This is not a request for which distro (I intend to use arch + openbox as that's the setup I'm familiar with), but rather which tools can help me accomplish the following:

I want to set up my sister's laptop so she can:

  1. safely surf the web
  2. watch movies / youtube
  3. learn / practice

    3.1 Languages

    3.2 10 finger typing

  4. listen to music and audiobooks

The catch is that I have to

  1. budget her time. She is only allowed 2h/day of 1)+2)
  2. she should be able to "earn" more time via 3) or by doing sports/ going for a walk. There also should be a way to give her "vouchers" she can use to top up her time-budget. The time-budget should be split into two accounts: The daily(not used time is lost) and the earned (persistent but total amount that can be used per day should be limited)

  3. The whole system has to be maintained remotely, as I no longer live at home and nobody else cares or has the skills.

Research / Ideas so far:

So for (1) I will go through these tools (user experiences would be appreciated): https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ParentalControls

(2) VLC will do for DVD, but a "one-click" DVD ripper would be great so she does not have to carry a bunch of DVDs around (and its also quite noisy having the DVD in the drive)

(3.1) I thought about installing a second browser which can be used for duolingo only.

(3.2) I have no Idea which program is suitable to provide motivation and ease of use...

(4) this should not take time from her budget. Easy mp3-ripping would be great.

(5 + 6) That's the main question for me. I know there must be a way to log and limit program running time but that's totally out of my league right now.

(7) Remote access using ssh or preferably a telegram-bot which is hard-coded to only communicate with me.

For programming solutions lets assume I have basic knowledge of Java and I aspire to learn Python.

  • 1) + 2) can safely be done via Radius in the wifi server. Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 13:31
  • There is the fundamental problem that you can know what application is running but you cannot know what application is being used. She can launch the learning program just before going to sleep to fully recharge her budget.
    – ntd
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


Some of what you request could be accomplished with a DNS filter like NxFilter http://alternativeto.net/software/nxfilter/

It could be run on her laptop and point to opendns or Google's dns for the actual requests. It has lots of flexibility around scheduling access to specific domains but I have no idea how you might implement your "voucher" idea. Just be aware that if your sister expends a little energy she will be able to easily circumvent this.

Connecting her laptop to an openvpn service should allow you to support her via ssh and x11vnc [for remote desktop sessions].

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .