Porteus Kiosk - central management made easy

New features which should be implemented in Porteus Kiosk Edition and the kiosk wizard.

Porteus Kiosk - central management made easy

Postby fanthom » 17 Aug 2014, 15:59

Some companies are interested in deploying Porteus Kiosk on a large number of PCs and are querying us if there is possibility of a remote and central administration of our operating system.

So far the only way of doing it was to enable ssh access in the kiosk wizard and performing each task individually on every kiosk PC. This method is not efficient: requires additional time, effort and can cause troubles for people not familiarized with linux command line.

We would like to change this and introduce a paid 'administration panel' application with user friendly interface (similar to our kiosk wizard) which would make management of multiple kiosk PCs far easier. Our plan is to sell a VDI images with modified version of kiosk preinstalled which would run administration panel upon start and let you perform all the management tasks through it.

Why VDI images?
- they can be used on every PC with VirtualBox/VMware installed no matter of operating system being used: Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris, etc.
- virtual session can be suspended/resumed within a seconds so administration panel can be active only for the time of doing management tasks
- no need to sacrifice a PC unit for running Linux designed just for the Porteus Kiosk administration
- persistence is needed to keep client database up to date

Why standalone application and not remote management done in the browser over http://porteus-kiosk.org website?
- privacy of our clients is the top priority so no single data should be transported through our servers
- central management unit is designed to work on the customer side, even with closed networks which are lacking internet access

What about the pricing for this application?
- no pricing list ready yet

Requirements:
- VirtualBox/Vmware or any other virtualization software which can run VDI images
- active network connection between management unit and kiosk clients
- ssh access enabled on the client side (all actions will be performed through the ssh protocol)

Here is the list of features planned for the administration panel (everything will be done remotely over the network):
- possibility of assigning kiosk to a groups for easier management
- starting the kiosks through the 'Wake On Lan' function
- remote kiosk reconfiguration (X11 forward function or vnc - need to find which works better): you will be able to put the kiosk in the 'administration mode', launch kiosk wizard, configure kiosk again and burn on selected device
- possibility of changing the firefox homepage temporarily without burning new kiosk iso (reboot will still bring defaults)
- restarting of firefox, Xorg, the PCs itself
- putting the PCs into the sleep/suspend/standby state
- shutting down the PCs
- displaying the log files (currently only /var/log/Xorg.0.log is present in kiosk but could be more, ie: syslog or iptables log to catch security events)
- monitoring CPU/RAM/swap/filesystem usage and hardware temperatures/health condition
- other features?

We understand that corporate environments are very often locked and restricted so thinking how to handle the server (kiosk management unit) and the client (kiosk PC) communication in the less problematic way. Probably some VPN or SSL tunneling will be required to avoid proxy/firewall issues. Need to investigate this further.

Please let us know if you would be interested in such application and what other functions could be added to the administration panel. You may use this forum thread or send your feedback directly to support@porteus-kiosk.org

Thank you.
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Re: Porteus Kiosk - central management made easy

Postby jbowers » 04 Sep 2014, 23:13

This is exactly the direction businesses are going. If they aren't already they will be going that way in the near future. Business applications and industrial applications are rapidly shifting toward web hosted interfaces.
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Re: Porteus Kiosk - central management made easy

Postby moakes » 29 Jan 2015, 00:49

We will be one of the first to sign up :Yahoo!:

It would be great to be able to:

Add packages remotely.
Control white/black lists.
Configure printer settings.
Control the machine via VNC. (HUGE in own environment)
Transfer files to kiosk.
Enable/disable ports.
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Re: Porteus Kiosk - central management made easy

Postby fanthom » 29 Jan 2015, 11:50

We will be one of the first to sign up :Yahoo!:
well - its actually too late ...
there was no interest in a 'central management' coming in this form (VDI image) so i have decided to handle it in a different way. more importantly -i have decided to make this feature available for free to everybody :)
it wont offer the same number of features as i have initially planned (and posted above) but it should be enough for 95% of companies/institutions using kiosk.

will try to post more details over this weekend on the kiosk news page.
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Re: Porteus Kiosk - central management made easy

Postby jet » 11 Feb 2015, 19:46

Hi!

Very interested about the new Kiosk version. Is there beta/RC available?

Kind regards,
Jan
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Re: Porteus Kiosk - central management made easy

Postby fanthom » 12 Feb 2015, 14:20

@Jan
still merging new features - please be patient.
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