HowTos for the desktop

Modifying the KDM login screen

Customisations to the KDM login screen are made by adding a file in /etc/default/kdm.d/ specifying variables to override the default.

Here is one example used to activate the theme in the desktop-base package:


See the code in /etc/init.d/kdm for information on how these variables are used.

Using KDE "Plasma", GNOME, LXDE, Xfce and/or MATE together

To install other desktop environments after installation, simply use apt-get:

 apt-get install gnome lxde xfce4 mate-desktop

Users will then be able to choose any of the five desktop environment via the login manager before logging in. Of course, you can also choose to give less choices.

The usage of LXDE as default on thin clients can be forced; see networked clients for details.

If you don't want to do installations with the default desktop KDE "Plasma", you can also install with one of the four alternative desktops, GNOME, LXDE, Xfce or MATE directly.


While the free software flash-player gnash is not installed by default anymore, as it has been removed from Jessie, installing a non-free flash player is still an option. Please note that upgrading is special in this case.

To install the (non-free) Adobe Flash Player web browser plugin, install the flashplugin-nonfree Debian package from contrib. This requires contrib enabled in /etc/apt/sources.list. Use update-flashplugin-nonfree --status to check for a newer version and update-flashplugin-nonfree --install to install it.

The solution for Chromium is similar, it needs the package pepperflashplugin-nonfree (also from contrib) to be installed, which will install the (non-free) Adobe Flash Player web browser plugin. Use update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --status to check for a newer version and update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --install to install it.

Please note that the pepperflashplugin-nonfree package implements a more recent version of the Flash specification than does the flashplugin-nonfree, however.

Playing DVDs

libdvdcss is needed for playing most commercial DVDs. For legal reasons it's not included in Debian (Edu). If you are legally allowed to use it, you can use the packages from Add the multimedia repository (as described in the following section) and install the required libraries:

apt-get install libdvdcss2 w32codecs

Using the multimedia repository

To use do the following:

# install the debian-keyring securely:
apt-get install debian-keyring
# fetch the deb-multimedia key insecurely:
gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 07DC563D1F41B907
# check securely if the key is correct and add it to the keyring used by APT if it is:
gpg --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/debian-keyring.gpg --check-sigs 07DC563D1F41B907 && gpg --export 07DC563D1F41B907 | apt-key add -
# add repository to sources.list - please check the homepages for mirrors!
echo "deb jessie main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
# update the list of available packages:
apt-get update

Handwriting fonts

The package fonts-linex (which is installed by default) installs the font "Abecedario" which is a nice handwriting font for kids. The font has several forms to be used with kids: dotted, and with lines.