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I have a need for an extremely locked down desktop environment that would have three profiles

  1. School - Can only run Libreoffice and Firefox. When I say ONLY I mean ONLY - can't change any setting at all, not even the desktop wallpaper. The ability to not even see settings would be ideal as well. This would be kind of like a kiosk profile where the desktop has shortcuts to run the two programs and that's it.

  2. Games - Similar to School profile in that no settings can be changed but I could somehow put apps on the desktop a needed (i.e. - Minecraft)

  3. Administrator/root - Can do anything, normal desktop experience

I looked around at kiosk desktop experiences but they seem to just limit a user to only one application, not the ability to switch between two or more. Additionally I looked at kids distro's but they are seemingly just a streamlined desktop experience (no menus - which I like), but you still have the ability to edit user settings and whatnot.

Is there even a distro like this or something that could be customized to do this without a ton of work? I know what I'm asking for is not normal

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    What you are looking for is not a distro, but a desktop environment. Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 16:47
  • Ok, updated the subject. Thank you! Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 18:19
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    Note: You can launch a different desktop environment based on who logs in. Therefore you can have 3 different ones. This will make it much easier. You will also have to configure the Display manager (login program), to restrict which environment each user can use. Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 18:28
  • Ok, that sounds do-able. Do you know what desktop environment would give me the desired outcome I mention above for #1 and #2? Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 18:30

1 Answer 1

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You can launch a different desktop environment based on who logs in. Therefore you can have 3 different ones. This will make it much easier. You will also have to configure the Display manager (login program), to restrict which environment each user can use.

  • For ③ I would use KDE plasma (as most powerful, for power user).
  • For ② I would use Gnome with a customised launcher (edited, to remove almost everything).
  • For ① I would probably write a selector in TCL, that just selects from the two choices. With just a window manager (most desktop environments (KDE, gnome, etc) come with a window manager). Or same as option ②, but more trimmed down.

To lock it down (if display manager can't do it): have all users use the same environment from the display manager point of view. Then have this program check the user-id, and launch the real environment.

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  • So this sounds like it will work good. Only problem I foresee is that typically the display manager lets you change the desktop environment. Do you know a way to lock the desktop environment to a user? Or at least a display manager that does not allow you to change the desktop environment? Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 20:39

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