User Templates

AlexStreit: From the discussion that is below, it mostly distills down to there being a set of 'user templates'. When setting up users, a user template is chosen that initializes all the settings for that user. This should accomplish what we are trying to achieve. Feel free to add to the suggestions.

Template Name


Media Centre

Completely restricted user that auto-plays !CDs & !DVDs and has access to Rhythmbox. Has no write access to the filesystem (or quota restricted write?). Doesn't run gpanel. (maybe runs gdesklets instead?). includes a "login" button on the desktop. Other users can write to the folder for rhytmbox, so to add music to the library you log in first. Also, a power off button should be on the desktop

Web Access

Restricted user whose purpose is to browse the web like a kiosk. No write access to filesystem, except removable media and temporary storage. doesn't run gpanel, but runs a respawning firefox instead.

Ubuntu Junior

Large icons. Access to games like tuxracer and applications like tuxpaint.

Accessible Ubuntu


Ubuntu Game Station


Multimedia desktop

With only the basic applications most people want these days, one each of- photo app, multimedia app, office sutie, browser(with plugins), email, IM, 5 or less games, Audio and Data CD/DVD burning

Business desktop

similar to current default install, with emphasis on productivity tools and applets.

Business laptop

Business desktop with laptop related applets and tools.

Hacker desktop

pretty much like the current one?

Antique desktop

minimum memory / processor requirements?

Windows desktop

Gives access to programs that are available on a Windows (XP?) standard installaion including office apps.

Mac OS X desktop

Gives access to programs that are available on a Mac OS X standard installation with office apps.

A typical use for this would be, for example, automatically log in as a Media Centre user, have a game user for playing games (but you don't want to overwrite your work documents by a stray game) and a multimedia desktop for the semi-computer-literate flatmate and a business desktop for yourself.


The collective noun seems to be a Drift

AlexStreit: Heres an idea I thought of. Basically I have several people in the house who use the computer, including guests. What would be neat is if the system automatically booted into a user (like guest account) that has a super simple interface and allows us to browse the web, play music and DVDs and not much else. Imagine a set-top box style device. Then, if I want to do some work, I log in as me. Now if this were done nicely, it would be transparent and appear as if you have to log in to get gnome, otherwise you have the multi-media pc thing. This would also be very good for the PC out in the lounge room. Just a thought.

ScottJamesRemnant: you can do that today; set up a guest user account and arrange its session such that it has a full-screen web browser and g-v-m to play inserted audio cds and dvds. Set gdm to login as this user automatically (Computer -> System Configuration -> Login Screen Setup). Somewhere in this session make a way of getting at the "New Login" icon (Applications -> System Tools) -- you could put it on a auto-hide panel or a shortcut key or something. Click/run that, login as the non-guest user play and when you're done, log out. You'll be returned to the guest user.

AlexStreit: Thanks Scott. I've actually done something similar already, but was suggesting it as a possible default install option (hence suggested here).

SivanGreen : This sounds pretty neat. I tend to follow Alex's approach, why not make several scripts/ presets to accomplish that out of the box? That could very well make Ubuntu very attractive to Kiosk managers and as a public access point ready.

We could have Ubuntu automagically preset to:

  • Media center PC.
  • Web access point.
  • Ubuntu Junior - simple interface to accomodate children usage.
  • Accessibility Ubuntu - See AccessibilityTeam

  • Ubuntu Game Station
  • ......

BenjaminWilkinson: A choice of preconfigured sets of packages based on the specific uses people want. Different people want to do different things with their PC these days. This sort of thing sounds like a great feature to really set this distro apart from the crowd.

JonasPfenniger: Why not work for building a Componentized Linux ? This would make the distro much more flexible. Apparently Progeny is working for building a developer distro. Both are using debian as a base and working to make everything LSB compatible. If you combine we'll get the benefit of both no ?

I feel that the simplest solution is most elegant. Combined with improved hardware detection, selecting of these presets during install allows the user to custom trim their install, speeding install time and reducing system bloat. With a choice of thoughtful and minimal install options, Ubuntu would deliver the promise and satifaction of a system that is truly functional and configured to your taste- immediately after a quick install. A one size-fits-all approach can not deliver this and is too complicated to debug and support, however the ubuntu base system should be common throughout all of the application presets. The robust apt-get system allows easy modification for anything else the user wants later on, but the base install should be minimal and focused on helping the user get down to their unique business, it should not feel like WalMart where there is everything under the sun. I believe this corrolates well with the Ubuntu philosophy. If the user wants more than the default, that is a great opportunity for them to get acquainted with apt-get, something many new users dont understand immediately.

Other presets for things different walks of people want to do these days could include the above listed and:

  • Multimedia Laptop - power management, WiFi

  • Multimedia Home Desktop - with only the basic applications most people want these days, one each of- photo app, multimedia app, office sutie, browser(with plugins), email, IM, 5 or less games, Audio and Data CD/DVD burning.
  • Business Desktop - productivity tools and robust LAN support
  • Hacker Desktop - network and coding utilities
  • Antique Desktop - for high performance on old hardware, easy to use modem support

ChristofferOlsen: This is very interesting, I myself am working a lot with LTSP desktops. The opportunity to log in either as a locked down user (this would require some gconf magic as well, which would be a great addition to general scripting) or an administrator is very welcome. Thinking about schools - younger students want a different desktop than what older students need, and teachers need something else (think web site blocking, etc.). If there's any work in the infrastructure department for this, I'd be happy to help out.

AdamHooper: I think Epiphany would make a better browser for the "Web Access" profile than Firefox. Epiphany has lockdown options accessible through GConf, and it has a beautiful Fullscreen mode.

From MartinAlderson Sun Nov 21 00:59:10 +0000 2004 From: Martin Alderson Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2004 00:59:10 +0000 Subject: I think a much better approach is... Message-ID: <20041121005910+0000@>

Take the Windows XP desktop. It contains a web browser, media player, simple text editing tools, IM program. That should be the 'default'.

On top of this, I think we should add 'checkboxes' on the install to install 'groups' of packages. For example, a graphic editior set should add GIMP, whatever vector editing program and image compression tools (for instance). You could also tick office suite and it'd install OpenOffice.

I think there is going to be a lot of confusion for new users and we won't have the resources to fully test everything.

To basically sum up we need EVERYTHING like Wifi, power management, hardware detection, printing in the default desktop. We should then just add apps ontop. I also think that the default 'nothing ticked' should be more slim than Windows XP is. Why? Because a lot of people are going to want to use Ubuntu as a 'vertical' desktop, that is as little as possible to lock down and go wrong and just run one app (Firefox for instance) and then a web app inside it.

From PabloQuirós Thu Feb 10 16:19:04 +0000 2005 From: Pablo Quirós Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 16:19:04 +0000 Subject: Some ideas Message-ID: <>

I like the idea, but I'd have a bit different approach to it.

When creating an account, user might be asked for the main purpose of the account. Possible options, let's say... Entertainment, Bussiness, Education, Public PC, Children... depending on the option, desktop would be configured in a different way; an education desktop should have restrictions, maybe some 'guard dog' controlling the websites they visit, etc... and educational programs installed. A Public PC should have lots of limitations, maybe writing to disk not enabled at all, etc... a PC for children also with a 'guard dog', big icons, software for children... and Entertainment and Bussiness may have a normal desktop, maybe having a different visual style, and with different packages selected.

And then, the user is offered to add additional packages if not installed by default in the option he has chosen. He could be allowed to add developing tools, a text processor.... he could also be offered to add multimedia packages..... games.... I think you get the idea.

Basically, we configure the desktop and set some default packages depending on the main purpose. And then we offer the chance to complete the packages installed by default, depending on the extra-capacities that are needed.

-- Wouter: I would really like a 'Mum-desktop'. Most Mums only do Webbrowsing, Mail, Office (Word), maybe connect a camera, do Solitaire, maybe even Gaim or Skype, but that's it. I guess for most Mums, there is a son or a friend who does the computer-administration. They are constantly fighting spyware and virusses when using Windows. The Ubuntu-Mum-Desktop would solve their problems: install it once, and your admin-problems are over (most of them at least).

From KenMcLennan Mon Feb 21 10:18:06 +0000 2005 From: Ken McLennan Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2005 10:18:06 +0000 Subject: Sounds familiar... Message-ID: <20050221101806+0000@>

All the ideas mentioned here are valid and useful, but if memory serves me correctly, similar functionality is available via Fedora's (and others') Anaconda installer. Not to mention SUSE's Yast. What's been suggested here seems to me to be an expanded version of those concepts. Not that it's a bad thing. Yast and Anaconda seem to give pretty much an "All or Nothing" choice that could certainly use some development.

From AnthonyBatchelor Thu Mar 3 01:18:57 +0000 2005 From: Anthony Batchelor Date: Thu, 03 Mar 2005 01:18:57 +0000 Subject: What about Sabayon? Message-ID: <20050303011857+0000@>

Last week I heard about Sabayon. It's a tool to easily create and manage user profiles, and it createa a chagelog for you. It is about a month old, but mostly there...

And a little bit from the aformentioned URL "Humble Beginnings, What Sabayon Does Today

First and foremost, Sabayon provides a sane way to edit GConf defaults and GConf mandatory keys: the same way you edit your desktop. Sabayon launches profiles in an Xnest window. Any changes you make in the Xnest window are saved back to the profile file, which can then be applied to user's accounts. Want to add a new applet to the panel? Right click on the panel and add one just like you usually would. Of course, you're also free to use gconf-editor to change keys at a lower level, or download any GNOME setting tweaking program from the internet and use that. Sabayon also uses gamin to watch changes you make to the filesystem. So if you want to change the font for your users, you can drag a TTF to ~/.fonts, change it in "Font Preferences", and voila. When you're done making changes, you can save the profile. A change log will automatically be generated so an organization with a number of sysadmins can track down what changed when. Hopefully in the future we'll also have revision support for desktop profiles.

Right now Sabayon has support for tracking: GConf settings, panel applet addition/removal, general files and special Firefox profile support."

From MichalBendowski Tue Mar 29 22:36:46 +0100 2005 From: Michal Bendowski Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 22:36:46 +0100 Subject: Hacker Desktop Message-ID: <>

Hacker Desktop should be just an old school terminal Big Grin :) And I'm serious here...

From FabianZeindl Wed May 4 19:12:35 +0100 2005 From: Fabian Zeindl Date: Wed, 04 May 2005 19:12:35 +0100 Subject: Debian Derivates Message-ID: <>

Hi, I think this could be help for Debian/Ubuntu Derivates such as School-Distributions etc. as well...

LameBMX: Since regardless chances are the installer of the system will want a normal account to be able to maintain the system, my 2 cents goes to user profiles for when you add users. username - "Would you like to apply a profiles to this user?" - and have a listing of default profiles, and the checkbox's to adjust whats available to the specific user (maybe you want to give the multimedia user access to more multimedia based applications). A bonus with this way is that its only one extra yes to the person who is not going to use the templates, still has an account capable of system administration, and will allow the administrator more flexibility when setting up whats available to the user. Oh and I agree with the hacker-desktop just dropping to tty1.


UserTemplates (last edited 2008-08-06 16:31:31 by localhost)