I'd like to lock my Debian10/KDE system to one program and prevent any interaction of a user with anything beyond the always-on-top fullscreen program, making it impossible to shut down, to minimize, to open the process manager and to show the tray bar by pressing the Windows key.

In particular I'd like to lock it to the media center Kodi in a way that closing/minimizing it or opening other software requires the root password. (This would also require the root-password for the shutdown button within Kodi or at least e.g. a custom key-combination).

Is this possible with some software or CLI commands / parameters within the current session (maybe using KDE Plasma Activities)? And if not how could this get implemented technically?

  • Do you absolutely need to run it on top of KDE?
    – Panos
    Jul 8, 2021 at 22:23
  • 1
    Seems to me that running your app with simply a Window Manager such as twm rather then a Desktop Manager such as KDE would neatly solve most of the issues
    – roaima
    Jul 9, 2021 at 6:29
  • Panos Yes. @roaima How? Could one start only Kodi this way?
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jul 24, 2021 at 20:36

3 Answers 3


xtrlock maybe of interest to you. It's transparent / non-obscuring.

Although, it doesn't achieve exactly what you are trying to.



What I did was to configure the .xsession to launch the application and either configure the window manager not not allow other applications to be launched or not install a window manager.

For the display manager I used nodm

I didn't worry about the user quitting because nodm will restart the session if the user quits.

  • Is this possible within the currently running session? And especially if so could you elaborate on how to implement this?
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jul 9, 2021 at 9:13
  • is what possible? what currently running session? for details install nodm read the manual, read the manual page for xsession,
    – Jasen
    Jul 9, 2021 at 9:18
  • Your solution. The X session; logging out and starting a new session closes all open windows for example which is something I'd like to avoid. Sure, I could read those manuals but if you already implemented this solution it would make it far easier for others to implement if you share some basic example code.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jul 9, 2021 at 9:23
  • no, it doesn't. not unless you can exit the only application running "kodi" without closing all the windows,
    – Jasen
    Jul 9, 2021 at 21:43

The solution is to use cage.

It's not yet available in Debian 11 and also can't be built on it.

However, it's already in "Debian 12 testing".

I will update this once it's in Debian 11 stable or backports...or once Debian 12 has been released.
Please comment below if you know if/when it'll be available. If dependency libwlroots10 was available in Debian11/backports, it could get installed from the Debian repositories if it was added (but the dependency is only available in Debian 12 bookworm).

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