Setting up an Ubuntu Linux Open Meetings Kiosk (non-talking version)
This is a step-by-step guide to setting up your own Open Meetings Kiosk using Ubuntu Linux.
- Find an old Windows computer. Any old doorstop with a working disk drive, network port, and graphics card will do. In my case, I found a Dell Inspiron 5000 laptop with 512MB RAM, and a 500MHz processor.
- If you are using a Desktop machine, pop open the lid and clean off the dust using a can of compressed air.
- Get the latest Ubuntu install CD. (Remember that this old computer probably doesn't have a DVD drive, so you need to burn a CD, not a DVD.)
- Do a clean install, reformatting the hard drives. Be sure to enable automatic log-in to the default account.
- Allow it install all the updates. This may take a while.
- Download the Google Chrome browser from http://www.google.com/chrome, and do a default installation.
- Open Chrome from the Applications > Internet menu. When Chrome starts up, click the wrench on the right, and select Preferences. Set On startup: to Open the following pages then click Add... and enter this URL:
http://www.mytowngovernment.org/your zip code/silent?name=Kiosk+Name+Here
The name you give will appear in the town management interface. Use + for spaces.
- From the top menu bar, choose System > Preferences > Screensaver and uncheck both boxes (activate and lock), then choose Power Management and set it to put the display to sleep Never.
- From the top menu bar, choose System > Preferences > Startup Applications and turn off anything you will not need. Then choose Add and select File System then navigate to opt/google/chrome/chrome. Then go to end of the Command line and add -kiosk.
- From the Power Menu (upper right), select Restart.... When you see the BIOS setup screen, hit F2 or Del or whatever key gets you to the menu.
- Find the boot options, and see if you can get the computer to Power On automatically when power is applied, and wake up every day at midnight. This will ensure that the Kiosk boots up after a power outage. If there is an option to allow booting without a keyboard, select that as well. Exit and Save Changes.
- If you did everything right, then the Kiosk for your town will appear after the machine boots up. If you made a mistake, use Alt-F4 to exit the browser, and make whatever adjustments you need.
Note that the kiosk pages are resilient to network outages. They will cycle back to the list screen until internet access becomes available again.