I need to set up one of the accounts in my Xubuntu 11.10 machine as essentially a kiosk. I have set up the desktop and assigned only certain icons to the panel, and now I just want to lock the panel so that it can't be changed. (It would be even better if the panel could easily be changed with sudo rights when I need to change it over time.)

In the past I accomplished the same thing in Ubuntu using Pessulus, but I read that Pessulus does not work in Ubuntu 11.10 so I switched to Xubuntu with upgrade last week because I read that XFCE supports a kiosk mode. I had to upgrade because as far as I can tell it was the only way to resolve an unrelated hardware problem that I was experiencing with the printer.

I tried turning on Kiosk mode as described here. I created file /etc/xdg/xdg-xubuntu/xfce4/kiosk/kioskrc with the following contents:


It seems that now the account in question can right click on the panel, add a launcher and use it, but when the account logs out and back in the launcher is no longer there. If this is the desired behavior of XFCE's kiosk mode then it is not what I am looking for. I need to prevent this account from being able to modify the panel. I guess it is possible that I did something wrong in trying to set up kisok mode.

Worst case I guess I could disable right clicking for the user, but that solution seems like it might lead to trouble when I realize that some program needs right click to function properly. I researched the preventing right click option, but the only solution that I found here seemed to be a system wide solution, and I really need for the other two accounts on this machine to have right click functionality.

I am sure that I am not the only person who wants to do this. I can think of many use cases for locking down the panels in Xubuntu. I have spent quite a while searching for a solution, but have not yet found one. I have used Ubuntu for five years now, but it has always just worked for me so I don't have much experience editing configuration files. Can you point me to a guide for what I am trying to accomplish?

  • I don't use xfce, so I can't test this, but a google search came up with this thread: forum.vectorlinux.com/index.php?topic=2240.0 Maybe it will help. – bntser Nov 1 '11 at 0:19
  • Unfortunately that thread was talking about locking your screen when you are away from it so that a password is required to get past the screensaver. That process is quite different from locking down the panels so that they can't be modified. Thank you for offering the help though. – Keith Nov 2 '11 at 0:30

This link is about locking the panels, maybe this is what you're looking for: https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/xubuntu#TOC-Safeguard-the-panels-kiosk-mode-

Copy the panel settings in your home folder, to a systemwide folder. The settings file is called xfce4-panel.xml.

Copy and paste the following magical incantation into the terminal:

sudo cp -v ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-panel.xml /etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/

Now open the settings file with text editor Leafpad. With the following command line:

gksudo leafpad /etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-panel.xml

Almost at the top of the text in that text file you see the line:

<channel name="xfce4-panel" version="1.0">

Dele that line and replace it by this line:

<channel name="xfce4-panel" version="1.0" locked="*" unlocked="root">

Save the modified text file.

Reboot your computer.

The panels are now in kiosk mode and can't be deleted or modified.

  • 1
    Just a quick remark (probably pointing out the obvious but just for clarification): This will not work if you only modify the user-bound config file. Editing the system-wide panel configuration is necessary in this case, which does make this quite a hassle unfortunately. – Glutanimate Sep 30 '13 at 14:44

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