November 17th, 2011

Customizing the Kiosk OS.

I receve a decent amount of interest about the kiosk spin, but I have never formalized it as a fedora spin.  The reason for this is almost everyone who looks at it, likes the idea but they need to customize it, in one way or another.  

My vision of the Kiosk Operating system was that it was readonly and periodically an admin would recut/rebuild a newer version and then redestribute it to his machines.  It is fairly easy to build your own image.  Just download the kiosk kickstart file (kiosk.ks), make some customization and rebuild your ISO file using the livecd-tools.  The last step would be to install it to your favorite medium, USB Sticks or DVD. 

I recently received an email that requested:

"I have downloaded kiosk just this afternoon and tried on my laptop: as I have been requested for such a spin in our city library for eight computers, how can I build a spin with language/keyboard set as Italian??? (the standard procedure to change settings/Logout/login seems not to be working..) "

Here is how I would go about building the Italian version of the Kiosk Operating System.

On the currently released version of Fedora.  As I write this blog, we are at Fedora 16.  Login as root and and follow this procedure.

You are going to build the Kiosk Operating System using the spin-kickstarts, so we need to install the sortware.

# yum install spin-kickstarts livecd-tools
# cd /usr/share/spin-kickstarts

Make sure you have the latest kiosk.ks file from my people page.

# rm -f kiosk.ks*
# wget

Change the default language within the kickstart file.   You can use your favorite editor to do this, and modify "lang" line.  I will just use a sed command.

# sed -i 's/en_US.UTF8/it_IT.UTF-8/g' kiosk.ks

Now you can build a new kiosk image.  Replacing the name of the livecd with your own content.

# livecd-creator -t MYLIBRARY -f MYLIBRARY -c kiosk.ks --cache=/var/cache/kiosk

Now go get a cup of coffee since this will take a long while, maybe a half hour. 
When it finishes, you will have an ISO image named MYLIBRARY.iso.  You need to install the iso ont a dvd or to a usb stick using livecd-iso-to-disk.

# livecd-iso-to-disk --totaltimeout 1  ./MYLIBRARY.iso /dev/sdb1

Remove your USB stick and attempt a boot a machine using it.

Of course if you want to add some less then free packages to your kiosk operating system, you would edit the kickstart file and add your alternative repositories.

For additional information on building livecd please use:

And on using kickstart files.