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Old 01-30-2005, 10:07 AM   #1
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Linux Internet Box

I have been asked by a local charity to set up some internet/word processing boxes.

They are just to be used for browsing the internet, using online webmail, and writing documents. Nothing fancy, no music/video/streaming. Nice and simple.

Thing is everything needs to be above board, so no copies of Win98 on their. Also security would also be an issue, as the computers will be used by complete novices I would worry as to what they may accidentally download etc. Virus/Trojans etc.

Linux fits this profile very nicely. But my experience of it has been limited. So I was wondering if anyone here had any suggestions to website I can look out to set these kind of boxes up. I've googled, but nothing really comes up.

Hope you can help, its for a good cause.
Old 01-30-2005, 10:22 AM   #2
Mega Man X
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Get any distribution, create an user and place two huge icons on the desktop: Browser and Office. Whatever they download, (virus, trojan) won't work in Linux anyway. Even if that user is compromised, all you've to do is to delete that user and its home folder, and add a new one. Nothing can go wrong, unless you are in "one of those days that nothing works"
Old 01-30-2005, 11:18 AM   #3
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Was kinda hoping that I could find instructions for getting Linux to boot straight into a browser. Logging into a user account as default.

Last edited by ciaran.mooney; 01-30-2005 at 11:24 AM.
Old 01-30-2005, 07:16 PM   #4
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here's my two cents:

once you have the public user account set just the way you like it, exit the account and make a backup of it in a gzipped tarball (as root from the command line)...

then you can make it so that everytime the computer starts the public user's home directory is automatically recreated by deleting the contents of the directory and decompressing the tarball into place...

this makes it so that even if someone with evil intentions messes up (for example) all the settings in firefox or changes wallpaper or downloads loads of pornography or whatever, everything can be brought back to normal by rebooting...

in slackware you can easily add this kinda startup stuff to your /etc/rc.d/rc.local file and you're set...

if you want people to be able to save stuff that won't get blown-away after a reboot you can make a special folder (called "My Documents", for example) which won't get deleted when the startup script does it's thing...

the auto-login thing can be done easily with gdm or kdm... just google for gdm auto login or kdm auto login and you'll get instructions...

having the browser open upon startup is easy also, i know i've seen threads here at LQ about this cuz i participated in one, just do a search and you'll see...

being that the setup you desire is so simple, i can recommend using XFCE as the window manager, Firefox as the browser, and as the office suite...

as for the distro to use, i can see in your profile that you use slackware, so why not just use that?? slackware is great. you'll only need firefox from and from, well,

google for the term "kiosk" at and you'll get some info about this kinda public PC thing... last time i searched for that most of the results sucked, but that was long ago and the related documentation is (hopefully) much better now...

i've also heard about some kinda "kiosk mode" in XFCE 4.2, but i haven't had a chance to look at it yet...

i hope this helps, good luck...

Last edited by win32sux; 01-30-2005 at 07:20 PM.
Old 01-31-2005, 11:58 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions.

Your right, kisosk in Google does bring up a load of rubbish but ive found a few that may help.

I have used slackware in the past but it was very limited - about the most complicated thing I did was to encode some CD's to OGG. As I couldnt get the internet working I had to revert back to windows - The driver support for wireless PCI cards is terrible at the time.

Everything *seems* simple enough. Will be a steep learning curve though.


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