kicker panel height.
* Replace default quickstart buttons on the kicker panel by a handful of 
custom ones for Firefox, Thunderbird and Open Office.
* Add these same applications to Favorites in the Kickoff menu.
* Add a shutdown button to the lower right side of the kicker.
* Deactivate graphic effects (for low-spec hardware).
* Deactivate semantic desktop and file indexation (for low-spec hardware).
* Change mouse cursor theme and enable double-click.
* Define Firefox and Thunderbird as default web browser and mail client.
* Change desktop default to "Folder View" with ~/Desktop as default folder.
* Choose a more "corporate" and neutral wallpaper.
* Etc.

Creating a custom profile for a desktop environment like Xfce is dead 
simple. All you have to do is create a template user, configure the 
desktop, then copy all of /home/template/.config to /etc/skel (make a 
package eventually), and that's it. With KDE, things are more 
complicated, as it seems.

Application settings are stored in ~/.kde/share/config, in a series of 
files. Now of course I could grab all these files and copy them over to 
/etc/skel. Here's a summary of the problems that arise.

Some configuration defaults in plasma-desktop-appletsrc, for example, 
use hardcoded geometry, like this:


This is on a PC with a 19" screen, with 1280x1024 resolution. Now if I 
package this profile and move it to another computer with a different 
(smaller or bigger) resolution, the new user's default panel will be 
either too wide or too small. Hmmmmm.

Some configuration details seem to hardcode the user, like here for example:


When I configure Thunderbird as a default mail client, this gets 
reflected in ~/.kde/share/config/emaildefaults, which looks like this:

Profile=Par défaut

[PROFILE_Par défaut]

Now my system is in french, hence the profile name. But my users are not 
all french, they also use english and german on their desktops.

I've been googling the best part of a sunday morning, and I found quite 
some information. Even a KDE administration guide, which I read from 
first to last page:

Unfortunately the information contained in this document is somewhere 
between puzzling and outdated. For example, it mentions Kiosktool, which 
looks like a nifty tool, only it's nowhere to be found in the download 
section of

I'm a little bit stuck on this one, and I'd be grateful for any help 
and/or suggestion.

Cheers from the sunny South of France,


Microlinux - Solutions informatiques 100% Linux et logiciels libres
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