Using Mac as Public Internet Terminal?

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Hi everyone,



I'm working on setting up an Internet café and I'm considering a fleet of iMac machines to do the job. How would I go about locking down Mac OS X for public access?



Once I've created a limited user account, what do I do?



I'd like the accounts to be able to access the Internet and some of the popular instant messaging networks (MSN, specifically). I'd also like to have available to them some kind of office suite (preferably free, open-source stuff).



Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    This is a fairly straightforward operation in the Accounts preferences pane.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. Me


    This is a fairly straightforward operation in the Accounts preferences pane.



    You mean, just through "Parental Controls"? That's all I see in the Accounts panel. Also, what client program should I install to allow them access to MSN Messenger?
  • Reply 3 of 11
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    You can install MSN Messenger.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. Me


    You can install MSN Messenger.



    I've searched for an official MSN Messenger client but have been unable to find one. I found Windows Messenger, but it requires that you configure an account right away upon installation, which is not what I want. I want anyone to be able to just walk up, click a button, and sign on without having to go through a wizard to set up the program.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,223moderator
    You can use either of the following:



    http://www.microsoft.com/australia/o...messenger.aspx

    http://amsn.sourceforge.net/



    The official Mac Messenger doesn't have as many features as the Windows version, which is why the second one might be better. The second is also universal.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by andrewhaji


    Hi everyone,



    I'm working on setting up an Internet café and I'm considering a fleet of iMac machines to do the job. How would I go about locking down Mac OS X for public access?



    Once I've created a limited user account, what do I do?



    I'd like the accounts to be able to access the Internet and some of the popular instant messaging networks (MSN, specifically). I'd also like to have available to them some kind of office suite (preferably free, open-source stuff).



    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!



    this program - webXkiosk http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/14904 will allow you to lock all other applications.



    Another option is to make a limited user account for each machine and allow only Safari, FireFox, and maybe Explorer to be launched. In addition put any messenger programs on the allowed list. Block access to all other applications and all system preferences.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    ksvksv Posts: 11member
    A Mac OS X Server -> Client setup would definitely be the easiest to set up, manage and maintain. You'll need a wired network, though. Just set up a single boot image on the server and a restricted account for public use. You could even set up accounts for individual users easily.



    Apple have been kind enough to post all of the Mac OS X Server documentation online:

    http://www.apple.com/server/documentation/



    See escpecially http://images.apple.com/server/pdfs/...t_TB_v10.4.pdf and http://images.apple.com/server/pdfs/...min_v10.4B.pdf
  • Reply 8 of 11
    Thanks for the tip, but a client/server setup wouldn't work for us. We need these machines to be completely self-sufficient, and we don't want to have to set up accounts for every user because there are more than 5,000 users that can potentially use the machines.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by andrewhaji


    Thanks for the tip, but a client/server setup wouldn't work for us. We need these machines to be completely self-sufficient, and we don't want to have to set up accounts for every user because there are more than 5,000 users that can potentially use the machines.



    Just make a guest login that is managed on each system. You'll also need at least one admin user on each machine.



    The guest login can have a password that you change daily or you could even set them up with no passwords.



    All you need to do is use the system preferences to block access all applications and settings with the only exceptions being the few programs you want accessible. Keep those apps in the dock and you're all set.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    It may be a lot easier to manage with a server. And to tell you the truth you can probably use a mini for the server, if the cost reason is what's blocking ou from considering it.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    meebo.com takes care of your instant messaging needs. Just put a link to it on the desktop. Also, as mentioned before, just create a guest account, and lock down all system preferences. Also, enable the firewall built in to OS X, as these machines will presumably be online 24/7.



    Zero maintenance! Try that with XP!
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