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Distribution: Customised Slackware64-14.1 with multilib
I have an approach that I use with point-and-click type users in our lab. Just have the machine start up in runlevel 4 (/etc/inittab). KDM (The KDE Display Manager) has very pretty buttons and drop down menus for rebooting and shutting down.
Well I tried to set it up and couldn't get it to work. It also appears that it would only restrict the use of Ctrl-Alt-Del from the console through init if the file is present. Otherwise it is the same as regular, any user at the physical console keyboard can press Ctrl-Alt-Del to shutdown the system.
However, if you wish to allow the shutdown command for ALL users then you might want to consider the setuid root the shutdown command.
chmod 7755 /sbin/shutdown
Then any user could type "/sbin/shutdown -ah now" at a prompt and the system would shutdown and halt.
I've been using the idea of the GDM/XDM/KDM with the GUI in runlevel 4. I do like most of the GDM screens anyways and I thought i might as well, that way it can sit at a nice login with a nice theme and I can shutdown/reboot whenever since the computer is in a secure location.
If they want to turn it off completely, it is safe to cut the power when the console message says "rebooting." I have myself in the sudoers file, so I can "sudo /sbin/halt" which works great. You may not want to give your family actual root privileges, though :-)
If you aren't going to gdm or kdm, as an earlier poster said, ctrl-alt-del and switching off the power at the right moment might be the easiest way. (Again, KDM or GDM would be the *easiest* way. They were built with this kind of situation in mind.)
hmm I reinstalled Slack and then the current packages after that and I havn't done anything like this and I can reboot and shutdown as a common user. I couldn't do this before but now I can?! It's good but I don't know now it happend.