--- Alan Loughlin <loughlina(a)swalcliffepark.co.uk> wrote:
respond in a informative way. How does these comments
like this help
I disagree. As I said to you, for whichever distro you pick (see
below), you will most likely be given KDE or GNOME -- my advice to you
about locking files down is crude at best, but it is certainly an
option open to you. I know KDE offers a kiosk option - so that you can
specify certain applications that can be run, etc. When you said
"customisation" I took that to mean aesthetics. If this is not the
case, you'll have to clarify.
If you go with KDE for kiosk (and it perhaps would seem a stronger
candidate than GNOME, as GNOME is lacking in such a feature) then
everything is more or less ready to go. I have used it, and it is easy
Can you come up with more information as to the sorts of things you'd
want to restrict? Are you wanting users to only run certain
applications (again, a kiosk)? Or would you rather have some auditing
means as to the programs a user has been running? To an extent, you
can restrict users running binary programs from $HOME, by mounting
/home with "noexec" set as an option in /etc/fstab -- the
presupposition here is that /home is on its own partition -- a scheme
I'd recommend you employ.
You can probably also do some clever things with PAM (Pluggable
Authentication Module) to restrict users. I know that on Debian and
RedHat (Fedora) that you can set limits for things in
/etc/security/limits.conf - but this is usually for superficial
attributes of a running process.
This was my main question, im asking for distro
opinions based on
personal experience, I don't know what distro to choose, thats one
why im posting.
Ok, below is my own personal summary of distros, with their appropriate
merits. One thing I will say before I launch into that is that there
is no real difference between distros anymore. Not like there used to
be. The difference lies with the concept of package management. Also,
with work done by the FSH (File System Hierarchy) and LSB (Linux System
Base) - all distros that support them will follow agreed locations of
files, so this has made things easier. As you can probably guess, this
never used to be the case, and RedHat used to define a lot of this for
Distros tend to work from two primary package management file models.
One is the use of RPMs, and the other are .DEBs (although this is used
only on a specific distribution). RPMs (RedHat Package Manager) are
the oldest format, but the most widely used for distros such as "SuSE",
"Fedora" and "Mandriva" (I still call them Mandrake). Debian is a
special case in that it defined for itself its own format of file to
distribute packages under .
Why you'd use one distro over another depends on your situation. I've
already mentioned CensorNet, which you've tried. They all offer much
of a muchness, to be honest - SuSE for instance offers a nice frontend
called YaST (Yet Another Setup Tool) from which you can install new
packages, and configure parts of the system. SuSE is really good for a
novice as it gets things setup quickly from which one can learn from,
without fear of breaking much as YaST can usually out it right again.
I really can't remember which desktop environment it comes with as the
de facto, I have a feeling it is KDE, although doubtless someone can
correct me on this. SuSE also boasts a large collection of packaged
RPMs, and this is indeed true. Even SuSE 6.4 had a large set of
Fedora -- hmm, very much like SuSE. It uses the same package manager
but doesn't offer such a nice centralised system akin to SuSE's YaST
from what I know of it. So this might be a limitation in some
situations in using a text-editor. If it's something that's not
appealing, I'd probably avoid it. Fedora probably comes with GNOME
(GNOME is GNU's flagship desktop environment, after all), but as with
any distro, changing between desktop environments is generally a
trivial thing to do. The package manager, although using RPM, as a
front-end uses YUM which combines apt-get's dependency resolution
(taken from the Debian distro) with RPMs (some say this is the best of
both worlds, I disagree. :))
Mandrake/Mandriva -- only recently changed its name, it's very very
similar to RedHat 7, before RH turned into Fedora for its
community-lead distro. It offers DrakeX, which is sort of similar to
the idea of YaSt -- a centralised system to do other tasks, besides
package management. I did hear rumours of them looking to charge for
updates (a "nominal" fee, if you will) -- but I am assuming this fell
through. As with Fedoram and SuSE, it is RPM-based.
Slackware -- this has no package manager, the standard form of
distributed "packages" being as gzipped tarballs (.tgz files). This
distro is perhaps the oldest distro still going, and still maintained
by the same person. I'd avoid it, mind -- unless you know Linux inside
out, of course.
Debian -- my preferred distro, although I've tried many. It's a middle
ground between being newbie friendly, whilst allowing those more
experienced to get on with things. It has a different "user model"
than the other distros mentioned. For instance, debian doesn't install
with a "standard" desktop environment -- the choice is left upto the
user as to what he/she wants. That said, there are pre-arranged
"selections" of commmon packages suited to a specific environment (much
like YaST offers via 'profiles' at installation time). I would
probably not suggest this distro as one's first choice, even though I'm
tempted to (but biased).
There are others out there - a whole host of live-CD distros (these
tend to be 'based' on Debian) as well as other more established
distros that I just haven't covered here.
I appreciate that your response didn't just
include snidey comments,
will not accept people speaking to me in this way.
I'm sorry you read my reply as an attack upon yourself. Not my
intention, I assure you. I answer a lot of questions on different
lists -- I've found that the more specific you can be when asking a
question, the more precise answer you'll get.
-- Thomas Adam
 They're actually just ar(1) files with metadata encapsulating them.
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