Background: I'm looking to put a series of Ubuntu machines into retail locations, they're being used as dumb kiosks to show a series of slides onto large LCD panel TV screens. Once installed, they won't have a keyboard or mouse connected but will have a fixed IP on the local network. Everything is configured to auto-start, no automatic updates, no power saving etc - I think we're pretty-much good to go apart from one thing. I need the retail staff to be able to restart the boxes if a problem arises.
We have VNC running (now that we've turned off desktop enhancements!) so that we can remotely get into the machines if we need to, but that's not something we would allow the retail staff to do. The machines are going to be physically 'out of the way' (probably in the ceiling space) so the power button is not easily accessible!.
I'd like to have some means of allowing the retail staff to restart the Ubuntu machine, from the desktop of one of their Windows terminals. I don't really want to give them some kind of raw terminal access (the command line will frighten them!) and I don't want them to use VNC (as stated above). Ideally there would be an icon on the Windows desktop, they double-click it, reply to a simple 'are you sure?' prompt, and then the Ubuntu box is told to restart. The Windows side of that won't be a problem, we can write something using Delphi, Python & Qt4, whatever - it's the Ubuntu side of it I'm stuck with.
Out of sight/view, could I have a Windows program open a terminal across the network and tell Ubuntu to restart? Is this what SSH could be used for (I have never set that kind of thing up). The Windows programming side isn't really an issue, it's just that I'm a total Ubuntu noob and don't know where to start from the platform point of view.
The other thing we considered is also having the machine automatically restart itself at a set time each day (obviously out of store hours!). To me, that seems a bit unnecessary (though forcing a restart once a week/month might be worthwhile).
Any thoughts or suggestions? Being able to restart the box on demand across the network is my prime requirement.