KDE at the 2005 Ohio Linux Fest

With over 700 attendees and a speaking track packed full of goodies, the one-day Ohio Linux Fest held this past Saturday in the city of Columbus was an unqualified success. KDE had a booth at the event which was kept exceedingly busy the entire day. Most of the people who visited the booth mentioned that they use KDE and several asked that we pass on their appreciation to the entire KDE team for all the work that they have put into it over the years.

KDE booth staff from left to right: Ryan Nickel, Jaison Lee and Steve Miller

The booth itself was manned by SuperKaramba hacker Ryan Nickel, KJots hacker Jaison Lee, KDE user extraordinaire Steve Miller and Aaron Seigo. Laptops showcased both KDE 3.4 and the upcoming 3.5 for the unending stream of booth visitors who kept the KDE team on their toes throughout the day. The enthusiasm and excitement was palpable behind the table and those that visited fed off that energy.

KDE highlights of the show included Aaron's talk "KDE: Every Day Use and Hidden Gems" which packed the conference room with upwards of 350 people, a guest spot featuring Kubuntu in Jorge Castro's talk on Ubuntu and the numerous fans and fans-to-be that came by the KDE booth with questions and comments galore.

SuperKaramba, the Kiosk desktop management framework, KStars, amaroK and many of the usual suspects such as Konqueror's amazing array of capabilities were hits with booth visitors. Among the visitors was a system administrator with the NOAA who is overseeing the roll out of KDE desktops in their Columbus office, a class from DeVry who were researching KDE as well as a pair of people from the local university and library who maintain KDE systems for the staffers there.

To top it off, the after-party was a blast and everyone seemed to have a great time at the DJ'd event. You can read more about the LinuxFest at Aaron's and Ryan's blogs as well as on the Ohio LinuxFest website itself. We look forward to next year's Ohio LinuxFest and talking with even more people at the KDE booth in 2006!

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by p0z3r (not verified)

I don't know who is maintaining the Kiosk code for KDE, but I had a few people asking me about how they could lock down terminals. I pointed them to kiosk of course, but maybe we should push it more or make it more well known?

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

yes, we certainly need to promo kiosk more as it's extremely important to people doing larger roll outs. i've actually been talking with novell and they have started the process of getting till adams and myself involved with the engineering process for the next version of their zenworks product to support kiosk, which is excellent news of course.

for kde4, i'd actually like to see kiosk renamed to something that is more easily and obviously connected to desktop configuration management, definition and lockdown.

it's a terrific tool (which isn't to say it couldn't be improved and extended to be even better), we just need to tell (more of) the world about it!

by Evan "JabberWok... (not verified)

How about Lock Down? ;)

Seriously, if it were integrated into the Control Center or otherwise placed so people tripped across it, parents could also use it for their kids.

For administrators, there's room for a list of existing features in the press release for each KDE release -- the capabilities of kiosk should be listed. I don't mean the "Highlights at a glance" section; that lists the new features. I mean an "About KDE" type section.

Didn't there used to be two press releases with each release? A "New Release" and "About KDE" one? I don't seem to see but one for the 3.4 release.

by ben (not verified)

how about "konfine", "konstrict" or "restriKt(or)"?

Could someone please start a poll whether people like the K in kde-names?

by Thomas Zander (not verified)

I don't need a poll to figure out people do not like unimaginative names starting with a K. Just read slashdot to drive that point very painfully home.

Oh, the painful part might be because its slashdot, but you still get the picture :)

by madpenguin8 (not verified)

Yeah, I always go to slashdot for all my advice.

by Segedunum (not verified)

"i've actually been talking with novell and they have started the process of getting till adams and myself involved with the engineering process for the next version of their zenworks product to support kiosk, which is excellent news of course."

That's quite interesting. For Novell's desktop Linux roll-out I would assume something like that would be pretty essential for Zenworks to actually be useful. Also, tell Novell and others about Klik. Perhaps talk to them about supporting Klik (well done Kurt) in Zenworks (Klik installation of Zenworks?) as well and looking at what further work needs to be done. I believe that software installation really does need to be coupled with something like Klik or Autopackage, and I cannot for the life of me understand why the vast majority of distros aren't interested. Yes, they want people to make specific packages for their distro, but it isn't helping anyone or themselves.

"for kde4, i'd actually like to see kiosk renamed to something that is more easily and obviously connected to desktop configuration management, definition and lockdown."

Group Policy?! *Ducks* Don't know, but something that identifies it as a way to manage KDE desktops.

"it's a terrific tool (which isn't to say it couldn't be improved and extended to be even better), we just need to tell (more of) the world about it!"

It certainly is. However, what it needs is some good graphical tools that are integrated properly into KDE - something integrated properly in the new KDE 4 Control Centre perhaps with management tools in one place. I use Group Policy and AD with Windows all the time unfortunately, and many people harp on about how great they all are, but usability-wise for an administrator the management tools are a real pain. There's a lot of different graphical tools spread in different places and they're obviously all produced by different people.

Also, it's really clear how a networked infrastructure like Kiosk is so related to things like LDAP, distributed authentication etc. and all the other things, unfortunately, people are using Active Directory for with Windows today. If desktops like KDE can be supported by that back-end server infrastructure (which open source software has proven itself to be good at) then the outlook for open source desktop will be much brighter. Get rid of Exchange for Kolab and replace AD with LDAP and a KDE Kiosk framework - eliminate the infrastructure that keeps people locked in. Use that excellent open source, server-based infrastructure, build the management infrastructure around it with KDE and you've got everything you need to support an open source desktop. Rinse, repeat, profit, world domination!

by David (not verified)

Best comment I've read for a long time!

by jeff (not verified)

see my article for necessary theirs evolution kiosk admin tools for kde 4.


Nous venons de voir toutes les possibilités de Kiosk Admin Tools, maintenant je vais vous parler de ce qu’il manque à ce logiciel pour, d’une part égaler les logiciels sous windows et d’autre part prendre en charge les spécificités de l’environnement linux.


Les disques amovibles

Aujourd’hui l’utilisation de clé usb ou de disque dur externe est monnaie courante. Il faut donc pouvoir l’autoriser ou pas suivant le contexte et l’utilisation. (période d’examen par exemple…)


Les imprimantes

Dans les structures actuelles ont utilisent beaucoup les imprimantes réseaux. Pouvoir fixer l’imprimante a utiliser par défaut, le quota d’impression, couleur ou noir et masquer les imprimantes des autres bâtiments me paraît indispensable.


Les lecteurs réseaux

De plus en plus on utilise des architectures répartis sur plusieurs machines. Par exemple beaucoup de CDI utilisent SLCD. Il faudrait pouvoir forcer le montage d’un lecteur sur une lettre précise dans un profil donné.


Les options 3D et les widgets (KDE4)

L’apparition de compiz fusion, des widgets dans opera etc… sont autans de gadgets peut utile à la transmission du savoir, parfois même déroutant pour l’enseignant qu’il est nécessaire de pouvoir contrôler finement.


Les réglages sons

Les postes acheté à ugap le plus souvent sont des nec powermate qui possède un écran avec des haut parleurs. C’est très pratique pour certain cours mais un calvaire pour d’autre. La possibilité de pouvoir les verrouiller sur certain profil devient nécessaire…


Les règles de navigation (contrôle parental)

Le plus souvent les établissement sont maintenant équipés de pare-feu avec squid permettant de filtrer l’internet. Il n’en va de même pour les écoles ! Et même si l’on regarde scribeNG l’apparition d’une surcharge de filtrage est apparu sur une demande des administrateurs. Mandriva 2008.1 en est équipé, reste à le géré globalement et pas poste par poste.


L’interaction avec le pare-feu Nufw de INL

Le fait que les utilisateurs changent régulièrement de poste impose de gérer les interdictions par rapport à un identifiant et pas une adresse IP. C’est la problématique à laquelle Nufw répond.


Les réseaux sans fil (wifi et bluetooth)

De plus en plus d’établissements s’équipe du wifi ainsi que de périphérique communiquant par le biais du bluetooth. Il n’est pas possible de laisser la configuration aux utilisateurs. Il faut donc une configuration pré-définie et figé.


Cacher l’accès à certains répertoires

Même si l’accès aux répertoires est bien verrouillé sous linux, le fait dans un avoir une grande liste peut perturber voir donner une impression de complexité pour l’utilisateur. Il faut donc pouvoir cacher des répertoires tel que : etc, root, usr, opt etc…


Forcer des configurations systèmes (maj, snapshots, synchronisation, sauvegarde etc…)

Les utilisateurs ne sont pas sensés devoir accomplir des tâches tel que la mise à jour de l’OS ou procéder à la synchronisation d’un répertoire local vers le serveur. Il est donc important qu’un système de sécurisation des postes soit en mesure de fixer la règle en la matière et forcer son respect.

Il est donc assez claire que dans ce domaine prépondérant, linux est incapable de rivaliser avec windows. Pourtant des développements avancés existent sous linux. Une solution d’avenir a été développé par novatice pour sa solution edutice. En quelques mots, cette solution permet de fixer un répertoire (le home) qui reste tel que l’utilisateur la laissé à la fin de sa session. Pour le reste le profil enregistré par l’administrateur est remis en place à chaque connexion (couleur, fonds d’écran, position des icônes sur le bureau etc…).

L’avenir dans consistera à faire évoluer Kiosk admin tool sur KDE4 en y ajoutant en autres les 10 points cités ci dessus et le couplé à la solution utilisée dans edutice.

Pourquoi ?

Parce que ce qui est imparfait est le fait qu’aujourd’hui on attribut un profil aux différents groupes de poste (référencé dans esu par « machines » et par « sous-parc » dans iaca).

Quelle est la solution ?

Avoir au moment de l’authentification, en plus des champs « identifiant, mot de passe et domaine » un champs « profil ». Dans ce champs le professeur demandera aux élèves de choisir le plus adapté à son cours (mathématiques, langues, documentations etc…) ce qui aura pour effet d’ouvrir une session avec un profil tel qu’il a été enregistré par le coordinateur matière ou l’enseignant et d’y ajouter une surcharge de Kiosk admin tools définie par l’administrateur en concertation avec les différents protagonistes.

by Segedunum (not verified)

"The enthusiasm and excitement was palpable behind the table and those that visited fed off that energy."

I'll have to remember that one.

by Bernd (not verified)


Yesterday Abiword 2.4 was released. It even supports one-the fly grammar check. I do not think KOffice Writer will beat Abiword or OpenOffice.

by Corbin (not verified)

Since when has there been a "Gnome Office"? I thought there was just a bunch of office applications that used GTK that had nothing to do with each other?

Did Abiword make their own grammar checking engine, or did they use a separate library for it? If it is a third party library then KWord could easy add support for it. Also does it work at all well, or is the engine so simple that if the sentence isn't in an incredibly simple structure it will be considered incorrect?

IMHO Grammar check is an important feature (since my grammar sucks), but most checkers are even stupider than me. Also I don't think 1 feature makes Abiword better than KWord.

by Morty (not verified)

Not only are most grammar checkers stupid, they are usually not usable or extendable to other languages. How good is the i10n of this checker, is it possible to make usable for other languages?

by punisher (not verified)

Especially that there is no app like "KOffice Writer" in this universe. Looks like you're living in parallel one :P

by Jason Keirstead (not verified)

Yes, and according to that page it also just now added support for sometihng all KOffice apps have had for years (the aility to embed other application's charts and data).

Both KOffice and GNOME-Office have their strong and weak points. KWords import and export for MS Office files is extremely lacking. And they also are lacking a grammar checker. BUt they are way ahead in the ability to embed other file formats, like SVG and spreadsheets and charts, into documents. They are also ahead when it comes to layout and presentation capabilities, mainly due to their framemaker-like approach to documents rather than the MS Word-like approach of abiword.

In conclusion, both have a way to go. And both are still playing catch-up with OpenOffice. But both are getting better all the time, and competition is always a good thing, especially with all collaberating on things like OASIS where appropriate.

by ac (not verified)

> ... especially with all collaberating on things like OASIS

Except that AbiWord will not switch to that format, unfortunately:


by bla (not verified)

Since it's a Gnome app it would probably require a total rewrite.

by Anonymous (not verified)


by Tony Freeman (not verified)

... I'm a National Weather Service Information Technology Officer out of the Louisville, Kentucky office. I was just telling Aaron that the NWS will be using KDE as the default desktop very soon ... no exceptions. I'm more of a GNOME guy, but after Aaron's presentation I decided that KDE may have a lot more to offer than I had previously realized. Anyway ... I'm looking forward to the switch over and would really appreciate a copy of your presentation.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

oops! it was your noaa email that confused me =)

still, great news about the NWS. i'll have audio and perhaps even video soon though and i'll be posting that when i get it. having just the slides wouldn't be of much use as they were, except for 2 of the slides, just icons =)

by Rick Montgomery (not verified)


I would love to have a copy of your presentation as well. We are a total MS shop on the cusp of transistion to Linux (SuSe). I have been showing the Board of Directors the possibilities and doing cost comparisons for them. Looking at OpenMFG and SugarCRM as replacement for our current ERP and CRM apps. Talking to Sun rep for site license for Star Office 8. While we can not shake Windows 100% since some of the propritary apps we use currently do not have a cross over; but we will seriously drop one heck of a hammer on the server and desktop usage.