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Old 03-21-2015, 07:30 AM   #1
gavincinema
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Smile Please could you advise me.


First off, I want to apologise. I did write loads here but when I submitted it for moderation, the bulk of the message wasn't posted for some reason - only the title question. Thanks to those that did reply and I'll try again hopefully with better results.

Hi - my name is Gavin and although not a complete Linux newbie having tried several distros in the past, Ubuntu, Zorin, Peppermint, plus a few others, I want to ask questions as if I'd never installed a distro before and start from scratch.

Before I start getting into what I want, I have to be honest to you in that I live with a condition called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that directly affects my everyday life including how I use technology. I lead a very simple life, stream films online (films are my big passion), watch tv shows from the States, read film magazines, and have a very basic mobile phone which I use every few months just to check for voicemails.
I am comfortable with what little I have but my goal is to one day own a device/use a linux distro just for access to the internet and nothing else.

I currently share a laptop with my mother which we both paid halves for. We have Windows 7, and use the Chrome Browser with which I have installed an app called Zenmate which allows me to overcome blocking restrictions - this is very useful because 99 of the time, I use one particular film streaming website that can't be accessed without it (Primewire.ag).

The desktop is minimal, black background with no icons, no notifications showing and all I do is the updates, security essentials then straight onto the web - nothing else. I don't really like the desktop environment, but the laptop really belongings more to my mum than me, so Windows 7 doesn't bother me because of that fact.

I must of taken back to the shops at least 3 tablets, and 9 or 10 laptops in the past few years to get a refund because I couldn't cope with the various distros I tried and felt happier just sharing with my mum. I didn't buy one then return one straightaway - it was more like trying a device out for a week or so, get frustrated, the OCD gets worse, returned the product for a refund, then use my mum's laptop, then getting something new 4 or 5 weeks later. I think the reason I have done this is because I don't actually need another laptop in the house but my compulsion sometimes takes over strongly. Last week I took back an Asus Chromebook to PCWorld after walking out of the store and realising I didn't actually need it.

So you can see I am caught between a rock and a hard place. I want my own device just for watching movies, but at the same time enjoy just having one laptop around. My 'dream' is to find a Linux distro that can boot directly to the Chrome browser. I understand that I do need an underlying os otherwise how would I access the internet and would want an os that does all the security updates in the background, while just providing me with what I need. An analogy would be something like: I want one scoop of chocolate ice cream in a cone, and the ice cream man says I can give you that but it comes with 2 scoops of strawberry and you have to eat those before you get to the chocolate. Basically, I have personally have no use for operating systems, just the internet.

When I first heard about Chromebooks, I got very very excited - wow, a boot straight to the Chrome browser, but then I realised that there was a desktop with icons that can't be removed, and that the Chrome os browser included a section on 'touchpad settings' with a little slider - there is something about sliders and volume/ brightness controls that sets off my OCD. I don't know if Chromium OS is set up differently than Chrome OS as I've never tried it but I know that it, along with other distros can be put onto Chromebooks

I have heard some distros have something called Web Kiosks which locks down the browser to the laptop and you see nothing else. Is that something you think I could look into? Or do you know of a Linux distro in which the user decides what they want on it rather than being forced to live with stuff that isn't needed? There was a distro called Webian which was just the browser, but I don't think it's being developed anymore. Unfortunately, it did't use the Chrome browser (it used it's own browser) and so Zenmate can't be installed on it.

So really to sum it up, I am looking for something that fits my lifestyle, simple, preferably no desktop, and just works the way I want it to work.

I enjoy looking at Linux distros, use Distrowatch to keep up with the latest developments, but above all, one day would like my 'dream version'!

Any thoughts or advice would be really appreciated from this community as I do want to use Linux eventually.

Many thanks in advance,

Gavin

Last edited by gavincinema; 03-23-2015 at 02:16 PM.
 
Old 03-21-2015, 06:47 PM   #2
joe_2000
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Puuuh, that is one short question. I'd say the answer might be 42. Probably... ;-)

No seriously, what is it that you need help with? Give us a little more info and we'll try to help.
Oh and welcome to LQ.
 
Old 03-21-2015, 07:55 PM   #3
Knightron
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The answer is yes.
 
Old 03-23-2015, 05:52 PM   #4
joe_2000
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Yikes. From one extreme to the other. After skimming through your loooong question I gather you want a webbrowser-only experience.

I played around a bit with webconverger some time ago, which is a kiosk distro as you mentioned, in order to use it in a virtual machine whenever I want to do unsafe stuff on the web. There are some additional things you have to configure with these, and frankly I do not really see the benefit over a standard distro, unless you really have to have security mechanisms in place for untrusted users with physical access to the machine.

I understand you do not want to be bothered with a desktop experience that distracts you from the browser. Consider using a standard distro in combination with openbox instead of a full desktop.

After installing openbox with its default configuration you do not even have a taskbar. You just look at a gray desktop. The menu is accessible through a right-click on the desktop.
It has an autostart script into which you could put a command to launch your browser after logging in.

You could create a keyboard shortcut that closes the browser and logs you out / shuts down the computer.

From a user experience standpoint you'd have exactly what you are asking for... Hope that makes sense.

N.B: My apologies if I am missing something obvious related to your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but I have no idea what that is.
 
Old 03-23-2015, 08:04 PM   #5
JeremyBoden
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I would suggest a dual boot environment.

This would allow you to each choose your ideal desktop - at the cost of having to reboot the machine.
I wouldn't be so keen on the Chrome web browser.
Google started out plain and simple and now everything is weighed down with massive adverts and similar spam.
Keep your options open.

Partition you machine 50/50 and each person could be responsible for their own system maintenance.
 
Old 03-23-2015, 08:49 PM   #6
Fred Caro
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You might want to look at this:

http://openelec.tv/get-openelec

I'm not up to date with it but you used to be able to put it on a pendrive and boot from that. You could use that (the pendrive) to control the PC and save stuff to another external device.

The setup, a few years ago, was not that simple but the o/s is entirely devoted to watching media. The advantage is that it is bootable to it's own environment.

Fred.
 
Old 03-24-2015, 06:53 AM   #7
JeremyBoden
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Tails is designed to be booted from USB (for security) and to use a secure browser via TOR.
If you don't mind it being a bit slow, it is difficult for others to observe your data.
It isn't actually installed to hard disk.

Don't expect too much eye candy though.
Worth a try?
 
Old 03-24-2015, 07:42 AM   #8
Miati
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since it's so focused around the web, I might suggest debian stable.

Write a simple script that will open a webbrowser at startup and re-open the browser if you close it.
The following may work well placed in a script to be run at startup.

Code:
(while :; do /usr/bin/firefox -no-remote; wait; echo Re-opening browser; sleep 2; done)&
Install the addons (like Adblock, Disconnect) so that you aren't bothered by ads (Iceweasel is debians firefox) and hit F11 to make it full screen

Then in a crontab write a cron for root to run
Code:
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
every day or so.
Such as
Code:
0 8 * * * apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Which will run at 8 am every day.

This will result in a computer that will always be updated, will always have a browser open without any more intervention.
It's not a simple one click setup but I think it would work well.
 
Old 03-24-2015, 09:28 AM   #9
maples
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If you really want Chrome on it instead of Iceweasel (Debin's re-brand of Firefox), it's possible, it's just a few extra steps. You have to go to chrome.google.com, download the .deb file for your architecture (32 or 64 bit), then run "dpkg --install (filename)" on it. Then you might want to manually run "apt-get update" and "apt-get upgrade" once, just to make sure that everything works like it should.

Hope this helps!
 
Old 03-24-2015, 10:19 AM   #10
joe_2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miati View Post
Then in a crontab write a cron for root to run
Code:
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
every day or so.
Such as
Code:
0 8 * * * apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Which will run at 8 am every day.

This will result in a computer that will always be updated, will always have a browser open without any more intervention.
It's not a simple one click setup but I think it would work well.
That won't work. Some upgrades require manual intervention. Better use unattended-upgrades.
 
Old 03-24-2015, 12:33 PM   #11
DJ Shaji
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I think you want a desktop with a web browser and nothing else. You can have that easily with any Linux distro and any desktop environment. All you have to do is disable components you don't need. Or have a look at minimalist desktop environments like fluxbox or fvwm
 
Old 03-25-2015, 04:31 AM   #12
gavincinema
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A big thank you to all who responded! Having looked into Web Kiosks, I think that is the way to go for my needs. I think I will eventually try out WebConverger, Openelec, Instant WebKiosk, Porteus and Splashtop OS to see which one I prefer. I don't mind configuring the settings at start up - it's just that I don't want to see them again, only the browser!
Will let you know how I get on.

Thanks,

Gavin
 
  


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