Using the ThinLinc Desktop Customizer¶
Using the ThinLinc Desktop Customizer, the system administrator can decide what applications should be available in the menu and/or on the desktop for specific users or for users that are members of some Linux group. The ThinLinc Desktop Customizer is configured via a web interface, part of the ThinLinc Web Administration. Administration of ThinLinc using the Web Administration Interface describes the interface in general, this section will describe the Desktop Customizer part of it.
The main concept in the ThinLinc Desktop Customizer is the application group. The application group combines data about applications, a menu structure, Linux groups and users, and some other settings.
The applications referred to in the application groups are found by
scanning the space-separated list of directories defined in the Hiveconf
*.desktop. The files are read according to the
Freedesktop.org Desktop Menu Specification. The TLDC scans the
directories in the same way that KDE will do when building the menu.
Some applications are marked by the operating system to be shown only
for root, or in some cases only for specific desktop environments. On
SuSE, there is also a
X-SuSE-Unimportant parameter in some
*.desktop files, which will make the KDE packaged with SUSE hide
the application. TLDC handles this by adding a comment to the
application in the applications listing, and in the boxes used to select
applications when creating application groups.
In addition to the desktop files automatically found, it is also
possible to manually define applications. This is needed for example
when an application without a
*.desktop-file has been installed or
when an application has been installed in a non-standard location.
Linux groups and users¶
An application group is used by zero or more Linux groups and by zero or more specific users. An example would be an educational environment. Let’s say that all pupils attending the class “biology 4” are members of the Linux group “bio4”. By creating an application group named “Biology 4” with all applications that are specific to the biology class, and then adding the “bio4” Linux group as one of the groups that should be assigned the “Biology 4” Application Group, all students attending the class will automatically get the applications specific to the biology class in their menu. By adding the teacher of the class as a specific user, he/she as well will also get access to the applications.
Using the ThinLinc Desktop Customizer¶
The daily use of the TLDC consists of one or several of the following steps:
Create an application
Create a folder in the menu structure
Bind one or several applications to a folder in the menu structure, using an application group
In the following sections, we will more thoroughly describe the different actions that may be needed.
The handling of applications is normally the first step in using the TLDC. Click on the Applications (Manual) link in the TLDC, and you will enter a view where the applications you’ve defined manually are listed. Several example applications are included with ThinLinc at installation. By clicking on the text Applications defined by system, you can also see what applications are found automatically by scanning, as described in Applications.
If the application you want to add to a menu or to the desktop is not
found among Applications defined by system, you need to
define it manually. This is the case for applications installed without
.desktop file in the correct location.
Definining applications manually is done by clicking on the button Add new application (located at the top of the list of applications). This brings up a pop-up where you can define the following properties for the new application:
- Default application name
This is the name of the application. It’s the name that is written next to the icon (if any), in the menu, and under the icon if the application is to be added to the desktop.
The default application name is used if there is no name defined for the language in use when the application is shown, or if the language is English.
- Application name (<language-code>)
This is the name of the application in the language with the RFC 1766 language code <language-code>. This name is shown if the locale is set to that language when the menu or desktop is shown.
The languages that should be configurable are set by editing the space-separated list in the parameter
/utils/tl-desktop-customizer/desktop_languages. The default value of this parameter is
sv, which means that the TLDC will allow you to set the default name and the name in Swedish.
This specifies the command to run to start the application. Enter the path to the command followed by any arguments in the Command box. The input box follows bourne shell syntax rules.
"/usr/bin/my program" --fullscreen --title "My title"
- Path to icon file
The filename of the icon for the application. If the icon is available in one of the directories where your desktop environment looks for icons, just the filename without the extension can be given. Otherwise, the complete path must be specified.
- Enable startup feedback
Enable the switch to instruct the window manager to show a special icon while the command is starting. Note that not all applications support this functionality.
Press Save when done filling the fields. The application will now show up among the other manually defined applications.
Defining Application Groups¶
Enter the Applications Groups part of the Desktop Customizer. This will present you with a list of existing application groups and their settings.
An application group called Hidden is shipped with the default ThinLinc configuration. See Home Icon not working in KDE for an explanation of its functionality. Please don’t remove it if you are planning to use KDE.
Press the button Add new group (located at the top in the table of existing application groups) to create a new application group. This will open a rather large pop-up, where you can define the following properties:
- Name of the application group
This is the name of the application group. This is not displayed to the users, but only to the system administrator using the ThinLinc Desktop Customizer. Set to something that reflects the contents of the application group.
- Menu of application group
A dropdown box for the menu structure folder of the application group. Applications choosen in the boxes below will be added to the chosen menu folder.
- Applications added to menu
Add to the left box, labeled Selected, the applications that should appear in the menu folder selected above. This will only apply for users that are assigned this application group. The right box, labeled Available, lists applications, both manually defined and ones found installed on the system. If no applications are available, applications can be defined, as documented in Defining Application Groups.
- Applications added to desktop
Add to the left box, labeled Selected, the applications that should appear as icons on the desktop. This will only apply for users that are assigned this application group. Just as for applications added to the menu, only applications earlier defined, or automatically found, will show up as selectable, in the box labeled Available.
- Linux groups with this application group
This is where you map Linux groups to application groups. If for example a specific school should be assigned an application group, and all the pupils of that school are members of the Linux group “school-1”, using the right text box, add the Linux group “school-1” to the left box, labeled Selected. When logging in, the group memberships of each user is inspected to determine which application groups to assign to the user.
If the mapping between the numerical group id and the group name doesn’t work, the group is shown as
#<gid>. This might be because the group has been removed from the system, or because the operating system has problems in the connection to the directory service used.
- Specific users with this application group
This parameter allows you to decide if specific users should be assigned this application group as well, even if they are not a member of one of the groups that were added above. This way, for very specialized applications, no Linux group needs to be created. Another way of using this field would be that the teachers of a specific class could be added to the application group for that class, if the teachers are not part of the Linux group that is associated with the class.
If the mapping between the numerical user id and the user name doesn’t work, the user is shown as
#<uid>. This might be because the user has been removed from the system, or because the operating system has problems in the connection to the directory service used.
- ThinLinc profiles with this application group
This setting allows you to connect the application group to ThinLinc profiles as documented in Profiles and the standard xstartup.default file. This allows for different application groups to be selected based on user input after login.
- Shell command activating this application group
This setting allows you to activate application groups based on the return value of an arbitrary command. If the command returns 0 (which is the standard return code for success for shell commands), the application group will be activated.
This can be used for example to activate Application Groups based on group membership by using the tl-memberof-group command. It can also be used to activate an application group for all users by running /bin/true as activation command.
The command is run via the shell in the current user’s environment when running tl-desktop-activate.sh. The environment variable TLDCGROUP is set to the application group currently under consideration for activation.
Don’t forget to press the Save button, or none of the changes will be written to the database.
Distribute configuration to all agent hosts¶
After doing changes to the desktop configuration, the new configuration
must be copied to all VSM agent hosts. The files/directories to be
and all subdirectories of
Use the tl-rsync-all command as described in Commands on the ThinLinc Server to copy the files.