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Kiosktool locks down KDE users' desktops

By Anže Vidmar on May 30, 2007 (8:00:00 AM)

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Recently I wrote about locking down the GNOME desktop environment with Pessulus. In this article, I'll show you how to do the same for KDE, using Kiosktool, a front end for changing the KDE configuration files in users' home folders and the /etc/kde* folders.

With Kiosktool, system administrators can create as many profiles as they like and assign them to different users or groups (see Figure 1). You can also configure Kiosktool to automatically upload newly created profiles to a remote server on exit, making machine cloning easy. You can use this feature, for example, to set up several kiosk machines with the same KDE user profiles, as long as you have access to the root account on each machine.

By default, none of the functions Kiosktool can modify are disabled. To disable any function, check a box in front of the function name. When you highlight a function in the list, Kiosktools displays its description at the bottom of the Kiosktool window (see Figure 2).

Figure 1
Figure 1 - click to enlarge
Kiosktool lets you lock down components in a dozen categories: General, Desktop Icons, Desktop Background, Screen Saver, KDE Menu, Theming, Panel, Network Proxy, Konqueror, Menu Actions, Desktop Sharing, and File Associations.

The General component provides useful options like disabling all tasks and applications that require root access, as well as access to the command shell, run command, bookmarks, and logout option, and disabling starting a second X session.

Desktop Icons lets you lock down the whole desktop for the user, including context menus and icons. Desktop Background locks the desktop background settings. With Screen Saver, sysadmins can lock down screensaver settings and screensavers that uses OpenGL, and also allow only screensavers that hide the whole screen content.

In the KDE Menu component you can disable all tasks and applications that require root access from the KDE menu, and disable editing the KDE menu. The Theming component forces users to stick with the desktop theme you provide; you can lock down options like font, color, style, and windows decoration.

Figure 2
Figure 2 - click to enlarge
In the Panel settings you can lock prevent users from modifying the panel in any way (adding or removing applets or buttons or changing the panel settings). With Network Proxy you can set the proxy settings globally, so users are forced to use the global proxy settings for all connections.

In the Konqueror component you can disable file browsing outside the home directory, jailing the users in their home folder and preventing them from browsing anything below that. You can disable the "Open With" action, "Open in new tab" action, and disable properties in the context menu.

In the Menu Actions component you can disable several categories of actions from the menus in all KDE applications. The actions are: File, Edit, View, Go, Bookmarks, Tools, Settings, and Help. You can also prevent users from saving any changes made to KDE application menus.

Finally, you can disable Desktop Sharing, and lock down File Associations so that users cannot change the default application associations.

Kiosktool provides better control over KDE settings than Pessulus does over GNOME. I especially like its ability to assign different profiles to different set of users or groups. Thanks to the range of features it controls, Kiosktool is a good tool for not only setting up kiosk machines, but also setting user profiles on multiuser machines easily.

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on Kiosktool locks down KDE users' desktops

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[kx]ubuntu + kiosktool + flying panels of death

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 30, 2007 08:44 PM
if you run kiosktool in kubuntu feisty fawn (yes, even 7.04!) and click on the panel configuration icon, the kde taskbar begins to float up into oblivion.

i've replicated the problem multiple times. i don't like GNOME a whole lot, but sabayon is vastly superior to anything KDE has yet to offer.

i really hope that changes with KDE 4<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

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Re:[kx]ubuntu + kiosktool + flying panels of death

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 31, 2007 02:29 PM
If you like KDE, don't use Kubuntu. It's a bug in itself and Canonical could not care less about it.

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Re:[kx]ubuntu + kiosktool + flying panels of death

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 31, 2007 09:17 PM
get the sources and compile it to solve this issue
(i use Fedora 6, with an updated version that solved this issue<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

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Re:[kx]ubuntu + kiosktool + flying panels of death

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 04, 2007 02:45 PM
Ah brilliant idea. I don't have that kind of time.
I'd prefer software developers rather not volunteer their time at all than spend it writing shitty code.

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Re(1):[kx]ubuntu + kiosktool + flying panels of death

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.79.88.231] on September 14, 2007 05:59 PM
but you do have plenty of time to post nagging comments. interesting....

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Re:[kx]ubuntu + kiosktool + flying panels of death

Posted by: Administrator on May 30, 2007 09:29 PM
the kiosktool is a very powerful policy editor. But it hasn't been maintained in quite a while. So its buggy. Its to bad, kde has an excelent policy framework.

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kiosktool provides a subset of features

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 31, 2007 05:48 PM
kiosktool, as nice as it is, provides access only to a subset of all the lockdown features in kde. it does provide access via a GUI to the most important and commonly use settings and makes it easy to get up and running, but there are a lot more features floating around under the hood.

you can lock down individual settings in any kde app using [$i] appropriately in config files, for instance, and most kde apps reflect these lock down settings in the configuration dialogs even. =)

more information here:

<a href="http://techbase.kde.org/SysAdmin#User_.26_Group_Profiles" title="kde.org">http://techbase.kde.org/SysAdmin#User_.26_Group_P<nobr>r<wbr></nobr> ofiles</a kde.org>

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Kiosktool locks down KDE users' desktops

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 192.168.0.222] on January 07, 2008 12:10 PM
this is very good

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