A suggested guide to setting up Ubuntu for use in a corporate environment

Note: This article requires significant editing and re-working. Please contribute.

Foreword

Ubuntu can be used in the business Linux desktop market in addition to the general desktop market (see ZDNet UK - Desktop Linux for small business). An example is combining Ubuntu with a low-cost thin-client architecture such as SunRay (see UbuntuOnSunRay).

Many of the examples below were learned while migrating from a Sun Solaris 8 CDE user environment to Ubuntu in a multi-user environment but are applicable in many corporate environments.

Introduction

The setup of the CorporateUbuntu environment is broken up into the following:

  • Authentication
  • Home Directories
  • Remote Mounts
  • Printing
  • Locale
  • Keyboard
  • User Login Script
  • Locking Down GNOME
  • Email
  • Word Processing Suite
  • Terminals
  • Multimedia
  • GNOME Menu
  • Time/Date
  • Remote Desktop

Authentication

Prior to the migration to Ubuntu, NIS was used for authentication. Authentication was migrated over to an LDAP-based system using a Sun Java Enterprise System Directory Server.

Home Directories

The users home directories reside on a Solaris server and are shared out via NFS. The home directories, are therefore, automounted upon logging into the Ubuntu machine.

  • instructions for automounting home directories are contained in the Setting Up NFS page

Remote Mounts

Similar to the home directories, the Solaris server contains multiple shares available over NFS.

  • instructions for statically mounting shares at boot are contained in the Setting Up NFS page

Printing

The Ubuntu printing setup has disabled the use of CUPS for administration of printers due to security reasons. A current oversight made by the developers involved in the Ubuntu printing interface is the lack of the ability to name/rename printers. The printers are named after the printer model name and it is not scalable in a large environment where several printers of the same model may exist.

A workaround is to rename the entry made in /etc/cups/printers.conf and create a symbolic link to the printer model PPD file in the /etc/cups/ppd directory. Below is a script that can be installed into /usr/bin and run immediately after setting up a printer:

  #!/bin/bash
  #
  ############################################
  #
  # changeprintername - changes the name of a
  #                     printer that was
  #                     created using Ubuntu
  #                     Printing GUI
  #
  # Usage: changeprintername old_name new_name
  #
  # Written: Naaman Campbell
  #          22 November 2005
  #
  ############################################

  CUPS_DIR=/etc/cups
  CONF=$CUPS_DIR/printers.conf
  PPD_DIR=$CUPS_DIR/ppd

  # Usage Check
  if [ $# -ne 2 ]; then
    echo "Usage: $0 old_name new_name"
    exit
  fi

  ##################################
  # DISPLAY CONFIG AND PROMPT USER #
  ##################################

  # find line number of first instance of old printer name
  LINE=`grep -m 1 -n $1 $CONF | sed -e 's/^\(.*\)\:.*/\1/'`

  # obtain a magic number for 'tail'
  LINECOUNT=`cat $CONF | wc -l`
  TAILNUM=`expr $LINECOUNT - $LINE`

  # find number of lines between start and end of
  # config section for printer
  PATTERN="</Printer>"
  NUMOFLINES=`tail -$TAILNUM $CONF | grep -m 1 -n $PATTERN | sed -e 's/^\(.*\)\:.*/\1/'`
  ENDLINE=`expr $LINE + $NUMOFLINES`

  # display current config to user
  echo
  echo "Confirm changing the current printer $1 to $2"
  echo "with the following configuration.."
  echo
  sed -n ''$LINE','$ENDLINE' p' $CONF
  echo
  echo "Proceed with printer name change? (y or n)"
  read answer

  case $answer in
        y)      echo "Changing $1 to $2"
                ;;
        n)      echo "Exiting.."
                exit
                ;;
        *)      echo "Invalid selection, now exiting.."
                exit
                ;;
  esac

  ###################
  # PERFORM CHANGES #
  ###################

  # create symlink
  echo
  echo "Creating symlink.."
  ln -s $PPD_DIR/$1.ppd $PPD_DIR/$2.ppd

  # update config file
  echo "Updating configuration file.."
  sed -i -e ''$LINE','$LINE' s/'$1'/'$2'/' $CONF

  # restart cups
  echo "Restarting CUPS.."
  /etc/init.d/cupsys restart

  echo "Script completed operations.."

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo chmod u+x /usr/bin/changeprintername

The changeprintername script is also available as an attachment - changeprintername

After a new printer is added to the system, the script can be run as follows:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo changeprintername old_name new_name

It is possible to subvert the measures setup by the Ubuntu printing team to enable access into the Cups administration web pages. By adding the cupsys user into the shadow group, the cupsys user is able to edit the necessary printing system files. Change the shadow group line in /etc/group to include the cupsys user:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo vi /etc/group

  shadow:x:42:cupsys

Locale

During initial testing, it appeared that the locale was not being set correctly after logging into GNOME. The locale issue appears to be a user-specific problem from when users used to log on to a Java Desktop System (JDS) - Solaris 10 machine. Ubuntu provides adequate language configuration during the installation process. If additional languagues need to be added or the default GNOME language needs to be changed, use the Language Selector program:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo /usr/bin/gnome-language-selector

Keyboard

Part of configuring Ubuntu for corporate use is locking down the desktop. Limiting the number of keyboard shortcuts, and limiting configuration of shortcuts, is part of restricting access to sections of GNOME.

Adapted from the UbuntuOnSunRay wiki, listed below are a set of suggested shortcuts to be made available to users:

  • Launch help browser - Help*
  • Lock screen - "Moon"*
  • Home folder - Open*
  • Search - Find*
  • Take a screenshot - Print
  • Take a screenshot of a window - <Alt>Print

  • Close window - <Alt>F4

  • Move between windows with popup - <Alt>Tab

  • Switch to workspace on the left - <Control><Alt>Left

  • Switch to workspace on the right - <Control><Alt>Right

(* denotes Sun Keyboard specific keys - could be mapped to other keys on other keyboards)

To forcibly set the shortcuts, the use of the gconftool-2 command needs to be used. Follow the procedures listed on the UbuntuOnSunRay wiki - Keyboard Shortcuts - as a guide on how to lockdown keyboard shortcuts.

User Login Script

In some sections below, a need arises for a login script to ensure uniform configuration of user profiles logging into the customized system. The steps below outline how to setup a wrapper script for /usr/bin/gnome-session, which is executed on login, and a complete example gnome-session-wrapper script is attached - gnome-session-wrapper:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo cp gnome-session-wrapper /usr/bin/.
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo chmod 755 /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo rm /etc/alternatives/x-session-manager
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo ln -s /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper /etc/alternatives/x-session-manager

The wrapper script may contain unwanted components, such as the Mozilla -> Evolution migration section, which should be removed from the script if it is not needed.

Locking Down GNOME

It appears that the GNOME team has withdrawn the setup of the lockdown configuration that was present in GNOME 2.6. The lockdown setup was also undesirable as it did not allow users to drag and drop shortcuts from the GNOME menu onto the desktop or menu bar.

The current concerns of the lockdown procedures are ensuring a consistent look-and-feel across all desktops and setting minor options for users. The look-and-feel is controlled by the three areas: theme, background and screensaver.

Look and Feel

Theme and background are controlled by the gconf database and can be enforced system-wide. The Clearlooks theme was selected to replace the somewhat initially unfavorable brown Human theme. Clearlooks coupled with a background consisting of a 150x150 company logo on a dark-to-light grey vertical gradient, makes for a clean looking desktop. Prior to performing the gconftool-2 commands below, ensure all users are logged out of GNOME (perform commands from text console or a remotely logged-in session):

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /desktop/gnome/background/color_shading_type "vertical-gradient"
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type bool --set /desktop/gnome/background/draw_background true
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_filename "/usr/share/backgrounds/company_logo.png"
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type int --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_opacity 100
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /desktop/gnome/background/picture_options "centered"
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /desktop/gnome/background/primary_color "#3E3A36"
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /desktop/gnome/background/secondary_color "#DFDFDF"
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /desktop/gnome/interface/gtk_theme "Clearlooks"

Screensaver

Screensaver configuration is separate to the gconf system and is configured system-wide via /etc/X11/app-defaults/XScreenSaver. Although a system-wide file exists, users are still able to change the settings by setting up a .xscreensaver file within their home directories. A suggested method of locking down the screensavers is to "mv" the screensaver files from /usr/lib/xscreensaver to another directory and to create a symbolic link to /etc/X11/app-defaults/XScreenSaver named .xscreensaver under the user's home directory upon logging in to GNOME.

The means for creating the .xscreensaver for the user can be performed inside the gnome-session-wrapper script:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ less /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper

  #########################################
  # XSCREENSAVER
  # - ensure users cannot alter
  #   xscreensaver settings
  #########################################

  GLOBALXSS=/etc/X11/app-defaults/XScreenSaver
  USERXSS=~/.xscreensaver

  # check if file exists
  if [ -e $USERXSS ]; then
    # check if file is a symlink
    if [ -h $USERXSS ]; then
      CONF=`ls -l $USERXSS | sed -e "s/.*\.xscreensaver -> //g"`
      # check if symlink points to correct location
      if [ $GLOBALXSS != $CONF ]; then
        rm $USERXSS
      fi
    else
      # file is not a symlink
      rm $USERXSS
    fi
  fi  

  # check if symlink exists
  if [ ! -h $USERXSS ]; then
    ln -s $GLOBALXSS $USERXSS
  fi

  #########################################
  # END XSCREENSAVER
  #########################################

In a thin-client environment, it is recommended that a blank screensaver is used due to the amount of load needed to serve the video. The following /etc/X11/app-defaults/XScreenSaver-gl contains configuration suitable for a thin-client environment - XScreenSaver-gl.

Suggested xscreensaver settings in a "fat-client" environment include:

  • Only One Screen Saver
  • Blank after 10 minutes
  • Lock screen upon blanking
  • The GLText (clock) screensaver - with all effects turned off
    • Company Name
      • Monday
      28 Nov 2005 11:39:07 AM

A sample /etc/X11/app-defaults/XScreenSaver containing the above suggested settings is attached - XScreenSaver.

Default Settings

The minor settings that can form part of locking down the environment include changing the default archive extension to .zip and the configuration of sound settings within GNOME to turn on sound and turn off sound events. Once again, prior to performing these gconftool-2 commands, ensure all users are logged out of GNOME:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /apps/file-roller/dialogs/batch-add/default_extension ".zip"
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type bool --set /desktop/gnome/sound/event_sounds false
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type bool --set /desktop/gnome/sound/enable_esd true

Email

The current email client used on the Solaris desktops is Mozilla Mail 1.4. Email is currently using POP to transfer emails and will continue to use POP from within Evolution. POP-to-IMAP changeover will occur at a later date.

When users log in to GNOME, an addition to the gnome-session-wrapper script can check if the user has an existing evolution profile and migrate the user's Mozilla mail into Evolution. The additional section of gnome-session-wrapper performs the following:

  • creates and initializes a minimal evolution profile
  • moves the email into the correct sections of the new profile
  • prepares the moved files for first usage
  • Note: this method can result in a very long delay when the user first logs in if the user has a large email directory.

The script requires installing and configuring ssmtp & mailx to email the system administrator errors that may arise in the migration process. To install ssmtp and mailx you need to install the ssmtp package from the Universe Repository and the mailx package. Then you need to edit the /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf file to your specifications.

  mailhub=mail.company.com.au

  hostname=naaman.company.com.au

ncampbell@naaman:~$ less /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper

  #########################################
  # EVOLUTION
  # - migrate users from mozilla mail to
  #   evolution
  #########################################

  ERRORMSG=~/moztoevoerr.`date +%F`
  ERRORRECIPIENT=sysadmin@company.com.au
  ERRORSUBJECT="Non-standard Mozilla profile"
  EVODIR=~/.evolution/mail/local
  SKIPEVO=0

  # evolution mail directory exists
  if [ -d $EVODIR ]; then
    # further processing is not necessary
    SKIPEVO=1
  fi

  function emailerrors {

    # error message file contains data
    if [ -s $ERRORMSG ]; then
      mailx -s "$ERRORSUBJECT" $ERRORRECIPIENT < $ERRORMSG
      rm $ERRORMSG
      SKIPEVO=1
    fi

  }

  # check if more than one profile exists
  PROFILE_COUNT=`find ~/.mozilla/* -type d | grep slt | cut -f5 -d "/" | uniq | wc -l`

  if [ $PROFILE_COUNT -gt 1 ]; then
    echo "$USER has too many profiles - manual migration needed" >> $ERRORMSG
    emailerrors
  fi

  # obtain mozilla directory path
  PROFILEDIR=`find ~/.mozilla/* -type d | grep slt | cut -f5 -d "/" | uniq`
  SLTDIR=`find ~/.mozilla/* -type d | grep slt | cut -f6 -d "/" | uniq`

  # check for email directory
  EMAILDIR=~/.mozilla/$PROFILEDIR/$SLTDIR/Mail

  if [ ! -d $EMAILDIR ]; then
    # no email directory, so skipping
    SKIPEVO=1
  fi

  if [ $SKIPEVO -eq 0 ]; then

  # initialise evolution profile settings

  ACCNAME="$USERNAME on mail"
  DOMAIN=company.com.au
  EMAIL="$USERNAME@$DOMAIN"
  MAILSERVER=mail.$DOMAIN
  OUTGOINGMAIL=mailout.$DOMAIN
  PREFS=~/.mozilla/$PROFILEDIR/$SLTDIR/prefs.js

  # obtain Mozilla prefs ID number
  MOZID=`grep -e "identity\.id.*\.useremail\"\,\ \"$USERNAME\@$DOMAIN\"" $PREFS | sed -e 's/.*\.\(id.\)\..*/\1/g'`

  # obtain user Full Name
  NAME=`grep -e "identity\.$MOZID\.fullName" $PREFS | sed -e 's/.*fullName\"\,\ \"\(.*\)\".*/\1/g'`
  if [ -z $NAME ]; then
    # fullName field is empty
    # obtain from GECOS field in passwd database
    NAME=`getent passwd | grep $USERNAME | cut -d: -f5`
  fi

  # create evolution profile
  mkdir -p $EVODIR

  # copy emails - maintaining folder structure
  cp -pr $EMAILDIR/$MAILSERVER/* $EVODIR/.

  # remove unnecessary files
  find $EVODIR -name "*.msf" -exec rm {} \;
  find $EVODIR -name "*.dat" -exec rm {} \;
  find $EVODIR -name "*.html" -exec rm {} \;

  # generate random numbers for evolution profile
  UIDPT1=`echo $RANDOM$RANDOM$RANDOM | sed -e 's/^\(..........\).*/\1/g'`
  UIDPT2=`echo $RANDOM$RANDOM$RANDOM | sed -e 's/^\(.....\).*/\1/g'`
  PROFILEUID=$UIDPT1.$UIDPT2.1

  ABOOKUIDPT1=`echo $RANDOM$RANDOM$RANDOM | sed -e 's/^\(..........\).*/\1/g'`
  ABOOKUIDPT2=`echo $RANDOM$RANDOM$RANDOM | sed -e 's/^\(.....\).*/\1/g'`
  ABOOKUID=$ABOOKUIDPT1.$ABOOKUIDPT2

  # clear previous configuration
  gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/evolution

  # setup mail account
  gconftool-2 --type list --set /apps/evolution/mail/accounts --list-type string "[<?xml version=\"1.0\"?>\
  <account name=\"$ACCNAME\" uid=\"$PROFILEUID@$HOSTNAME\" enabled=\"true\"><identity><name>$NAME</name><addr-spec>$EMAIL</addr-spec><signature uid=\"\"/></identity><source save-passwd=\"true\" keep-on-server=\"false\" auto-check=\"true\" auto-check-timeout=\"5\"><url>pop://$USERNAME@$MAILSERVER/;use_ssl=never</url></source><transport save-passwd=\"false\"><url>smtp://$USERNAME@$OUTGOINGMAIL/;use_ssl=never</url></transport><drafts-folder>mbox:$HOME/.evolution/mail/local#Drafts</drafts-folder><sent-folder>mbox:$HOME/.evolution/mail/local#Sent</sent-folder><auto-cc always=\"false\"><recipients></recipients></auto-cc><auto-bcc always=\"false\"><recipients></recipients></auto-bcc><receipt-policy policy=\"never\"/><pgp encrypt-to-self=\"false\" always-trust=\"false\" always-sign=\"false\" no-imip-sign=\"false\"/><smime sign-default=\"false\" encrypt-default=\"false\" encrypt-to-self=\"false\"/></account>]"

  gconftool-2 --set /apps/evolution/mail/default_account --type string "$PROFILEUID@$HOSTNAME"

  # setup address books
  gconftool-2 --type list --set /apps/evolution/addressbook/sources --list-type
string "[<?xml version="1.0"?>\
  <group uid=\"$ABOOKUID.0@$HOSTNAME\" name=\"On This Computer\" base_uri=\"file://$HOME/.evolution/addressbook/local\" readonly=\"no\"><source uid=\"$ABOOKUID.1@$HOSTNAME\" name=\"Personal\" relative_uri=\"system\"><properties><property name=\"completion\" value=\"true\"/></properties></source></group>\
  ,<?xml version=\"1.0\"?>\
  <group uid=\"$ABOOKUID.2@$HOSTNAME\" name=\"On LDAP Servers\" base_uri=\"ldap://\" readonly=\"no\"><source uid=\"$ABOOKUID.3@$HOSTNAME\" name=\"Company Name Address Book\" relative_uri=\"dir.$DOMAIN:389/o=People??one\"><properties><property name=\"timeout\" value=\"3\"/><property name=\"limit\" value=\"100\"/><property name=\"completion\" value=\"true\"/></properties></source></group>]"

  gconftool-2 --set /apps/evolution/addressbook/display/primary_addressbook --type string "$ABOOKUID.1"

  # end evolution if statement
  fi

  #########################################
  # END EVOLUTION
  #########################################

At present, address books cannot be migrated on the command line and are going to be done manually. A solution does exist as documented here - Web-based mab2ldif conversion tool. The authors have been contacted to obtain the source.

Word Processing Suite

The OpenOffice2 suite of applications offers vast improvements over the currently used StarOffice7. OpenOffice2 provides a method for using the GTK file chooser dialogs and, although it does not have the language support of StarOffice7, methods are available for setting up language tools to suit different regions.

The following instructions are useful in environments that don't require the EN-US locale.

Obtain the dictionary, hyphenation dictionary and the thesaurus for the desired language from the OpenOffice Writing Aids site. Save the files into a new folder named langtools, extract the archives and move the files into the /usr/lib/openoffice2/share/dict/ooo directory:

  • Instructions below are for Australian English
    • British English is the closest English offering a hyphenation dictionary
    • Only an American English thesaurus is available

ncampbell@naaman:~$ mkdir langtools
ncampbell@naaman:~$ cd langtools
# save files into directory prior to continuing
ncampbell@naaman:~/langtools$ unzip *.zip
ncampbell@naaman:~/langtools$ sudo mv en_AU.aff en_AU.dic hyph_en_GB.dic th_en_US_v2.dat th_en_US_v2.idx /usr/lib/openoffice2/share/dict/ooo/.
ncampbell@naaman:~/langtools$ cd ..

To complete the configuration, the following was appended to the end of the Dictionary list file:

  DICT en AU en_AU
  HYPH en AU hyph_en_GB
  HYPH en GB hyph_en_GB
  THES en AU th_en_US_v2
  THES en GB th_en_US_v2
  THES en US th_en_US_v2

To set the correct locale & dictionaries along with changing to use the GTK file chooser dialogs, user configuration needs to be changed. A suggested way of setting up user configuration for OpenOffice2 is to store base configuration files in a common location and copy the files into the user directory upon login.

The attached files: Common.xcu, Linguistic.xcu and Setup.xcu are to be saved to the common location and the following amendment to the /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper script needs to be made:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/company/ooo2/Office
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo mv Common.xcu Linguistic.xcu /usr/share/company/ooo2/Office/.
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo mv Setup.xcu /usr/share/company/ooo2/.
ncampbell@naaman:~$ less /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper

  #########################################
  # OPENOFFICE
  # - setup users openoffice.org2
  #   environment
  #########################################

  OOODIR=$HOME/.openoffice.org2/user/registry/data/org/openoffice
  CONFDIR=/usr/share/company/ooo2

  # openoffice.org2 directory does not exist
  if [ ! -d $OOODIR ]; then
    mkdir -p $OOODIR
    cp -r $CONFDIR/* $OOODIR/.
  fi

  #########################################
  # END OPENOFFICE
  #########################################

Terminals

A requirement of the migration was to provide access to multiple terminal-based systems via gnome-terminal. A scalable method of managing different terminals for different systems was to create the gnome-terminal profiles globally (within gconf) and provide launchers in a custom Applications menu to allow users to drag-and-drop desired launchers to their desktops/panels.

The gnome-terminal profiles were built by changing the settings using Edit -> Profiles. Settings changed included colours and the disabling of the F1 key to allow F1 to be used within certain applications. Once the settings has been configured for the current user, the configuration was exported to XML then applied globally using gconftool-2. Ensure all users are logged out prior to performing the following:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ gconftool-2 --dump /apps/gnome-terminal > /tmp/terminal.xml
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults --load /tmp/terminal.xml

Creating a new menu globally in Gnome 2.12 involves a number of steps. The first part is creating the Directory entry in /usr/share/desktop-directories and saving it as CompanyName.directory

  Name=Company Name
  Comment=Company Name applications
  Icon=company-name
  Type=Directory
  Encoding=UTF-8

To display .desktop entries in the Applications menu, it must belong to a legitimate Category relating to the Directory entry. An entry needs to made into /etc/xdg/menus/applications.menu to assign a category to the CompanyName directory entry:

    <!-- CompanyName -->
    <Menu>
      <Name>CompanyName</Name>
      <Directory>CompanyName.directory</Directory>
      <Include>
        <And>
          <Category>CompanyName</Category>
        </And>
      </Include>
    </Menu> <!-- End CompanyName -->

Prior to populating the menu with items, a copy of the company logo was altered and placed into the right location as an icon for the new menu. The logo was set onto a transparent background, resized to 32x32 pixels and saved as a PNG using the GIMP. The icon was then copied to /usr/share/pixmaps:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo cp company-logo.png /usr/share/pixmaps/.

The final step involves creating the Desktop entry files to fill the new menu. Desktop files created with the CompanyName category will appear under the Applications -> Company Name menu.

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo vi /usr/share/applications/sydney_production.desktop

  [Desktop Entry]
  Encoding=UTF-8
  Name=Sydney Production
  Comment=Sydney Production Site
  Exec=/usr/bin/prodsys syd
  Categories=GNOME;Application;CompanyName

* /usr/bin/prodsys is a wrapper script to execute a gnome-terminal command - 'gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=sydprod -e ssh syd' would be executed

The new desktop entry should now appear under the new menu. Repeat the Desktop entry step for the remainder of terminals required.

Multimedia

Gxine

Running sound over a thin-client architecture requires solely relying on the ESD sound system. After extensive testing of multiple multimedia players, gxine came out as the clear winner. gxine provides GTK file dialogs and supports additional codecs and the ESD system with minimal configuration. Further information about the installation of additional codecs is available from the RestrictedFormats wiki. gxine can be installed by installing the gxine package.

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo cp /usr/share/gxine/pixmaps/gxine-logo.png /usr/share/pixmaps/.

To ensure all users have the same configuration for all users, a setup similar to the xscreensaver configuration is needed. The setup, however, does not prevent users from recreating the .gxine directory, but will reset the configuration each time at login.

Perform the following steps to setup an initial configuration file:

  • open gxine and follow the wizard
    • "~/.mailcap" and "KDE / Konqueror" options can be unchecked
  • File -> Preferences

    • [gui] experience_level = Advanced
    • [audio] [] driver = esd

After setting up the desired configuration for the current user, copy the configuration file to a shared common location and setup the following addition to the gnome-session-wrapper script:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo cp ~/.gxine/config /usr/share/company/gxineconf
ncampbell@naaman:~$ less /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper

  #########################################
  # GXINE
  # - set gxine settings
  #########################################

  GLOBALGXINE=/usr/share/company/gxineconf

  # check if file exists
  if [ -e $HOME/.gxine/config ]; then
    # check if file is a symlink
    if [ -h $HOME/.gxine/config ]; then
      CONF=`ls -l $HOME/.gxine/config | sed -e "s/.*config -> //g"`
      # check if symlink points to correct location
      if [ $GLOBALGXINE != $CONF ]; then
        rm $HOME/.gxine/config
      fi
    else
      # file is not a symlink
      rm $HOME/.gxine/config
    fi
  fi

  # check if symlink exists
  if [ ! -h $HOME/.gxine/config ]; then
    # check if directory exists
    if [ ! -d $HOME/.gxine ]; then
      mkdir $HOME/.gxine
    fi
    # create symlink
    cd $HOME/.gxine
    ln -s $GLOBALGXINE config
  fi

  #########################################
  # END GXINE
  #########################################

Adobe Acrobat

To complement evince, Adobe Acrobat was installed to provide full PDF support by installing the acroread and mozilla-acroread packages from the Multiverse repositories.

Macromedia Flash

To complete the multimedia setup, Macromedia Flash can be installed by installing the flashplugin-nonfree package from the Mulitverse Repository.

An issue related to the installation of the flash plugin is the lack of multiple user sound support. On a single-user system, creating a symlink to the esd library in the right location can fix the issue. Multiple user systems (and it seems newer versions of esd on single-user machines) use a multiple esd socket file system. When a user logs on, a new socket is created under /tmp/.esd for the user. The Macromedia Flash plugin has the /tmp/.esd/socket file location hardcoded and a workaround is not possible at present.

In short, Macromedia Flash sound is not possible in a multiple user environment.

GNOME Menu

Although the GNOME menu system has improved greatly in 2.12, there still is a lack of a tool for editing the GNOME menu on a system-wide basis. GNOME menu configuration, therefore, still needs to be edited on the command line.

The GNOME menu consists of a collection of desktop files in the /usr/share/applications directory. Inside each file is a Categories line which determines where the menu entry exists. A small number of system tool desktop files exist in /usr/share/control-center-2.0/capplets.

The first step in "trimming the fat" from the GNOME menu is to create a disabledapps directory under /usr/share/applications:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo mkdir /usr/share/applications/disabledapps

Next, determine which apps stay and which apps go. The current Applications menu configuration (after removing unwanted apps) is:

  • Accessories
    • Archive Manager
    • Calculator
    • Character Map
    • File Browser
    • Terminal
    • Text Editor
  • Company Name
    • Sydney Production
    • Oodnadatta Production
    • Yackandandah Production
    • Mullumbimby Production
  • Graphics
    • Document Viewer*
    • GIMP Image Editor
    • gThumb Image Viewer
    • Image Viewer
  • Internet
    • Evolution Mail
    • Firefox Web Browser
    • Terminal Server Client
  • Office
    • (no changes)
  • Sound & Video

    • gxine

* Document Viewer was enabled - more later

The process of removing the unwanted entries consisted of moving the desktop files into /usr/share/applications/disabledapps then adding the "NoDisplay=true" line to each file. Below is a listing of the apps that currently exist in the disabledapps directory:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ ls -1 /usr/share/applications/disabledapps
blackjack.desktop
bug-buddy.desktop
disks.desktop
freecell.desktop
gaim.desktop
gataxx.desktop
gconf-editor.desktop
gdmflexiserver.desktop
gdmflexiserver-xnest.desktop
gdmsetup.desktop
gfloppy.desktop
gksu.desktop
gksuexec.desktop
glines.desktop
gnect.desktop
gnibbles.desktop
gnobots2.desktop
gnome-app-install.desktop
gnome-btdownload.desktop
gnome-cd.desktop
gnome-cups-manager.desktop
gnome-dictionary.desktop
gnomemeeting.desktop
gnome-nettool.desktop
gnome-screensaver-properties.desktop
gnome-sound-recorder.desktop
gnome-stones.desktop
gnome-system-log.desktop
gnome-system-monitor.desktop
gnometris.desktop
gnome-volume-control.desktop
gnome-volume-properties.desktop
gnomine.desktop
gnotravex.desktop
gnotski.desktop
gpilotd-control-applet.desktop
gstreamer-properties.desktop
gtali.desktop
hal-device-manager.desktop
hwdb.desktop
iagno.desktop
language-selector.desktop
mahjongg.desktop
network.desktop
reclevel.desktop
rhythmbox.desktop
same-gnome.desktop
serpentine.desktop
services.desktop
shares.desktop
smeg.desktop
smeg-kde.desktop
sol.desktop
sound-juicer.desktop
synaptic.desktop
synaptic-kde.desktop
time.desktop
totem.desktop
update-manager.desktop
users.desktop
vumeter.desktop
xchat.desktop
xsane.desktop

Attached is a copy of this listing, however it does not contain the entries that usually reside under /usr/share/control-center-2.0/capplets - disabledapps. Save the disabledapps file and execute the following:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo mv /usr/share/control-center-2.0/capplets/* /usr/share/applications/disabledapps/.
ncampbell@naaman:~$ for i in `cat disabledapps`; do sudo mv /usr/share/applications/$i /usr/share/applications/disabledapps/.; done
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo sed -i -e '/NoDisplay/d' /usr/share/applications/disabledapps/*
ncampbell@naaman:~$ for i in `ls -1 /usr/share/applications/disabledapps`; do echo "NoDisplay=true" | sudo tee -a /usr/share/applications/disabledapps/$i; done

The final step in the GNOME menu configuration is enabling hidden items, such as the Document Viewer (evince) entry. Enabling an item is performed by changing the NoDisplay line to equal false:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo sed -i -e 's/NoDisplay\=false/NoDisplay=true/g' /usr/share/applications/evince.desktop

A suggested method for administrators to regain access to some of the removed apps is to run smeg on the command-line and add the desired apps to the current user only.

Time/Date

The default configuration for ntpdate is to synchronise the system time with ntp.ubuntulinux.org when starting up. Problems arise when this is attempted inside a proxied/firewalled network. A workaround to this issue is to point NTP clients to internal NTP servers which update from external NTP servers. To change what server an Ubuntu machine points to, change /etc/default/ntpdate:

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo vi /etc/default/ntpdate

  NTPSERVERS="server.companyname.com.au"

Remote Desktop

A large advantage over the current CDE environment is the ability to remotely control a user's desktop using VNC. A problem arises, however, when trying to locate which user has which VNC desktop. When a user runs System -> Preferences -> Remote Desktop a link is displayed showing how to connect to the user's display. This display always appears to be display 0 and not the user's real display.

The vineyard script, vineyard, can be installed into the /usr/share/company directory to match users with their displays. Placing the script in another directory other than /usr/bin prevents a conflict occuring with another similarly named package.

ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo mv vineyard /usr/share/company/.
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo chmod 755 /usr/share/company/vineyard
ncampbell@naaman:~$ sudo /usr/share/company/vineyard

      ===================
        REMOTE DESKTOPS
      ===================

  =============================
  | username | display number |
  =============================
  | pcuser1 |             00 |
  | pcuser2 |             01 |
  =============================

The desired desktop then can be connected to using the Terminal Server Client by entering the address as hostname:"display number" - example: naaman:01.

UbuntuOnSunRay Compatibility Issues

  • perform the CorporateUbuntu steps prior to the UbuntuOnSunRay steps

  • problems may arise if the ssh and dhcpd3 packages are installed after setting up LDAP authentication
    • as a workaround, install the packages prior to setting up LDAP authentication
  • combine the /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper and /usr/bin/gnome-session-sunray scripts as /usr/bin/gnome-session-wrapper
    • essentially, these scripts perform the same function

Credits


CorporateUbuntu (last edited 2010-01-14 18:38:03 by perspectoff)