We are currently in the process of replacing our default desktop environment
Gnome 2.x (running Ubuntu 10.04) with XFCE 4.8.3 (running Ubuntu 12.04).
Unfortunately I could not find any detailed system adminstrators guide
What I've guessed so far, is that most of the configuration is done using xfconf.
Unfortunately this seems to use XML, but still plaintext atleast.
So, I just preconfigured a normal user account and tried to copy back the
changes from .config/xfce4/xfconf to /etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf (of course with
looking into the files and changing names and so on) .
This worked, lets say, to an extend of 40%..
After this, the panel seems to be configured for everybody, but the xfwm4
settings (disabling raise on click, enabling edge resistance and so on) are
Could you point me to some documentation how to preconfigure all items
of XFCE4 systemwide (using /etc and not touching users homedirs).
Thanks in advance.
PS: If you're interested in why we decided to switch our desktop:
The main reasons were interface stability and resource hunger.
With a userbase of several hundred people (everything in the range from newbee
to 1337h4x0r) we need to deliver a default desktop everybody understands,
without dogmatic design or the need for reading a bunch of papers explaining
why this feature has to be that way.
We did not want to expose our users to the experiments Gnome, Ubuntu or even
Microsoft are currently doing, but just deliver a traditonal, working, privacy aware
desktop enviroment, which still works without a facebook account or twittering
every mouse move.
Last edited by ioerror (2012-04-19 17:21:02)
Thanks for the quick reply, but what you mentioned didn't help either.
Finally I examined the situation using strace on xfconfd:
open("/etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfwm4.xml", O_RDONLY) = 8 open("/etc/xdg/xdg-xubuntu/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfwm4.xml", O_RDONLY) = 8 open("/home/ioerror/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfwm4.xml", O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
Second line is the problem: most settings got overridden here.
So, you can just file this issue into your user got confused by ubuntu folder.
Afterwards, of course everything is clear:
$ echo $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS /etc/xdg/xdg-xubuntu:/etc/xdg:/etc/xdg
But anyway, more documentation on configuration, especially system wide, would
surely always be appreciated.
Last but not least, thank you for Xfce at all! Keep up the good work!
Last edited by ioerror (2012-04-19 17:19:47)
Yeah I need to work on explaining things like this in the docs.xfce.org wiki, but where it the time...
That said, if you lock a channel, it shouldn't search for local versions of the settings, duno if you tried that? There is some info about that here: http://git.xfce.org/xfce/xfconf/tree/do … el-xml.txt
It basically boils down to this <channel name="xfwm4" unlocked="root">
I'm aware of the locking feature. In our case we don't need it, because it's
okay for users to change their settings, if they want to (therefor they have
their own accounts).
We just wanted to change distribution defaults to our standard configuration
and finally it just works. Yeah!
What documentation concerns: I know it's always a question of having time.
There is already a basic documentation for users. The sysadmin point of view
is just a bit unattended (But that's not only with Xfce ).
Last edited by ioerror (2012-04-19 17:50:47)
Some more questions that came up in my mind during this thread:
1. Since $prefix/share/xfwm4/defaults already exists, is it possible to feed other
xfconf channels with simple key=value style configs too?
It would be just easier to handle on the administration side (e.g. changing one
single entry, merging content from different sources, doing diffs on settings, the
format is more robust and so on).
If xfconf does not handle it natively, it's of course no big deal to convert from
key=value style files to XML (like Debian does with update-gconf-defaults e.g.).
2. What's the benifit of copying all settings to user's home directories after
The disadvantage I see at the moment is that you cannot change defaults
anymore, once a user already logged in. If only that would be stored which
have been changed, it would be possible to deliver a different default if necessary.
* Let's say in some rooms you have US keyboard and in others also greek layout
and now you want to add greek to the layout switcher for all users who did not
change the layout.
* In summer you realize your color theme is far from optimal (giving not enough
contrast on the cheap displays) and you decide better to use different hues for
everybody who did not change it themselves.
Just examples. Please do not treat them too concretely.
Last edited by ioerror (2012-04-20 17:18:12)