Saturday, January 14, 2012

Customizing Ubuntu 10.04 UNE - part 1

I've decided that I'm in a very .... odd position. There doesn't seem to be that much documentation on how to customize Ubuntu for mass-deployments as I'm doing. So I thought I'd take a bit of time to document some of the more funky bits that I've found.

So here goes - Setting GConf Defaults for Ubuntu Netbook Edition.

There's loads of information out there for doing things like making your default gnome session look and mostly behave like Ubuntu Netbook edition but nothing on how to change the defaults. Want users to use Chromium as their browser rather than Firefox?

Make a file in /usr/share/gconf/une/default called "21_une-gconf-extended" or something. It must start with a 2 digit number that's greater than 20 and end in an underscore (otherwise the defaults in 20_une-gconf-default take precedence).

In that file, type in your keys. For example, I wanted to change just about everything for the favourites tab. Let's face it, "Ubuntu Software Center" is probably better discovered rather than presented. The kids use gmail so evolution needs not be there etc.

So, for mine, I've put the following into that file:

/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/favorites_list [chromium-browser, yelp]
/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/chromium-browser/type application
/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/chromium-browser/desktop_file 
/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/yelp/type application
/apps/netbook-launcher/favorites/yelp/desktop_file yelp.desktop


Now.. The reason I'm bothering to document this? Because logging out and logging back in doesn't do any good (oh my!). Instead it gets really frustrating really quickly. I finally figured it out. There's a step needed to make it update an xml file which is where it REALLY reads this stuff from.


In a terminal, type in the following:


update-gconf-defaults --source --source /usr/share/gconf/une/default --destination /var/lib/gconf/une.default


There's a chance you might not see the changes. Personally I just logged off, logged in a terminal (Ctrl-F1) and removed my ~/.gconf directory. Log back in and hopefully, with a little luck, you'll see what you're expecting to see.

Oh, and if you want to be all draconian and not allow the user to customize the settings for themselves.... just change the word "default" to "mandatory" in all occurrences up there.

How's that for putting notes somewhere I'll always find 'em?...

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