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Jamie Zawinski/DNA Lounge: Diskless Linux Kiosks

May 26, 2001, 18:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jamie Zawinski)

Jamie Zawinski wanted to set up public Internet kiosks for his club that went beyond the usual "web browser only" routine, providing full access to telnet, ssh, IRC, and instant messaging. He solved his problem using the ThinkNIC 'net appliance, GNOME, and NFS. This is more than a simple feature: he provides a fairly complete recipe.

"One of the things I want to do here at the DNA Lounge is have public kiosks that people can use for web browsing, IRC, AIM, and so on. When most people set up kiosks, they tend to try and lock them down so that you can only run a web browser, but that's a little too limiting, since I want people to be able to run other applications too (telnet, ssh, irc, and so on.) So really, I wanted to give access to a complete desktop system. But do so safely and reliably.

I decided to set them up as Linux systems running the GNOME desktop, preconfigured with all the common applications people might want to run. However, I needed to figure out a way to make the system robust enough that one user couldn't screw it up for another, on purpose or accidentally. The system would need to be locked down enough that it was easy to reset it to a working state. "

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