What is best practice for creating mandatory or default gconf-profiles using the users environment variables. That would make it easy to maintain system-wide profiles and distribute profiles in a corporate network.

For an example, I want to use a Gconf key where some information is defined by environment variables, the key /apps/evolution/mail/accounts and $USER/$USERNAME:

[<?xml version="1.0"?>
<account name="$(USER)@example.com">
[email protected]/;;use_ssl=when-possible
<transport save-passwd="true">


I believe that I need a subsystem that processes template profiles into something gconfd can use. I have tried desktop-profiles and sabayon without any luck. Evoldap-backend works only for evolution and feels a little overkill even if I end up with LDAP / Gosa or LDAP / phamm for authentication. Mail, IM and VoIP / Telepathy uses only information that is easy reachable from GECOS (/etc/passwd) and standard login environment. It feels more robust to administer one system-wide template than a profile per user.

1 Answer 1


This should be solvable with a simple bash script using standard Linux tools:

  1. Check if the folder /home/"$USER"/.gconf/apps/evolution exists.
  2. If it doesn't exist, copy a template directory over.
  3. Replace the placeholders with sed.

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