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We have an unattended kiosk at a local sports arena that currently runs a hardened Linux distribution from a CD-ROM ISO. The project that produced the distribution is no longer active -- in fact, it disappeared from the internet.

What I'm looking for is a Linux kiosk distribution which:

  1. Boots from CD (no hard drive installation)
  2. Only runs a web browser
  3. Restarts the web browser automatically when closed (or after a time-out period)
  4. Does not allow any keyboard shortcuts (to open a terminal, etc...)
  5. Can survive the Kiosk Attack Tools (http://ikat.ha.cked.net)

I know that there are lots of Google results for this sort of thing, and if I had the time, I would follow one of the myriad guides to "roll my own"... but I just don't have the time.

Can any of you recommend a distribution that you have personally used to fulfill this need?

  • Please recommend only distributions that you have personally used which you know fulfill the requirements. – Joe Aug 27 '09 at 18:44
  • I'm looking for the same thing - except that I'd like to install it to a hard drive for better performance, while still retaining the read-only advantages of the CD. – Kyle Cronin Sep 7 '09 at 1:24
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+100

I believe you need "gdm" with auto-login and ctrl-alt-backspace disabled.

Choose "matchbox" as a window-manager: it was designed for kiosk use. It's capable of maximizing windows to fullscreen (while dialogs still look nice). It also consumes little resources, and has an on-screen keyboard.

Use "xautolock" to reset browser on inactivity period.

If you're still looking for a distribution, try WebConverger. I saw it in action: a really nice pick! Alas, is shareware :(

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  • 1
    Thanks Tync! This is the distribution that I chose for the project, though I chose it late last week. For anyone who needs an out-of-the-box bootable CDROM kiosk, WebConverger is easy to use, and (as of this posting) immune to the kiosk attack tools. Even though WebConverger has a commercial solution, and I highly recommend it if you need commercial support, the basic model is freeware. – Joe Sep 8 '09 at 23:15
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Linux Kiosk Appliance

The Linux Kiosk Appliance comes to mind...

https://launchpad.net/kiosk

Looks like the project might be dead though... Hmmmm... Here's a place to download it...

http://www.rpath.org/project/kiosk

I'd be inclined to download the LiveCD and give it a try. Its been a looooong time since I last looked at it but I seem to recall it working just fine when I saw it.

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Maybe this?

http://www.imedialinux.com/kiosk_appliances

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  • Interesting link... have you tried that one? Is it complete or a "roll your own" type of development platform? I wasn't able to tell (for sure) by looking at it. – KPWINC Aug 27 '09 at 0:38
  • This is a kiosk development environment. – Joe Sep 3 '09 at 17:49
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Maybe this: http://www2.userful.com/products/userful-desktop

Cheers

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If you only need a web browser, you don't actually need a window manager at all. Just put the browser of your choice to ~/.xinitrc file and you're all set.

An example of ~/.xinitrc file:

mozilla-firefox &

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