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How can I set up desktop defaults, much like most distributions do, for every new user? (ex. default wallpaper, apps, etc)

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When a new user and his home directory are created, the home directory is "inititalized" with the contents of /etc/skel.

So if you setup a desktop like you want it to be for new users and then copy the relevant config-files to /etc/skel, that's what the desktop will look like for new users.

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so, i'm guessing that most distributions would do this kind of thing? –  rxu Oct 22 '10 at 15:59
    
@rxu not really, this is usually left to the administrator to do. The distributions "hard-wire" their stuff (branding) into separate packages, that live in the same place as the actual programs (usually in /usr, particularly /usr/share as most of the stuff is just data). –  peterph Nov 17 '12 at 21:18

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