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Forgive me if I haven't done quite as much digging trying to solve this on my own as I could have: I'm currently in Zambia, and my internet access is unpredictible and slow when it's working.

I'm working with a small school, trying to set up some hardware and a basic IT policy that will let their non-power-user staff keep their machines working efficiently for as long as possible. I am not a sys-admin. I use osX in most of my own computing, but I'm comfortable with the shell and kind of know what I'm doing.

The computers are laptops, which will be available for checkout by both students and faculty.

Basically, I want to have two user accounts, 'student' and 'teacher'. I want both of these accounts to have the following restrictions:

  • no write access outside of ~/
  • no modification of system preferences
  • no modification of menus or appearance of the desktop
  • no adding or removing packages

and possibly:

  • no way of running downloaded / new executables?
  • anything else you smart people can think of that would make this a more painless experience?

I want users to be able to save files, but I want a fairly painless way for saved data to be regularly wiped. I'm not sure if it would be easier to have somebody use a clonezilla thumbdrive to restore the computers, or if it would be easier to just have someone log in to the admin account and delete / recreate the user accounts? Could I achieve this last task with a shell script and cron?

thanks for your time, and I apologize if I'm overdoing the shotgun approach.

share|improve this question
possible duplicate of How to configure Ubuntu for public kiosk use? – bodhi.zazen Mar 28 '13 at 16:15
@bodhi.zazen This question is asking for something considerably less locked down than what would apply in most "kiosk" situations, especially in the answer there which is about making an Ubuntu web browsing kiosk appliance. This doesn't seem like it's really a duplicate of that question. – Eliah Kagan Mar 28 '13 at 23:42
A kiosk is not what I'm looking for. I want the user to be able to save files, for instance. The linked question isn't answered particularly completely either. – cmyr Apr 2 '13 at 6:37

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