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By default in Gnome standard users can access their screensaver preferences and change settings such as the idle time and whether or not it locks the screen.

I desire to set the screensaver settings as the root user for each user and only allow the root user to adjust them. What is the best (read: simplest + fool proof) way to accomplish this?

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I don't think you can, but I would still recommend to have a look at Sabayon. You can use it to configure the default screensaver settings for a user profile.

There is also Pessulus, a lockdown editor for GNOME. It is included in the admin suite since 2.14.

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Thank you, though I cannot find how to make settings mandatory under Sabayon 2.12 on CentOS 5.2. –  Jared Brown Nov 4 '09 at 20:01
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yes, it is possible:

use gconftool-2

Take a look too at the administration gnome library manuals: http://library.gnome.org/admin/ , plenty of nice stuff in there.

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