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(?) internet cafe

From gianni palermo

Answered By Heather Stern, Huibert Alblas

Dear sir,

please send me through email on how to setup an internet cafe in detail using red hat linux and windows nt cause I am planning to setup one. I got some tips from my friends but I want to consult a professional like you. hoping yuo'll send me the details. thank you sir...
Gianni Palermo

(!) [Heather] We've had this question asked of us a few times before. I even popped it into the "Help Wanted" section in Issue 61: http://linuxgazette.net/issue61/lg_mail61.html
...but nobody gave us any hints beyond what I had there. Maybe you can get away with very minimal services, like running all the stations from CD-based Linux distros. There are a bunch of them listed at LWN but some of them or more of a giant rescue disc than a usable system. You might try these:
Virtual Linux
...or only offering web access:
Public Web Browser mini-HOWTO
If you want to get more serious you'll need to look harder. Sadly Coffeenet was forced out of business by his landlord, so you can't get his codebase easily (besides, it would be a moderately ancient Linux by now). Since VA Linux is now going into the consultancy and software biz instead of hardware, maybe you can buy some of their E-mail Garden expertise.
Of course you wanted to know where to get started. So I'll give you a bunch of pointers, but for the rest you'll have to do your own homework. If you really want to you could start up an "Internet Coffee House HOWTO" and add it to the LDP. I'd sure enjoy pointing to it if it existed.
There are other important points beyond merely the technical setup to consider but I'll have to assume you're making business plans and selecting a good location on your own.
Here's what seem to be the most helpful HOWTOs right now for the topic. Most of them are also available at the Linux Documentation Project home page.
For being diskless, if you want to go that route:
Diskless HOWTO
Thinclient HOWTO
Network Boot HOWTO
Getting the connection going:
ISP Setup RedHat HOWTO
Domain mini-HOWTO
DSL HOWTO "prerelease version"
Protecting yourself from abuse:
The Bandwidth Limiting HOWTO
Security HOWTO
Advocacy HOWTO
Maybe some things that might make your stations more attractive:
XFree86 Touchscreen HOWTO
Printing HOWTO
Last, but certainly not least:
Coffee HOWTO :) http://www.linuxdoc.org/HOWTO/mini/Coffee.html
It's a lot to read, but I hope that helps!
(!) [Halb] Ok, I don't know if this is exactly what you mean, but try: http://www.dnalounge.com/backstage/src/kiosk/
Its description:
One of the things I want to do here at the DNA Lounge is have public kiosks that people can use for web browsing, IRC, AIM, and so on. When most people set up kiosks, they tend to try and lock them down so that you can only run a web browser, but that's a little too limiting, since I want people to be able to run other applications too (telnet, ssh, irc, and so on.) So really, I wanted to give access to a complete desktop system. But do so safely and reliably.
I decided to set them up as Linux systems running the GNOME desktop, preconfigured with all the common applications people might want to run. However, I needed to figure out a way to make the system robust enough that one user couldn't screw it up for another, on purpose or accidentally. The system would need to be locked down enough that it was easy to reset it to a working state.
So, I had the following goals:
  • When the machine boots up, it should automatically log itself in as "guest", and go to the desktop without requiring a login dialog.
  • It should be possible to pull the plug on the machine at any time without loss of data: at no time should fsck need to run.
  • Logging out or rebooting should reset the machine to a default state, clearing out any changes a previous user might have made.
  • Small form factor: I wanted flat screens, and I wanted them without spending a fortune.
Its not using WinNT, but looks like you don't need to...
Have fun:

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Published in issue 70 of Linux Gazette September 2001
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