Linux for kids

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computing: computing for kids + Linux : Linux for kids


Linux offers a lot more fine-tuned control of how computers are set up, including who is allowed access and what they are allowed access to. There is even a particular distribution of Ubuntu aimed at kids – Edubuntu – but it is designed more for group-educational contexts than for home use. (For example, it assigns fixed IP addresses by default rather than using DHCP.)

Handy remote-control commands:

  • sudo shutdown now
    • forces the computer to shutdown immediately, terminating all activity (especially useful at bedtime)
  • telinit 3 ; telinit 5
    • not sure of the details, but this should end the current GUI session without shutting down (n.b. phealy says telinit 5 won't work on Ubuntu, so just telinit 3 should suffice)
  • ps -u username
    • shows what processes the user is currently running; you can kill any inappropriate games
  • last
  • lastlog shows a list of everyone who has ever logged in, the date/time of when they last did so, and for how long they were logged in.

To be able to view what kids are seeing remotely (incomplete instructions):

  • on the kid's machine:
    • edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
      • inside Section "Module", add Load "vnc"
      • inside Section "Screen", add Option "PasswordFile" "/root/.vnc/passwd"
      • save the changes
    • as root, run vncpasswd
  • not sure what happens next; does something need restarting? Presumably you also need to run a VNC client on your machine, and that will need parameters...

Wanted Information

A very useful thing which I'm pretty sure Linux has built-in capability to do but which I'm not sure how to invoke is: setting up certain log-ins to only be allowed during certain hours of the day.