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Author Topic: TC-based browser kiosk running in a VM  (Read 765 times)

Offline jamtat

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TC-based browser kiosk running in a VM
« on: December 24, 2016, 12:13:58 PM »
TC seems like the right distro for this project. The aim is to set up an OS--one that runs only enough graphical environment to support a browser--that will operate inside in a virtual machine (I use qemu). It will be for purposes of running a secure browser, one without any persistent data--a fresh copy of the browser being started, effectively, each time the VM runs. Probably best that it run in RAM, like a live CD. So, fire up the VM with a non-persistent TC image/iso, it auto starts X (probably Xvesa would be best, if that's still around) and the browser (I lean toward Chromium). Shut down the browser and X exits too, respawning itself and the browser. Since it's a live image, no worries about disk corruption by unceremoniously killing the VM. A nice enhancement would be the ability to easily swap out the browser when new browser revisions are released.

There are a few projects like this already out there on the 'net--one that even used TC (see http://www.canbike.org/off-topic/linux/mini-can-bike-1-0-kiosk-edition.html ; also http://justbrowsing.info and http://www.browserlinux.com/ for non-TC variants). I found an older TC forum post where someone was aiming to do something somewhat similar: http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php?topic=12018.0, though not oriented specifically at running a browser. None of those projects are very current, which is why I'm looking at taking a fresh approach to doing something like this.

This looks like about the best set of directions I've found for a project like the one I'm envisioning: http://fabianstumpf.de/articles/tinycore_images.htm . Anyone have other suggestions? Can anyone point out some project like this that is current and that I've somehow overlooked? Wouldn't it be best to start out with microcore, adding X/Xvesa and browser? I believe networking utilities are already built into microcore, if memory serves. Thanks.

Offline Rich

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Re: TC-based browser kiosk running in a VM
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2016, 12:36:30 PM »
Hi jamtat
Have you tried going to:
http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php?action=search
with  Search for:  set to  kiosk  and  Search order:  set to  Most recent topics first ?

Offline jamtat

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Re: TC-based browser kiosk running in a VM
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2016, 01:26:49 PM »
Hi Rich. Thanks for your reply. No, I did not try what you've suggested, but I've done that just now. There seems to be relevant information scattered throughout some of those posts, but the links I provided in my post seem to me more on-target for the project I'm discussing. Did you have in mind a particualr thread from among those results?

I may have introduced a bit of a red herrring in using the term "kiosk": maybe I should have said something along the lines of kiosk-like. You see, I am not really aiming to create a kiosk (in the sense of a dedicated device). Rather, I want this TC-plus-browser system to run pretty much as though it were a program on a desktop computer. Of course it will be slower due to its use of a VM, but otherwise it should look as much as possible just like a desktop application window. It is kiosk-like only in the sense that it runs in RAM, is non-persistent, and always boots into the same graphical view.

Perhaps I'll need to do some revision to my OP in order to make the aims clearer.

Offline Rich

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Re: TC-based browser kiosk running in a VM
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2016, 07:05:20 PM »
Hi jamtat
Quote
Did you have in mind a particualr thread from among those results?
Quote
I may have introduced a bit of a red herrring in using the term "kiosk": maybe I should have said something along the lines of kiosk-like.
No, no thread in particular. I just remembered over the years various forum members using the term kiosk when trying to
lock down a system so users could not make changes to it.

Offline curaga

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Re: TC-based browser kiosk running in a VM
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2016, 07:28:10 AM »
Yeah, hard to find an exact tutorial, since everyone's needs are different. The book's "including extensions in an ISO" chapter would be a good starting point, since you want an ISO.

The scripted parts and browser config would go under initrd remastering topics.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline cast-fish

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Re: TC-based browser kiosk running in a VM
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2016, 10:55:51 PM »
Hello there to you,

It may already exist  "Kweb Kiosk browser" for Rasberry pi computer. Those computers are  5 dollars.

It is a from BOOT into web desktop affair. The OS is "Raspbian" and your specs you mentioned you require is what that is.

Your wanting, essentially a secure "fire and forget" OS browser "wrapped up"
sort of like a Chromebook computer......it's OS is a browser by google corp
called "Chrome OS" based on Chrome web browser.


SOrry but it's a black dark hole for me as regards anything about
"secure" and Security protocols and layers, transports, mirrors and the
"autonomy" that you seek for with you new "browser OS"

It sounds like you want the idea to simply appear ......at existing Live
computing terminals Gui desktops........as a nomadic & completely autonomous.....  "Sitting there".

You could do it using usb  pen drives where you "Os browser" sits on it.

Otherwise there are web portals offering boots of TCL and such inside VM's
like Mike Levins idea.

thx

Vin
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 11:02:03 PM by cast-fish »

Offline redetho

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Re: TC-based browser kiosk running in a VM
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 11:36:55 AM »
Hi jamtat,
I had similar requirements. You might want to have a look at my notes how I did that
 http://web222.webclient5.de/doc/tcbrowservm

I was new to TC and Linux hence it is a bit verbose