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Help me prepare a few linux boxes for kids

Discussion in 'Other Operating Systems' started by Smokin Whale, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    Hey guys,

    I've been asked to build some very low budget PCs as kids PCs for a few families. Part of the low budget means no licencing fees, so windows is totally out of the question.

    I've got a few secondhand PCs that could be put to use. Most are decent P4s and AMD Athlon XPs, but I have the odd PIII and PII lying around. I'm thinking for the more modern ones I could get away with Ubuntu 10.04 x86, while I could use Puppy linux for the pre-2000 pcs?

    As for Ubuntu 10.04, what sort of specs should I need to run it comfortably? Puppy linux can run on just about anything (and will be put on my main rig, specs in sig).

    Ubuntu 10.04 out of the box is - well lets face it - not the most user friendly for the newcomer. Here's a couple of things I would like to change:

    1. So many passwords. Is it possible to disable prompting for passwords every time I want to install and update or leave the computer for 3 minutes and the such? I would like to never have to put in a password.

    2. Codecs. Ubuntu comes with barely any. Is there any codec pack that will cover just about everything?

    3. Applications - are there any other extra applications that will make life easier with ubuntu? (eg. I don't see VLC in there)

    4. Interface - I had a bit of a play with the Ubuntu Netbook Remix edition and I quite like it - any way to get this sort of interface on the standard edition?

    5. Documentation - is there some sort of downloadable user guide for completely new users?

    To make life easier for myself, I'm going to use some sort of imaging application to clone hard drives so I can setup multiple computers very easily. I have Acronis True Image 11 which should be able to recognise linux partitions. What are the complications with this in regards to hardware compatability?

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. kronikabis

    kronikabis Member

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    1. A lot of this stuff can be modified out of the box
    auto login - should be all you need.
    All the other stuff, I'd just leave alone, don't want kids playing around with administrator settings.
    2 & 3. either 'sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extra' and/or gstreamer frame work. Totem also automatically installs codecs as it needs as well (problem with this is refer to point 1)
    VLC - 'sudo apt-get install vlc' (might resolve codec problems above)

    4. unsure on this one, BUT I'm guessing it will be in the repositories somewhere.

    5. can't say I'm sure either. There is a wiki on the ubuntu website, tldp.org, a few other places. Most helpful i find is a. ubuntu wiki b. ubuntu forums c. google :p


    Anything that i have said sudo apt-get will be in the terminal. or you can go find it via the synaptic package manager.


    you can do the imaging as above. hardware is non event; as long as the hardware IS supported.
    I would look into doing the OEM install off the disk. much better than imaging, then you don't need to worry about changing host names or changing static settings and/or usernames, etc. Less hassle this way.

    Document the steps of everything you do, so that if you would like a similar install, and you don't know how to yourself, someone writing up a bash script could automate it for you. eg. a script to run, to install a more user friendly interface (netbook remix), vlc, any other programs, educational games all in one hit :) would make life easier.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  3. cleary

    cleary Mental in the Face

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    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  4. m1one

    m1one Member

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    Many

    Many distros to chose from .

    Puppy is only one of the lighter versions out there .

    Check Lucid Puppy Linux / also Damn Small Linux / ?? Linux Mint 9 = Dont know how small it is ? , If I remember there were many Puppy developers out there , and quite a few lite versions of linux .

    http://www.linux.org/dist/ = A good place to check out linux
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    Thanks for the info, been a great help already. I figured out this keyring thing and got rid of passwords. I'm not worried about kids running a muck, because they will be for older teens and parents. Security is not a concern.

    Glad to hear that cloning the OS is a breeze :) I think i'll just have a play and set it up as best I can, and just create an image. Will save me a lot of time! :thumbup:

    So puppy linux isn't the best light distro out there? Remember I would like it to run decently on my K6-2. I do have quite a few problems with networking and it does seem a bit outdated, but it is nippy. I'll have a look at some of the alternatives, I heard Slax was decent?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  6. cleary

    cleary Mental in the Face

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    Ah my bad, puppy actually does use 2.6, it's DSL I was thinking of.

    If it's going to be internet connected, security *should* be a concern.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  7. OP
    OP
    Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    I can assure you, security is not a concern. From my understanding, linux is rather virus proof anyway.

    There's a new puppy linux out - 5.0.1. I'll give this a whirl later on today and see how it goes.
     
  8. CD

    CD Member

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    do you need parts?
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    At the moment, I have loads of hardware to play with. No shortage of parts I can assure you :p
     
  10. ford ftw

    ford ftw Member

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    So why do you have spare pc's much more powerful than your main rig?
     
  11. Oblong Cheese

    Oblong Cheese Member

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    They're probably not his. Or, he doesn't care about his main rig.

    I think it's kind of quaint he is still using a K6-2, but the fact is that some people just don't see the point in buying new hardware, despite the fact that a small Atom system would use a shitload less power and be a shitload more powerful. :p
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    I don't know :lol:

    I just like using the oldest hardware I have available to me. That way I can sell the newer stuff (who the hell want to buy a K6-2 these days? lol)
     
  13. the-enigma

    the-enigma Member

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    It's proof against most self-replicating worms. It's not proof against people running things they shouldn't.

    I'd suggest mounting /home, /tmp and any removable media as noexec. Should make things a bit better.
     
  14. Menthu_Rae

    Menthu_Rae Member

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  15. 303-Acid

    303-Acid Member

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  16. OP
    OP
    Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    I'd rather not, because some of them wont be for kids, just parents or whatever. I'll keep it simple and stick to Ubuntu. I'm quite enjoying it so far however, it's really growing on me :thumbup: :D. Feels quite polished compared to some previous releases.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    An update - i've got everything setup on one PC, everything is working fabulously. I've already become quite fond of this version of Ubuntu :). I only have one problem now - cloning the drive. It is a 160gb drive with an Ext4 partition, with your standard linux swap. Only about 10gb or so is used. I would like to put it onto an 80gb drive, except acronis doesn't allow downscaling of linux partitions unlike NTFS.

    Any ideas on the easiest way to get this done?
     
  18. cleary

    cleary Mental in the Face

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    Resize the partition on the source disk - gparted should be able to do it (not sure on level/reliability of ext4 support though)...
     
  19. OP
    OP
    Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    Thanks mate, this worked a treat :D :thumbup: I shrunk the partition to 8gb from 149gb. I then backed up this small partition at sector level as an image, and then restored it later on onto a new 80gb drive. I then fired up gparted and resized the partition so that it would use the remaining 72gb (instead of keeping it as an 8GB partition).

    Ubuntu is great! Looking forward to some feedback from people I distribute these to.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Smokin Whale

    Smokin Whale Member

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    OK, new problem - I can't clone puppy. I do exactly what I do with ubuntu (shrink using gparted then sector to sector clone) and that goes well, but when starting up it gives me a "Grub Geom Error". Any ideas? The original disk works fine after shrink. Ext3 format. Could I repair grub somehow? I'm kinda stumped.

    Edit: Using Puppy 5.01 btw :)
     

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