Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ubuntu Kiosk + Opera = FTW!

Recently I've been tasked by the company that I work with to create kiosk terminals. We had some old Dell's lying around, they have a 400mhz processor, 128mb ram, 10gb hard drive. They would basically just show the company website but prevent them from going anywhere else.

Now I thought this would be a good chance to show them Ubuntu and Firefox, I'm an evangelist for those two. However what happens next is a trip into the twilight zone, I ended up having to use Opera.

It seems there are no good firefox extension that turns it into a kiosk, I tried searching on its add-on database. While there are some, most of them only works in Windoze!!! WTF!!! Mozilla wtf!!!! Open Source, ever heard of it???

Damn I was so pissed off, add the fact that the wireless usb adapters are a pain to configure in Ubuntu. I started to think that maybe I'm going on the wrong path. After googling for a miracle I finally found one post in a forum suggesting why not try opera... I've used opera before, in fact before Firefox I was a huge opera fan.

Sure enough, damn it was so easy with Opera, opera -kioskmode -nomenu -nosysmenu etc.

Check that link for the full list of options, everything worked so sweet in opera and it was fast too. I finished all the kiosk stations in a day, and wasted 2-3 days trying to get firefox to work.

To sum it up, I installed Ubuntu using the server iso. Create a kiosk user with limited system access. Then installed xorg, xscreensaver, opera, msttcorefonts. Got the wireless adapters working using wpa_supplicant and ndiswrapper.

I created a script to start X and then when opera closes it will logout the user, this script is then called from .bashrc

#! /bin/bash

xscreensaver &
exec opera -kioskmode -noexit -nomenu -nosysmenu etc...

Removed the other terminals and left 2 running, didn't have any graphical login manager, and didn't need any window manager. They run fast and sweet on those old Dell suckers, I bet they are thankful that I saved them from the junkyard.

As for firefox, I'm so disappointed... really I am!

This post from ubuntuforums helped me install programs when the ubuntu servers were being leeched to death after the release of 8.04 it was posted by izut.

Re: How to Create Local Repository on Hard Disk

I'll describe a few steps I made to construct my personal repository. My current setup is:

- Ubuntu 'Warty' installed with Internet access (at work)
- Ubuntu 'Warty' installed without Internet access (at home)

Using the usual Ubuntu repositories, I updated the system and installed some packages I wanted (ruby, apache, mysql, etc). You don't need to install that on the host system, just use the apt-get's download only option. All files downloaded from repositories are in the /var/cache/apt/archives directory in the host system. I did these steps:

1. Created /opt/repo directory (could be the home directory)
2. Created the directory /opt/repo/binary (copied from Debian specs)
3. Copied all debs from my update from /var/cache/apt/archives to /opt/repo/binary
4. Executed dpkg-scanpackages like this:
# pwd
# dpkg-scanpackages binary /dev/null | gzip -9c > binary/Packages.gz
5. Burned a CD with its contents

For use that in my standalone host, I did this:
# apt-cdrom add

I think it's all.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SG is down!

Server went kaputz! Will be back soon.

Microsoft Predicted to Back Away from Vista - GigaOM
Just recently bought a tablet pc and I just want to slam it on the wall and rip it into pieces, the cause of my woes... Vista! It's slow as fuck... copying a single 700mb took forever, my media server (500mhz pentium II running ubuntu beat it!) It also drained the battery by doing system restore every couple of fucking minute! Had to turn it off as it was trashing the hard drive.

HP's wireless assistant is also crap, in fact HP installed so much crap on it, its annoying. My wife hated it, each time she'd restart or resume from sleep the damn thing can't find the wireless!!! The tablet I'm talking about by the way is the HP Pavilion TX1410US.

This thing also runs hot, I should have probably sticked with my instinct and bought a Core2Duo laptop. In fact I'm gonna return the damn thing and get me a Core2Duo, AMD has been doing a lot of sucking lately. And its not light either, the touchscreen is annoying, it has some sort of matte that makes the screen wobble when you move from side to side.

The touchscreen is not so great, I have a wacom tablet and this thing is no wacom. I think I'll stick to my wacom for my graphic needs.

Vista = Crap piece of shit
HP TX1410US = 3 of 10 ( too fucking hot, literally will burn your lap)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Firefox 3 Beta 5

Firefox web browser | International versions: Get Firefox in your language
Firefox 3 Beta 5, is now out, but you should probably wait before updating to the newest release. Cause this one breaks a lot of plugins and not even the lifehacker hack can enable them. Adblock appears on the toolbar but is completely worthless, it DOES NOT work!!!

Fix it!!!!Fix it!!!! Fix it!!!! Fix it!!!! Fix it!!!! Fix it!!!! NOW!!!