HowTos for the desktop

KDE Kiosk mode

Two default profiles are included:

debian_edu_pupils (enabled for members of the students file group)

debian_edu_root (enabled for the root user and members of the admins file group)

Note:: modifications to the profiles can be done using kiosktool. However, unless you follow the step below, your changes will be overwritten by upgrades. FIXME: this is broken and a bug should be filed: kiosktool upgrades restore default desktop icons

If you want to modify the kiosk profiles, you can either copy the existing ones and modify them, or create new kiosk profiles in (for example) /etc/kde3/kioskprofiles/ and enable them in /etc/kde-user-profile. The kiosk tool will do this for you if you click "profile properties" and browse to a new folder.

Changing kioskmode on diskless workstations

After you have made changes to the kioskmode settings with kiosktool like described above, you will have to copy some files inside the chroot used by the diskless workstation.

Assuming the diskless workstations are running i386, the following commands must be executed on the workstation server(s):

export LTSPCHROOT=/opt/ltsp/i386/
cp -rv /etc/kde-profile/ $LTSPCHROOT/etc/
cp -v /etc/kderc $LTSPCHROOT/etc/
cp -v /etc/kde-user-profile $LTSPCHROOT/etc/

Else replace i386 with amd64 or powerpc as applicable.

Disabling kioskmode

If you don't want to use kioskmode, either just remove the file /etc/kderc. Or, if you just want to temporarily disable kioskmode, comment out all entries in there.

Modifying the kdm login screen

In Debian/Etch, the way to customize the kdm login screen was changed. Now, it is done 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.


The free software flash-player gnash is installed by default, but switching to Adobe Flash is an option. To install the (non-free) Adobe Flash Player web browser plugin, install the flashplugin-nonfree debian package from

There are three requirements to do so:

Package: flashplugin-nonfree
Pin: release a=lenny-backports
Pin-priority: 999

Sound with Flash on thin clients

Additionally to the flashplugin-nonfree package (see above) you just need to install the flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound package.

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 just below this paragraph) and install multimedia and dvd libraries:

apt-get install libdvdcss2 w32codecs

Using the multimedia repository

To use do the following:

# install the debian-keyring securily:
apt-get install debian-keyring
# fetch the deb-multimedia key insecurily:
gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 1F41B907
# check securily 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 1F41B907 && gpg --export 1F41B907 | apt-key add -
# add repository to sources.list - please check the homepages for mirrors!
echo "deb lenny main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
# update the list of available packages:
apt-get update

Handwriting fonts

The package ttf-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.