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
"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.