iMac for public access computer?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Cams, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. Cams macrumors regular

    Nov 7, 2006
    Isle of Arran, UK
    i'm looking at installing a computer in my post office shop to provide internet access to the public in the UK. I have a business broadband connection on order and am permitted to provide this as a paid or free service.

    I'm comfortable both with Tiger/Leopard and XP, although am much more well versed in XP when it gets down to nuts and bolts.

    What I'm wondering is whether an iMac would really be an ideal solution. I have a new one at home and love it to bits, but I'm not sure how lock-downable it is, both in terms of physically locking it down to prevent theft and locking down the OS to prevent any sort of hackery. I heard recently about Windows Steadystate on the Security Now podcast and that sounds like a really nice solution. The machine is reset to the default each time it is rebooted.

    But I want a Mac...

    So, is this something that could work? Would using some sort of VM be a more secure solution, or can OS X Leopard be locked down tightly?

    I would most likely get one of the Rain Design iGo stands for chic and minimal space usage.

    Any comments?
  2. ColinEC macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2008
    To prevent theft, you can use the security slot in the back of the machine to attach a security lock.

    As for software, there is a program called "DeepFreeze" that you may be interested in:

    It'll take a "snapshot" of how your iMac, and when the machine is rebooted it will go back to the state the iMac was at the time the snapshot was taken.

    If you download something, install programs, make changes and reboot, everything you have done will be reset - just like it never happened.

    I believe you can also customize what gets reinstalled after the machine is wiped, so you can limit the iMac to only having programs such as Safari, FireFox, etc.

    Good luck :D
  3. Cams thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 7, 2006
    Isle of Arran, UK
    Wow, thank you Colin! That's the very thing! :)

    Now to figure out my router config and it's time to spend some money!
  4. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Leopard also has a guest account feature. Whenever the user "Guest" is logged out it purges all files from its home area.
    You can enable parental controls on the guest account, locking it down to only being able to use applications of your choosing, you can have your own whitelist of websites, or enable "adult content blocking". And "simple finder"
  5. Sorkvild macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2007
    In Leopard there exists a Guest account that you can modify pretty extensively, and when you select Log Out, the home folder is emptied and everything is set to defaults.

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