Thread: Setting up a Kiosk station?
July 30th, 2009, 12:27 PM #1
Setting up a Kiosk station?
Is there anyone who has some experience setting up a kiosk station using Linux? Is there some type of package / distro I should be looknig at? Most of our *nix servers are Debian but I have also used Ubuntu. I was considering Ubuntu for the kiosk stations.
This will be in a library environment. The computers in question would be something from the Dell OptiPlex line. We currently have GX620, 755 and 760 in service.
I would want to give the users access to Firefox, Open Office, GIMP and some type of burning software. Will also need to be able to mount / unmount a USB pen drive to save documents. Everything else should be locked down.
Then I would also need to look at something for mass duplication. Currently using Symantec Ghost 8.3 for our imaging needs. Running a DD on an 80GB HD x 40+ computers would be pretty time consuming. Is there a better way?
July 31st, 2009, 09:30 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jul 2009
linux lockdown for kiosks
see Kiosk and Self-service - Kiosk Lockdown Using Firefox, Ubuntu and Blackbox
Nice writeup on configuring Linux browser lockdown under Ubuntu with Blackbox window manager. This install also sets up Apache,PHP and MySQL locally so app can be web-based but not necessarily connected to the Internet. Firefox is the browser engine and writer uses R-Kiosk extension for full-screen customization.
August 31st, 2009, 09:19 AM #3
At my university, we almost exclusively use those machines you listed (mostly 745s and 755s, a few 760s in service). They are very easy to get running in Linux, although for our labs we prettymuch exclusively use Redhat. Should be a good platform to get going, almost everything is supported out of the box.
First off, if you're using the Radeon cards, I'd just use the open source drivers (unless you really, REALLY need 3d support). You'll get to that part soon enough I'm sure. If you're using Intel graphics, the default drivers are fine (and pretty good at that).
There is a very good hard drive image cloning and management suite called Clonezilla. Check it out here:
It's basically open sourced Ghost, and has a lot of very nice features (multicasting, save to/restore from SSH, PXE booting, etc). Should be robust enough for your needs.
For burning software, the old standbys (Brasero for GNOME, K3B for KDE) are good enough. I've not set up either for a public environment, but I hear KDE has better features for that kind of use (public computers and kiosks). If you want KDE, I'd recommend installing Kubuntu, it's probably the easiest way to get up and running fast.
I would probably not recommend Blackbox for a public client, it's too 'different' and the public at large probably won't like having to relearn how to open applications. IceWM might be a good choice if you want to avoid GNOME or KDE, it (can be made) very similar to Windows interfaces, and should be easy for users to pick up quickly.
There's a post on the ubuntu forums about this:
Ubuntu for a Public Computer - Ubuntu Forums
You're probably going to do something to the extent of setting up a small group of machines with guest accounts. Shouldn't be too bad. You'll probably want to learn some scripting (don't worry it's pretty easy to pick up if you don't), and write some scripts to sanitize the /home/guest (or whatever) directory when users log out. That way you don't overload the computer with crap.
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