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Old 03-29-2016, 09:16 AM   #1
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Linux n00b - Public Library Setup Feasibility

Hello! I'm a Linux newbie looking for some guidance.

I recently started working at a public library. Their public computing setup is terrible. It doesn't refresh after each session (bad for privacy!) and the session management and print management software is expensive. We currently have Windows 7, Deep Freeze, Envisionware Session Management (which we only use to remotely shutdown a PC when someone is viewing porn), and Print Management, which we use to manually release prints so patrons don't print 500 pages without paying.

I stumbled upon this article about open source Linux setup at a library:

I would love to make the majority of our public access computers Linux. I'd also like to offer a few Macs, and keep 2 or so PCs for those situations where a patron needs to install/use a certain program.

  • Libki looks like a great option for session management. It is supposedly cross-platform, and it is FREE! It says it requires "Gtk2 support" on Mac OS X to work, though. What is that? (n00b, remember?)
  • For Privacy, I can keep Deep Freeze on the PCs and Macs and setup the Linux machines as explained in the link above.
  • For print management, I am stumped. Can I setup a Print Release solution that'll work on Mac, Linux, Windows? Any advice?

If I successfully pull off this transition, our library would be saving $1,500 a year, not to mention protect patron privacy AND require very little maintenance.
Old 03-29-2016, 11:49 AM   #2
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I haven't read what you posted but you might want to look at a kiosk setup. Here is a page with some good links.
Old 03-29-2016, 12:43 PM   #3
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Libki. Gtk is a library (like a Windows dll file) used for graphics. This program enables Linux applications that need it to run on a Mac:

Print Management. There are a number of commercial solutions
Your existing software might work using Wine
Old 03-29-2016, 08:26 PM   #4
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Get a high quality firewall that has way more control over your lan/wan. A firewall like untangle and many others have a not for profit price that is well reduced. In fact even windows programs are on that same program of way reduced or free. It may require a layer 7+ firewall along with various white lists and black lists and some application control and port blocking.

You may wish to use a system like a terminal server where each computer boots from a master copy and each time is automatically rebooted to clean data.

Might look at for some of their ideas.

So, you guys decide on what porn is before you turn off the user? I guess you do have look at it to decide.

Last edited by jefro; 03-29-2016 at 08:28 PM.
Old 03-30-2016, 04:26 AM   #5
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As per Jefro, have a look at a terminal server soln
Old 03-30-2016, 07:13 AM   #6
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The libraries around me use Windows (contracted services) but lock them down so users cannot install anything. You get to a library kiosk web based application and nothing else. That kind of operation would reduce risk and reduce maintenance no matter what the base OS.

They also have unencrypted WIFI almost totally unrestricted, which makes me crazy, but that supports BYOD solutions for internet access.

Every good library really needs a geek!
Old 03-30-2016, 07:55 AM   #7
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That library freedom project article sounds ideal for your requirements.

If you have not already done so, why not contact Chuck McAndrew, IT Librarian at Lebanon Public Libraries and author of the above article at:

Last edited by beachboy2; 03-30-2016 at 07:56 AM.


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