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Old 08-24-2003, 09:18 PM   #1
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 35

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public web browser aka web kiosk

I would like to set up a guest account that will automatically start x and mozilla, nothing more. I tried the Public Web Browser HOWTO and it didn't work (X would start up and instantly quit). I tried modifying the xinit file in /etc/X11/xinit to launch Mozilla instead of gnome, but that affects all users not just guest. I've also done some investigating in the X man page, and it sounds like I might have to do some stuff with xdm, but I'm not sure what that is exactly or what to do.

So how do I get a public web browser only guest account working?

P.S. would it be ok to put a message in my /etc/issue saying "use login: guest and password: guest for web surfing"?
Old 08-24-2003, 10:37 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: New Jersey
Distribution: Arch Linux
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to have an xinitrc file specific to the user, put it in a file called .xinitrc in the users HOME directory. (notice the ".")

That sounds like what you want. Just have it start up Mozilla and no window manager, and its pretty good.

Of course, just to be sure, give that user VERY little permissions.
Old 08-25-2003, 01:34 AM   #3
Mad Merlin
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Approximately here.
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1
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You could just run from a guest account:

xinit /usr/bin/mozilla

Which will open up Mozilla in a new x session with no WM, you'll probably want to make Mozilla fullscreen with F11 though, and of course, be sure to give guest very little in the way of permissions. When Mozilla closes however, the X session will as well, so that could be a problem.
Old 08-28-2003, 11:43 AM   #4
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 35

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
I tried doing what contrasutra said and X starts up fine with only Mozilla, but keyboard behavior is weird. I can use type-ahead find in Mozilla, but I can't type in the address box. I click it and try typing, but nothing happens.

What do I do? I've noticed that after clicking various things and typing stuff I can sometimes access the address box, but I'm not sure what exactly is making that so.
Old 08-28-2003, 12:44 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, SUSE
Posts: 79

Rep: Reputation: 15
I've also investigated setting up web kiosks. One thing you'll want to watch out for is that the user can type / or /usr/bin or whatever into the URL field, and mozilla will act as a local file browser. This could be a big problem. I know that the normal (non-root) user in Linux is not too powerful, but he can still change things and delete things that he happens to own. You might want to see if you can run mozilla in a chroot'ed environment. That would also prevent them from downloading junk. And if you get it to work, please let me know!
Old 06-14-2004, 02:23 PM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2004
Posts: 2

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I took a whole different (and maybe more difficult approach)...but one that seems pretty flexible.

You can use runlevels to do this. Your system probably does a full graphical boot at runlevel 5. Runlevel 3 is the multiuser non-graphical boot. Runlevel 4 probably isn't used for much of anything.

Create the following script : /sbin/kiosk

# (c) 1999 Red Hat Software, Inc. (and Mark Dickson)

HOME=/home/<your username>
LOGNAME=<your username>
USER=<your username>

# Remove any lock left by killing mozilla
/bin/rm -f $HOME/.mozilla/lock




xinit $clientargs -- $serverargs

And this one: /etc/X11/kiosk

# (c) 1999 Red Hat Software, Inc. (and Mark Dickson, sucka)

export BROWSER

su --login --command="exec $BROWSER -geometry 1024x800+0+0 <starting url here>" --shell=/bin/sh <your username>

Now, symlink or copy this script as: /etc/rc.d/rc4.d/S99kiosk

So whenever someone boots in at a runlevel of 4, it will boot straight into x and mozilla.

You can set this as a profile in GRUB and LILO. In GRUB, just make a profile with 4 appended to the end. Maybe call it "kiosk" and make it the default profile.

It still won't start Mozilla fullscreen, however. I'll get back to you on that one.

Perhaps this is overkill?...

Hope it helps.
Old 06-14-2004, 03:20 PM   #7
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 35

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15

I didn't expect to get a reply to a message I posted 10 months ago. Very intriguing method though, well done .


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