Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am currently planning to replace Windows XP on 58 Intel machines that we have. I have been researching to do this, and before I set it in motion I would like to get some feedback on my plan.

In short:

  1. I want to use the guest feature so nothing can be changed or saved on the computer and that it always will reset back.
  2. We are a Google Apps for Education school, so I need to make sure that Chrome is the default browser and remove any office applications. So that the students don't confused about what to use.
  3. I need to clone the settings and deploy them to each machine and make sure the Ubuntu installation updates itself in the background, so that the machines are always up to date.

My plan is to:

  1. Enable guest session and if possible, rename it to student login or similar.
  2. Install Ubuntu on one machine, do the settings, install Chrome, remove Firefox and LibreOffice.
  3. Use Clonezilla to mass deploy the system to the rest of the machines. Enablesudo apt-get install unattended-upgrades so that the systems are always running the latest version.

How does that sound? All student data is stored in the cloud, so I don't need any local space and all the apps are also provided with Chrome.

share|improve this question
The disadvantage of using guest sessions might be (not sure here) that you cannot collect who used what computer when. If someone does something illegal on one of your computers that is something you might need to know. Disclaimer: I am just thinking aloud here. Might be wrong. – don.joey May 5 '14 at 13:05
Sounds very doable. You may want to look into installing pipelight in case the students need to visit sites that require the Silverlight plugin. See here. – Jos May 5 '14 at 13:06
1. + 2. no problem. 2: don't forget to delete thunderbird ;-) 3. have a look at puppet and puppetmaster. It is a tool to manage systems remotely (it can be used to do all the updates and deploy them). BUT this is not really a question... it is more getting confirmation on a method ;) – Rinzwind May 5 '14 at 13:10
I have thought about the security issue, with this setup. But what can student realistically do with no real access to the system and no ability to install/modify programs. All they have available is purely web-based. – user278199 May 5 '14 at 13:12
Ah, security. It's like an onion. It has layers and it makes you cry. You'd be surprised what a smart kid with internet access can do. An old saying comes to mind "If you think things can't get worse it's probably only because you lack sufficient imagination"-no offense meant. Anyway you may be(partially)right about the threat on your systems from local threats, but what about the users on your systems utilizing it as a springboard? I'd consider some form of user access management in order to log a trail of who did what from where. A smart hacker can cover his/her track but at least you tried. – hmayag May 5 '14 at 13:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.