"sealed box"??? - Ubuntu

This is a discussion on "sealed box"??? - Ubuntu ; Toby Newman wrote: > On 2007-12-28, Mike Scott wrote: >> Looking for pointers please (or if anyone knows it's not a good >> idea.....). Anyway..... >> >> A friend still living in blissful computer ignorance may need to use one ...

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Thread: "sealed box"???

  1. Re: "sealed box"???

    Toby Newman wrote:
    > On 2007-12-28, Mike Scott wrote:
    >> Looking for pointers please (or if anyone knows it's not a good
    >> idea.....). Anyway.....
    >>
    >> A friend still living in blissful computer ignorance may need to use one
    >> for email, web access and word processing. The budget would be /very/
    >> tight, and anyway I hardly dare think what might happen if they end up
    >> in windows wonderland; so I'm wondering about setting up a "sealed box"
    >> ubuntu system. The idea being that they're given the computer already
    >> set up to perform a fixed, small set of functions - and they're denied
    >> root access, which means the box must be essentially self-maintaining,
    >> even under fault conditions.

    ....
    > I set my sister up on Ubuntu 7.04 this year as user, I'm root, and she
    > took the computer with her to the other end of the country.
    >
    > No problems yet, and she got the internet working herself.
    >

    Thanks for getting this back on track - seems to have drifted more than
    a trifle.

    I think the kde kiosk mode another poster suggested looks the way to go.
    I'm talking about a potential user who is 100% ignorant of computers,
    has zero time to learn (doesn't want to anyway - I don't blame her) but
    who may be effectively forced soon by others to use email as a contact
    medium.


    To answer another respondent's query - by "fault conditions" I just
    meant things like untidy power down (the system would have to sort out
    fsck issues; maybe that's a non-problem with ext3 though); full
    partitions; that sort of thing.


    --
    Mike Scott (unet scottsonline.org.uk)
    Harlow Essex England

  2. Re: "sealed box"???

    Toby Newman writes:

    > On 2007-12-28, Mike Scott wrote:
    >> Looking for pointers please (or if anyone knows it's not a good
    >> idea.....). Anyway.....
    >>
    >> A friend still living in blissful computer ignorance may need to use one
    >> for email, web access and word processing. The budget would be /very/
    >> tight, and anyway I hardly dare think what might happen if they end up
    >> in windows wonderland; so I'm wondering about setting up a "sealed box"
    >> ubuntu system. The idea being that they're given the computer already
    >> set up to perform a fixed, small set of functions - and they're denied
    >> root access, which means the box must be essentially self-maintaining,
    >> even under fault conditions.
    >>
    >> Obviously there'd need to be some provision for configuring things like
    >> smtp/pop servers, also for some sort of dump; nothing that couldn't be
    >> handled by sudo. The main issue might well be file-system integrity
    >> after a crash. I can't see anything offhand that would definitely kill
    >> the idea stone dead.
    >>
    >> But to save me inventing yet another shape of wheel, has anyone
    >> knowledge of prior art in this area please?

    >
    > I set my sister up on Ubuntu 7.04 this year as user, I'm root, and she
    > took the computer with her to the other end of the country.
    >
    > No problems yet, and she got the internet working herself.


    She had sudo/root access too then?

  3. Re: "sealed box"???

    Mike Scott writes:

    > Toby Newman wrote:
    >> On 2007-12-28, Mike Scott wrote:
    >>> Looking for pointers please (or if anyone knows it's not a good
    >>> idea.....). Anyway.....
    >>>
    >>> A friend still living in blissful computer ignorance may need to
    >>> use one for email, web access and word processing. The budget would
    >>> be /very/ tight, and anyway I hardly dare think what might happen
    >>> if they end up in windows wonderland; so I'm wondering about
    >>> setting up a "sealed box" ubuntu system. The idea being that
    >>> they're given the computer already set up to perform a fixed, small
    >>> set of functions - and they're denied root access, which means the
    >>> box must be essentially self-maintaining, even under fault
    >>> conditions.

    > ...
    >> I set my sister up on Ubuntu 7.04 this year as user, I'm root, and she
    >> took the computer with her to the other end of the country.
    >>
    >> No problems yet, and she got the internet working herself.
    >>

    > Thanks for getting this back on track - seems to have drifted more
    > than a trifle.
    >
    > I think the kde kiosk mode another poster suggested looks the way to
    > go. I'm talking about a potential user who is 100% ignorant of
    > computers, has zero time to learn (doesn't want to anyway - I don't
    > blame her) but who may be effectively forced soon by others to use
    > email as a contact medium.
    >
    >
    > To answer another respondent's query - by "fault conditions" I just
    > meant things like untidy power down (the system would have to sort out
    > fsck issues; maybe that's a non-problem with ext3 though); full
    > partitions; that sort of thing.


    You do not need a kiosk mode.

    Install the apps she needs and do not give her sudo access.

    It is that simple.

    It sounds like you dont have the basics of Linux particularly well
    understood so why complicate things unnecessarily.

    All she will have to do is double click an icon or two.

    incidentally : use Gnome. It's easier and simpler on the eye IMO for a
    nOOb.

  4. Re: "sealed box"???

    On 2007-12-31, Mike Scott wrote:
    > Toby Newman wrote:
    >> On 2007-12-28, Mike Scott wrote:
    >>> Looking for pointers please (or if anyone knows it's not a good
    >>> idea.....). Anyway.....
    >>>
    >>> A friend still living in blissful computer ignorance may need to use one
    >>> for email, web access and word processing. The budget would be /very/
    >>> tight, and anyway I hardly dare think what might happen if they end up
    >>> in windows wonderland; so I'm wondering about setting up a "sealed box"
    >>> ubuntu system. The idea being that they're given the computer already
    >>> set up to perform a fixed, small set of functions - and they're denied
    >>> root access, which means the box must be essentially self-maintaining,
    >>> even under fault conditions.

    > ...
    >> I set my sister up on Ubuntu 7.04 this year as user, I'm root, and she
    >> took the computer with her to the other end of the country.
    >>
    >> No problems yet, and she got the internet working herself.
    >>

    > Thanks for getting this back on track - seems to have drifted more than
    > a trifle.
    >
    > I think the kde kiosk mode another poster suggested looks the way to go.
    > I'm talking about a potential user who is 100% ignorant of computers,
    > has zero time to learn (doesn't want to anyway - I don't blame her) but
    > who may be effectively forced soon by others to use email as a contact
    > medium.


    You just described my sister. I've not found Kiosk mode to be necessary.
    Just revoke any kind of root access.

    --
    -Toby
    Add the word afiduluminag to the subject to circumvent my email filters.

  5. Re: "sealed box"???

    On 2007-12-31, Hadron wrote:
    > Toby Newman writes:
    >
    >> On 2007-12-28, Mike Scott wrote:
    >>> Looking for pointers please (or if anyone knows it's not a good
    >>> idea.....). Anyway.....
    >>>
    >>> A friend still living in blissful computer ignorance may need to use one
    >>> for email, web access and word processing. The budget would be /very/
    >>> tight, and anyway I hardly dare think what might happen if they end up
    >>> in windows wonderland; so I'm wondering about setting up a "sealed box"
    >>> ubuntu system. The idea being that they're given the computer already
    >>> set up to perform a fixed, small set of functions - and they're denied
    >>> root access, which means the box must be essentially self-maintaining,
    >>> even under fault conditions.
    >>>
    >>> Obviously there'd need to be some provision for configuring things like
    >>> smtp/pop servers, also for some sort of dump; nothing that couldn't be
    >>> handled by sudo. The main issue might well be file-system integrity
    >>> after a crash. I can't see anything offhand that would definitely kill
    >>> the idea stone dead.
    >>>
    >>> But to save me inventing yet another shape of wheel, has anyone
    >>> knowledge of prior art in this area please?

    >>
    >> I set my sister up on Ubuntu 7.04 this year as user, I'm root, and she
    >> took the computer with her to the other end of the country.
    >>
    >> No problems yet, and she got the internet working herself.

    >
    > She had sudo/root access too then?


    No. I pre-configured it. She plugged into the wall at her home and off
    she went.

    --
    -Toby
    Add the word afiduluminag to the subject to circumvent my email filters.

  6. Re: "sealed box"???

    Mike Scott wrote:
    > A friend still living in blissful computer ignorance may need to use one
    > for email, web access and word processing. The budget would be /very/
    > tight, and anyway I hardly dare think what might happen if they end up
    > in windows wonderland; so I'm wondering about setting up a "sealed box"
    > ubuntu system. The idea being that they're given the computer already
    > set up to perform a fixed, small set of functions - and they're denied
    > root access, which means the box must be essentially self-maintaining,
    > even under fault conditions.


    Ubuntu on a cheap used Intel box is one solution.

    Another is a cheap used iMac ($50-100 on eBay) with Mac OS 10.3.x
    and a "limited" account. Mac OS makes it quite easy to actually check
    off on a list which applications a "limited" account is allowed to use.

    Either way, provide an admin account that _you_ can log into, for
    support, and preferably a VNC or other means of remote GUI control.

    --
    Wes Groleau

    Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns
    it, and finds himself no wiser than before ... He is full of
    murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having
    come by their ignorance the hard way.
    -- Kurt Vonnegut

  7. Re: "sealed box"???

    NoStop wrote:
    > Trevor Best wrote:
    >

    .... snip ...
    >
    >> Way back when I had a 286, everyone I knew that had a computer
    >> had some Spectrum, ST, Amoeba oe similar keyboard with a lot of
    >> gubbins inside.
    >>
    >> So one guy was thinking my keyboard or screen was the computer,
    >> pointed to the large AT case under the monitor and said "what's
    >> that bit?" I said it was "the computer", he looked bemused.

    >
    > Was his name "Hadron"? :-)


    Now that's cruel. Funny, but cruel. Accurate, but cruel.

    --
    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy New Year
    Joyeux Noel, Bonne Annee, Frohe Weihnachten
    Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net)




    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


  8. Re: "sealed box"???

    Wes Groleau wrote:
    > Mike Scott wrote:
    >> A friend still living in blissful computer ignorance may need to use
    >> one for email, web access and word processing. The budget would be
    >> /very/ tight, and anyway I hardly dare think what might happen if they
    >> end up in windows wonderland; so I'm wondering about setting up a
    >> "sealed box" ubuntu system. The idea being that they're given the
    >> computer already set up to perform a fixed, small set of functions -
    >> and they're denied root access, which means the box must be
    >> essentially self-maintaining, even under fault conditions.

    >
    > Ubuntu on a cheap used Intel box is one solution.
    >
    > Another is a cheap used iMac ($50-100 on eBay) with Mac OS 10.3.x
    > and a "limited" account. Mac OS makes it quite easy to actually check
    > off on a list which applications a "limited" account is allowed to use.


    Oddly, the hardware isn't the real issue -
    >
    > Either way, provide an admin account that _you_ can log into, for
    > support, and preferably a VNC or other means of remote GUI control.
    >

    Yes, thanks, I'd got that far! I run a freebsd machine headless, and
    start a vnc demon at bootup. Works well until a power brown-out (comes
    up single-user if the file-system is messed up - I suspect linux may be
    more robust here?), which is partly why I'm concerned about an
    inaccessible machine on a dial-up link.


    --
    Mike Scott (unet scottsonline.org.uk)
    Harlow Essex England

  9. Re: "sealed box"???

    Mike Scott wrote:
    > Yes, thanks, I'd got that far! I run a freebsd machine headless, and
    > start a vnc demon at bootup. Works well until a power brown-out (comes
    > up single-user if the file-system is messed up - I suspect linux may be
    > more robust here?), which is partly why I'm concerned about an
    > inaccessible machine on a dial-up link.


    Ah, in that case I'd say forget the Mac. Set a PC BIOS to check for
    floppy first and give the user a bootable floppy that does an fsck and
    any other fixit actions you can think of automagically on boot.

    --
    Wes Groleau

    If you put garbage in a computer nothing comes out but garbage.
    But this garbage, having passed through a very expensive machine,
    is somehow ennobled and none dare criticize it.

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