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Rednameless 03-10-2010 01:13 AM

Installing any Open-Source web browser on a linux BOX and share it over NFS
 
Folks;

I am planning to install any Open-Source ( LINUX ) web browser having all dependencies/plugin-ins on one single location [DIR] and share it over NFS to all other users; So all users can run the executable to start browsing local files (Flash Tutorials) without the need of installing a web browser on every single workstation.

In my case I am using Red Hat Linux 4 update 7 WS all over my work place.

Please advice; Share Ideas :)

Thanks,

i92guboj 03-10-2010 02:38 AM

The complexer a given piece of software is, the harder it will be to do this.

So, the degree of tinkering you'll have to do will depend on how big and feature rich the desired browser is. A small browser is usually easier to maintain in this regard, and you can always compile it statically, taking rid in the process of most of the dependencies if not all of them. In this regard, being a closed source standalone beast like Opera can be an advantage, so you might want to check that one.

For something like Firefox you will have to go fishing dependencies (ldd can help on that), put them somewhere and configure your LD_LIBRARY_PATH accordingly.

Another way around could be to use unionfs to join the remote directories to the already existing one in the local machines.

kainosnous 03-10-2010 02:44 AM

I'm having trouble seeing the advantage of hosting the browsers on one server. If you already have an OS on each of the clients then it shouldn't be much trouble adding a browser to that. In fact, most distros already have one. Having each run a program over the network would slow things down.

If you just want all of the plugins, say for Firefox, the same, then you could make a symlink from the ~/.mozilla directory to the NFS mount. That would be pretty simple.

However, I can see a purpose for a server if each client is a thin client and has no hard drive. Then it would be good to run a PXE server and maybe even consider looking into the Linux Terminal Server Project.

Rednameless 03-10-2010 02:58 AM

I am not sure kainosnous :) ; My point is to not install web browsers on all users workstation ( Security Policy )

For example# One single machine (Server/Host) having Opera Installed ( Tar ball if possible ). So all NIS users around can log in to that Host (Server) and mount /opt/opera (NFS mount point for example) and execute opera to browse all local SWF files on that server (Host)

evo2 03-10-2010 03:07 AM

It's quite common (or was when I was working with a bunch dec alpha workstations) for /usr/local to be shared via nfs for multiple workstation.

One thing I recall is that it can be a good idea be a little bit careful of is that users login scripts. Eg first check for the existence of /usr/local/bin before adding it to their path. For example in a ~/.bash_profile you might have

Code:

PATH=/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/bin/X11:/usr/games
if [ -d /usr/local/bin ] ; then
    PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin
fi

Same sort of thing goes for LD_LIBRARY_PATH.

This is simply for the case where the NFS mount is down for some reason.

Cheers,

Evo2.

i92guboj 03-10-2010 03:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rednameless (Post 3892585)
I am not sure kainosnous :) ; My point is to not install web browsers on all users workstation ( Security Policy )

For example# One single machine (Server/Host) having Opera Installed ( Tar ball if possible ). So all NIS users around can log in to that Host (Server) and mount /opt/opera (NFS mount point for example) and execute opera to browse all local SWF files on that server (Host)

The users will use whatever they want. They can just download any random browser and use it instead if they don't like Opera. Web browsers are one of the things that users are more anal about. Nowadays, no user with at least a basic knowledge about computers will use a browser s/he doesn't like unless there's any serious restriction about it (serious in like "if we catch you using browser xyz at work we will fire you").

You can install 3rd party software into /opt and mount that whole share remotely in all the machines. That's nothing new, this method dates at least from the era of the big mainframes. But you'll have to configure all your machines so them will mount the share anyway. Installing a web browser is not any more complex really, and twenty more MB in your HD ain't gonna hurt.

You decide.

evo2 03-10-2010 03:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kainosnous (Post 3892573)
Having each run a program over the network would slow things down.

The program still runs on the local machine. The binary just has to get loaded into ram (from the nfs mount, over the network) once when the program is first started. After that it really doesn't matter where the executable lives on disk.

Cheers,

Evo2.

kainosnous 03-10-2010 03:18 AM

It might work. I guess you could try it and see if it works. I would recommend getting a packet sniffer (i.e. wireshark) to help see what is going on. Also, like i92guboj said, I would try to get it linked statically.

mjolnir 03-10-2010 05:40 AM

If I understand you correctly you want to restrict all browsing on the clients to the SWF files on the host, no other browsing allowed.

Opera can be installed in kiosk mode with most other services restricted and locked to a home page. You could set the homepage to point to an Opera Unite file sharing page on the server with some weak password security.

http://www.opera.com/support/mastering/kiosk/

Your users could then use your intranet to d/l and run the files on the local machine.

I have not tried this and there are probably some caveats to this scenario.

Rednameless 03-10-2010 05:54 AM

I am working on it; thanks folks for all the support

I will keep you all posted and please keep updating ;)

Cheers,

jefro 03-10-2010 03:23 PM

If they have x then send something like firefox to the local x server (what we would think of a client)

cantab 03-10-2010 04:36 PM

Compile your web browser as a static binary - a program that has all libraries built-in, so it runs by itself.
Slight drawback is that whenever any of the libraries is updated, you should recompile to have your browser use the new version.


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