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How can I build a custom distribution for running a simple web browser?

Is it possible to create a Linux distribution that only runs one application? For example, I want it to just run a browser, and not support any other applications. How can I do that?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Nov 29 '11 at 15:34

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by rozcietrzewiacz, jasonwryan, Gilles, Mat, Michael Mrozek Dec 2 '11 at 20:25

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Sounds like the GNU/LINUX Kiosk Project description. – manatwork Nov 29 '11 at 15:50
You're asking for Google's Chrome OS! – rahmu Nov 29 '11 at 15:55
Yes something like this but I want my own browser :) – DeadlyMind Nov 29 '11 at 16:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If the user has "root" access, she'll always find a way to run anything she wants. On the other hand, ifthe user doesn't have root access, you can try to limit her access to one application.

Lshell is a restrictive shell that allows you to do this at the shell level. If you have a graphical environment, it's even easier. Put only one giant button in the screen :)

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Thanks very very much you both helped!!! – DeadlyMind Nov 29 '11 at 15:58

I'm sure it's possible, but probably more work than you want. I suppose you'd have to look into the bootscripts. It might be easier to create a user, change permissions on the rest of the drive to lock him out (except necessary programs and libraries), give him an autologin gnome/kde session, set the novtswitch option in xorg.conf, and change his login script to launch the browser/whatever.

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Thanks very very much you both helped!!! – DeadlyMind Nov 29 '11 at 15:58

It is obviously possible. The simplest way I can think of is that each time the user is logged on , he is chrooted to a restricted shell, that has only one command, your application. Of course, this is easier said than done.

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