I'm working in a small council. Here is some Ubuntu (with GNOME - no KDE) based workstations in our library. Using the computers is free now, before it was only /hour, what is not a high cost. I'm looking for a software, which can help me to manage the computers. How I mean:

  • Notice the user after X minutes, to give her/his place for another user (if there are someone) = A text notice after X minutes (it would be better, if it gives a small signal too with the hardware speaker).
  • Auto (& remote) shutdown of the workstations, (also disable them). [Auto power on is not required, because the users can push that power button, if they want to use the machines :D]
  • Statistics and other infos about workstations, also their health status (I know munin, but included feature would be better). Eg: temps, SMART datas, login time, remaining time...
  • (Updating all systems at once...)
  • Free

Maybe, cafe softwares won't meet my requirements, I don't know how can I call that software for that situation. I can also appreciate multi software solution.

I read this page, but these softwares are focused on paying.

  • 1
    Good question +1
    – Allan
    Aug 10, 2011 at 22:52
  • I am currently evaluating Mkahawa Cyber Manager, for Ubuntu 11.10 : mkahawa.sourceforge.net It looks quite good, although I am also looking for additional features not yet present.
    – david6
    Nov 23, 2011 at 6:06
  • I am also working on a product proposal for remote-access management. I would be very interested in your (more detailed) requirements ..
    – david6
    Nov 23, 2011 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


For billing/timing, you might want to look at Cafepilot. It is free an open source software. It's currently aimed at people paying for their usage but you could give people tickets to use it (CP would think they're worth money but you'd just give them out for free).

For monitoring, remote-controlling and updating, check out Canonical's Landscape tool. It's currently quite expensive but might justify itself... You're always free to haggle with Canonical because your situation is somewhat different from the standard enterprise "seat" concept.

Otherwise you can loop together tools like Munin or Cacti with Puppet. Puppet is free and is in the repositories but you probably want to look at the documentation on their main site. Note there is also a paid-for "Enterprise" version of Puppet that has a slightly augmented feature set.

  • Thanks Oli! I checked out every software. Cafepilot - Nice for paid, and ticket system cafes. I cant use it for timing only. :S Landscape - Very nice, I wrote to Canonical, I'm waiting for the answer. Puppet - Paid, for non-profit company it is only loss. I'm looking for free software!
    – antivirtel
    Aug 11, 2011 at 10:55
  • 1
    Puppet is free and open source and is in the repos. Puppet Enterprise is what they charge for. And with Cafepilot could you not just set the pricing to $0.00? Also see this. You could easily adapt that to give people one-off tickets (for free) that expire... So you can manage the timing still using fake transactions.
    – Oli
    Aug 11, 2011 at 13:03
  • Oh, right, the Puppet is free. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'll take a look at it again (It is still not so clear, how it works), 'cos Canonical's answer still haven't received. Cafepilot - I firstly tried with $0 cost, but I couldn't log in with that: "you have zero credit". Other try: 0 mins, $1 = unlimited time. X mins, $1 = no credit recharge, account is usable only once. Ticket printing gives me more work, what is painful. So sorry, but Cafepilot is not for that place :S
    – antivirtel
    Aug 12, 2011 at 9:30
  • If I undesrtood Oli's idea, you could use Cafepilot: set the hourly rate of to (say) $1. if you want to give a user half an hour of usage, just "credit" them with 50 cents
    – josinalvo
    Dec 16, 2012 at 14:23

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