Set default settings for new users

I don’t know if this is even possible, but here goes.

I have about 5 users for our desktop computer, 1 adult, 3 kids and me (I don’t count as an adult :P).

There are some settings I want to have each of the environments default to, where they can then change them as they wish on their own.

Instead of setting them one-at-a-time, is there a way to modify the settings on the template of what goes into a user’s /home directory when they are created?

Set it so when I add a person to the system their

  • default browser is set to Firefox
  • starting home page is to our local server
  • Open/Libre Office defaults to MS Office formats

And others, less important ones like their pictures are placed in a centralized directory, not their own ~/Pictures.

After this initial setting, they are able to change any and all of these settings on their own, but to have these as default helps me set up their environments to get them started.

Like I said, I don’t know if this can be done, or done easily enough for me.


Although I haven’t done this, I think I’ve seen enough to opine a little bit…

Firefox - Even on “That other OS” to do this at the application level you need to compile a custom version of the application, although it’s probably also possible to modify the default config file which requires “only” a few more steps than simply editing a file… Try this article by a MacOS Admin (which should still apply)

As for setting Firefox itself as the default web browser, at least on my machine KDE does this automatically with FF and KDE installed, I imagine the same should be true for other major Desktops (If yours is different you’ll likely need to specify the Desktop). Note though in KDE that certain local HTML documents will default to Konqueror instead of Firefox.

As for saving in default formats, I personally would not recommend modifying because I’ve often seen openoffice format files display improperly in Microsoft Office apps. Sure, the file will usually open but I’ve often seen strange and missing layouts, formats, themes, more. Still, if that’s what you want to do apparently you can do a Tools > Options > Load/Save > “Always Save As”

Instead, I strongly recommend always saving to the native, install default and optionally saving in the non-default format <in addition> so that you’ll always have a copy of the file as it was meant to be viewed.