Public Linux Computer Setup

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This provides guidelines on setting up the public access internet computers in the hall


  • Minimum 64bit processor, 20G hard disk and 1.5GB Memory
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • 19" monitor, if available, otherwise 17"
  • Speakers including power supply


  • Check the bios currency, it may be worthwhile to upgrade at this point
  • Set to default (safe) settings
  • Check that bios does not refer to PXE ROM
  • Turn off Wake on LAN, may need to reset Intel ME to do so
  • Set boot order to CD Rom, then Hard Disk

Operating System and Applications

  1. In Bios
    1. Set to optimum (high performance)
    2. Check system clock is set to UTC correctly
  2. Default install of Ubuntu Desktop 64 bit - current long term release (18.04 LTS is Bionic). If installation is slow use the Alternate Install Disk. Hint: Press 'Esc' when the Ubuntu-Keyboard icon is seen to select install directly from boot. Hint:Use latest LTS minor release to reduce amount of updates (e.g. 18.04.1). Hint: Takes about 16 minutes on a Passmark 1110 machine.
    1. Install using English language
    2. Region is Australia: Time Zone:Australia (Adelaide)
    3. Keyboard layout: USA
    4. Erase and install using Entire disk
      1. Use ubuntu LVM
    5. Create a user name "bpuc", as default logon but using admin password, set to Log in automatically. Give a unique name to the computer.
  3. In Bios:
    1. Revert boot order to Hard Disk only after install
  4. Make sure system is set to auto-login without password (System Settings->System->User Accounts) to auto login as bpuc without allowing an alternative) (where is this in 18.04?)
  5. So as not to lock out a user on an idle machine after the screen saver kicks in, go to System Settings->Privacy->Screen Lock and then turn off "Automatic Screen lock"
  6. Use restricted drivers if hardware requires it (e.g. video card) (System Settings->System->Software & Updates>Additional Drivers)
  7. Make sure sound is not muted (in system bar, top right)
  8. Set package source to use local ISP mirror if available. (System Settings->System->Software * Updates->Software Sources) (Don't forget to unselect the Ubuntu software repositories on the first panel of Software Sources if using the "Other Software" tab for Ubuntu software). For Internode just select it as the mirror on the first panel.
    1. Set package source options to automatically install security updates without confirmation
    2. Under other package source options add the partner repository
  9. Update Checker
    1. Check
    2. Install Updates
    3. Restart
  10. Ubuntu Software Centre
    1. Add all Educational desktop for Ubuntu (edubuntu-desktop) which installs ubuntu-edu-* meta-packages (preschool, primary, secondary, tertiary)
    2. If not already present add Tux Paint (tuxpaint)
    3. If not already present add LibreOffice Calc, Impress and Writer.
    4. Test Adobe Flash Player (test page at Use package manager to add Adobe Flash plugin (flashplugin-installer) if required for Flash
    5. Shockwave is not easily supported under Ubuntu
    6. System Profiler and Benchmark (hardinfo) - to display system information
    7. Scratch is available as long as backports is selected as a software source (scratch)
    8. For Silverlight support install Pipelight. Example web page [ Aizu-Wakamatsu railway station webcam] and is a better alternative to gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad, gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly and gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg.
    9. Use the package manager to add rcs for revision control of system configuration files
    10. Add exfat support by sudo apt-get install exfat-fuse exfat-utils
    11. Install and then reboot the machine.
  11. Java
    1. Need to check this, maybe in edubuntu-desktop
    2. Install OpenJDK Java 7 Runtime (openjdk-7-jre)
    3. As a check on older builds, after installation, set to default java; sudo update-alternatives --config java (If there is more than one version of Java installed, otherwise you will see There is only one alternative in link group java: /usr/lib/jvm/java-7-sun/jre/bin/java</br>Nothing to configure.
  12. Other Manual Software Install
    1. Chrome by Google: Install via
  13. Uninstall any bit-torrent clients, e.g. Transmission (transmission-gtk)
  14. Set Firefox home page to
  15. Add the network printer (check 12.04)
    1. The printer will be found as a network printer, use the first (non-PCL) option.
    2. Set the printer configuration -> printout options to "normal-grayscale" not "normal" which is colour. (Colour is not available without authentication)
  16. Drag the following applications onto the system bar if not already there
    1. TuxPaint
    2. Chrome
  17. Check video card resolution (system Settings->Devices->Screen Displays) is set to something suitable (1280x1024 for 5:4 monitor and 70Hz or greater if possible) for the monitor used.
  18. Check and adjust the volume of sound.
  19. Copy in the home directory from the old computer it replaces (e.g. cd $HOME ; tar --create --file savehome.tar --exclude examples.desktop ./*)
  20. Record the computer in List of old computers.

Restrict logons on Sunday

In January 2013 and September 2014, to prevent use of the machine from 1100-1145 Sunday by either autologin or the guest account take the following steps

  1. Add the following line immediately after the @include common-acount line to /etc/pam.d/lightdm-autologin
    account    requisite
  2. Add the following line to /etc/security/time.conf
  3. Check your work
    fgrep 'account' /etc/pam.d/lightdm-autologin
    fgrep 'lightdm-autologin;*;bpuc|guest*;!Su1100-1140' /etc/security/time.conf

If the system logs in despite these changes or something else unexpected happens, look for clues in /var/log/auth.log

To restore normal operation comment out the new line in /etc/security/time.conf and shutdown the computer.

Monitor resolution not recognised

The monitors are old, the computers are old and sometimes the resolution will not be advertised correctly by the monitor or recognised by the video display adaptor. To fix this system wide and allowing for the autologin, the preferred method is to create a custom xorg.conf

  1. Create an initial conf in /etc/X11/xorg.conf as
Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Configured Video Device"

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Configured Monitor"

Section "Screen"
        Identifier      "Default Screen"
        Monitor         "Configured Monitor"
        Device          "Configured Video Device"
  1. Using cvt to generate the mode line, e.g for 1280x1024 at 60Hz
$cvt 1280 1024 60
# 1280x1024 59.89 Hz (CVT 1.31M4) hsync: 63.67 kHz; pclk: 109.00 MHz
Modeline "1280x1024_60.00"  109.00  1280 1368 1496 1712  1024 1027 1034 1063 -hsync +vsync
  1. Add a mode line in the monitor section
    	Modeline        "1280x1024_60.00"  108.88  1280 1360 1496 1712  1024 1027 1034 1063  -HSync +Vsync
  	Option          "PreferredMode" "1280x1024_60.00"
  1. Restart the system