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gsfgf
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 2:21 am    Post subject: Software for a church Reply with quote

A church has asked me to set up an network about 15 old compuers that were donated.

What should i put on them?
Should i use Wondoze/Office since that's what the users are used to?
Should i go OSS? kde(probobly 2 for slow boxes) or flux w/ icons?
If oss, how do i make x start automatically w/out a login manager?
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Carlos
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 3:03 am    Post subject: Re: Software for a church Reply with quote

gsfgf wrote:
Should i use Wondoze/Office since that's what the users are used to?
Should i go OSS? kde(probobly 2 for slow boxes) or flux w/ icons?
I'm tempted to make an obligatory WWJR comment, but I won't. Seriously though, can the church afford licenses for Office and 'doze? I think the cost should make it a moot point, and even if not, I'd go OSS.

If you did go OSS, I'd suggest a lightweight WM like Flux instead of one of the big desktop environments because public computers aren't likely to be used (correct me if I'm wrong) for much more than word processing and web browsing, which really wouldn't benefit from having a full-blown desktop environment.
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Lovechild
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easy.. for the church I would recommend..... FreeBSD, because of the logo :)
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joycea
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can use gdm to log a user in automatically. This is an excerpt from the /etc/X11/gdm/gdm.conf file. This is where you would set it up.

Code:

[daemon]
# Automatic login, if true the first local screen will automatically logged
# in as user as set with AutomaticLogin key.
AutomaticLoginEnable=false
AutomaticLogin=
# Timed login, useful for kiosks.  Log in a certain user after a certain
# amount of time
TimedLoginEnable=false
TimedLogin=
TimedLoginDelay=30
# A comma separated list of users that will be logged in without having
# to authenticate on local screens (not over xdmcp).  Note that 'root'
# is ignored and will always have to authenticate.
LocalNoPasswordUsers=
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovechild wrote:
Easy.. for the church I would recommend..... FreeBSD, because of the logo :)

AHahahahahahaha!!! :lol:

Anyway, seriously, I don't think MS stuff is viable... You already said the church will use oldies to bring up the LAN (let me guess, people contributions?). This brings two issues:
1) the church doesn't really have the money for it (remember that public computers are not covered by single user licenses - you'll have to lick the MS people to get a discount offer and they will accept only if you make yourselves pubblicity dornes for them).
2) Current MS software will crawl on old hardware
Evenmore, public (kiosk-like) MS computers tend to break a whole lot more than other solutions, requiring someone on-top of them almost all the time. (Ok, ok, I'll admit it: I used to hung up the library's network of NT boxes since they still let you bring up the command prompt, just for the laughs - I know I'm a bastard).

So, I also reccomend OSS all the way... after all, they only need a word processor and a browser. Go for something light like flux and desktop icons (they will otherwise find themselves lost). Use idesk or rox-file, change the icons to something familiar too... If you like, choose gtk and kde themes that remind of redmond. OpenOffice is not really viable for old computers so your choice goes down to koffice vs. the gnome set of tools. In any case, try and see if you can "convince" the office apps to use standard formats as defaults (like .rtf) - I haven't tried this myself but I think it can be done, somehow. I don't know if a gcc3.2 gentoo would be a good choice (with all these browser-with-java troubles) but I wouldn't go for "superbloat" distros either.
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gsfgf
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, i like the comments.

I'll go for gentoo w/ flux and icons (ill look into that later).
I'll use gentoo 1.4 since i've never had java trouble.
What office apps. Abiword has never run stable for me, and koffice loads slow in non kde environments.
I should be able to lock the system down pretty well unser linux too. Clearing dangerous stuff out of the menu and mapping aterm to a complex hotkey shoudl do the trick. Any other tips for locking down the sys?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OpenOffice.org has been flawless for me.

I would think if these boxes are slow I'd go with flux. Although I personally use IceWM.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rizzo wrote:
OpenOffice.org has been flawless for me.

I would think if these boxes are slow I'd go with flux. Although I personally use IceWM.


Open Office is my choice too but I have an athlonXP 1700+ and 512Mbs of RAM and it's not like it loads at light speed. So my guess is that on old boxes you can get a cup of coffee 'til it loads.

On locking down the environment: make sure the "user" has no su rights (don't you guys like pam?) and make the boxes start right off in X perhaps even disabling the consoles (slack's runlevel 5 was X only but I don't really know how they did that). For admin work have a special user that can su but has no access to X and have him be the only one allowed to log in via ssh.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

reguarding the wm you should use... if you're wanting people to be able to use it and be familiar with it much like windows you should go with icewm. heck you could even use your own image files and make it look exactly like windows.

although if it's going to act as a public kiosk type thing, you should go with flux, disable the slit, and make custom desktop icons using iDesk that people can click on for browser, email, word proc.

i wouldnt recommend oo.o for slow PCs. i ran it on a p233 with 128mb ram and it took a good minute or two to load and it was horrendously slow. this was running on a fine tuned gentoo system, mind you :P so if those donated pcs are of similar or lesser calibur, defintely don't go with oo.o.

abiword for me on my p233 worked fine though. dont really know of any other alternative solutions though. sorry :(

if you have any questions as to what would and wouldnt work on a low-end system, pm me! i've tried all the major apps on that p233 including gnome2 and kde3 ;)
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gsfgf
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How should i set up the boxes for remote administration?
ssh or ssh+remote xsession? Any ideas on how to impliment ssh remotely on networked pcs from outside the netowork?
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joycea
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see why you would really need anything more than just a shell, but if the need arised to use an X-app remotely you could just use X11 port forwarding. It's a pretty straight forward process and only requires a net connection and the SSH port open. I can do it for my computer from behind a firewall fairly easily.
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pYrania
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well all you need is ssh.
you can connect to the actual router from outside world and ssh to every single maschine from it. if you really need a remote xsession, just uncomment the needed options in the kde config and start your local X server like this:
Code:
X -query xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

that's it.
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jonemi
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should buy them a server and then setup a LTSP network!
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gsfgf
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, i've pretty much get everything set, except word processing. oo is too big, abiword is buggy at least on my system. What are other alternatives?
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jonemi
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KOffice, WordPerfect for Linux, LyX, HancomOffice.
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joycea
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2002 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's just going to be used by a bunch of people familiar with Word, I don't think you would want to expose them LyX (It's a great package, it's just no where near a word clone). Since you seem completely opposed to AbiWord, KWord is probably your best bet.

WordPerfect Office and Hancom would also be great solutions as jonemi suggested, but you would have to purchase licenses for those.

(p.s. For what it's worth, I've found AbiWord to be much more stable than OpenOffice on my comp. I guess everyone's milage varies...)
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2002 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AbiWord is stable on my system, i whould go for it.

you should also disable consoles, if someone tryes to ctrl+alt+Fx ...
and get a shell, i whould not let anyone get a shell anywhere.
exepct when they login in like gdm.
or xdm.

flux is nice but ppl will get confused by the taskbar. and the iconthing.
i whould go for something that has a taskbar.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2002 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just don't get too many daemons running in their computers :)

well kde and some office solution will make them happy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2002 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yea i was thinkin kde. its not like kde is slow, its the compjuters, and they should be aware that te comps are really old.
i whould run kde if it has more than 64MB ram..
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gsfgf
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2002 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i disable terminals in the kernel, right?
I think flux could do the trick w/ idesk.
K also has more places that need to be secured and i'm not that familiar with it.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2002 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gsfgf wrote:
i disable terminals in the kernel, right?

No, /etc/inittab
Whatever default runlevel you set, don't let the gettys run. You still want to be able to switch runlevels and get a console you can use.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2002 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gsfgf wrote:
i disable terminals in the kernel, right?
I think flux could do the trick w/ idesk.
K also has more places that need to be secured and i'm not that familiar with it.


To bring another player into the game.. check out http://rox.sourceforge.net
It's really quite spiffy and I'm checking it out myself too to build some el cheapo systems with pretty complete OSS. From a previous experience I am pretty sure it'll run quite fine on older systems. A pity it is't in portage to it's full extent. (only the filemanager).. Oh yeah the only real showstopper that's bothering me is that there still appears to be no taskbar available on the panel...
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gsfgf
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2002 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

where can i find icons for use w/ idesk?
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gsfgf
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2002 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

how would i keep them from editing user config files. (the ones in ~). could i remove non-root write premissions from them?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2002 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gsfgf wrote:
how would i keep them from editing user config files. (the ones in ~). could i remove non-root write premissions from them?


You could do that... Or allow them to make all the changes they want.

Get it setup just the way you like, then tar up the home directory. Set a cron job to reboot the machine each night/week/whatever. And when the machine boots up, untar the home directory so everything is restored back to the way you want it.

For a window manager.. maybe something like fvwm w/ the redmond98 theme would work out nicely. Closely resembles what most people would be used to seeing at home...
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