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 and LXDE together

If you want to use GNOME or LXDE instead of KDE "Plasma", follow the installation instructions.

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

 apt-get install gnome lxde

Users will then be able to choose the desktop environment via the login manager before logging in. The usage of LXDE as default on thin clients can be forced; see networked clients for details.


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 contrib. This requires contrib enabled in /etc/apt/sources.list.

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 wheezy 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.