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Minimalist kiosk distro revs to Ubuntu 10.04 foundation

Sep 29, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 86 views

Linutop released version 4.0 of a Ubuntu Linux-based distro optimized for kiosk applications on small, energy-efficient fanless PCs, including legacy 386-based PCs and the company's own mini-PCs. Linutop OS 4.0 is based on Ubuntu 10.04 (“Lucid Lynx”), has a 700MB footprint, is available in a bootable USB key, and offers a variety of display and security features, says the company.

Available for 79 Euros ($107), either as a download or on a bootable USB key (pictured), Linutop OS 4.0 also comes pre-installed on the company's compact Linutop 2 and Linutop 3 computers (see farther below).

Although the OS can be used as a stripped-down desktop OS for older computers, including 80386 systems, it is primarily aimed at specialty usage such as secured public Internet kiosk access, digital signage, network monitoring, thin clients, virtualized desktops, and mini-server applications, says Paris-based Linutop.

Version 4.0 moves up to a foundation of Ubuntu 10.04, but maintains a slim 700MB footprint, says the company. Linutop OS 4.0 uses the GNOME 2.3 desktop environment, and offers applications including Firefox 3.6, Open Office 3.2, VLC Media Player 1.1, and Pidgin 2.6. Other apps are said to include a PDF viewer, text editor, on-screen keyboard, file manager, network manager, VPN utility, and the GQ view picture viewer.

Linutop OS 4.0 features the company's kiosk software, enabling kiosk-focused homepage configuration in full screen. Options are said to include the ability to hide the toolbar and block selected websites, says Linutop.

The software also enables easy configuration of multimedia playlists, including time and order, with support for JPEG, URLs, folders, and video files, says the company. The system supports a variety of text and image files, as well as MP3, MP4, MKV, AVI, and FLV media formats, says the company.

Linutop OS 4.0 can be locked into read-only mode, preventing alterations by viruses or users, says Linutop. The system can also be set to recover its initial state at each startup.

Linutop 2

Linutop's original "pocketable" Linutop 1 computer shipped in 2007, and in February 2008, the French mini-PC vendor introduced the slightly larger Linutop 2 (pictured above), which is equipped with a 500MHz Geode processor.

A year ago, the company announced the Linutop 3 (below), which offers a more powerful Via C7 CPU clocked to 1GHz, The computer offers twice the standard and flash memory of the Linutop 2, with 1GB of DDR2, expandable to 2GB, as well as 2GB of flash, says Linutop.

The new box moved up from fast Ethernet to gigabit Ethernet, and added two more USB 2.0 ports for a total of six. The Linuxtop 3 also gained a serial port, dual SATA ports, and a PCIe connection. 

Linutop 3, front and back
(Click to enlarge)

The Linutop 3 is still fanless, but is also considerably larger, expanding from the Linutop 2's 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.4-inch dimensions to a new footprint of 9.3 x 9.3 x 2.2 inches. Power consumption, meanwhile, jumped to just under 20 Watts, compared to eight Watts for the still-shipping Linutop 2.

Stated Frédéric Baille, CEO of Linutop, "Our customers appreciated Linutop's low-maintenance system. Now, we're giving them the tools they need to deploy this solution on other hardware platforms. Compared to other providers of kiosk and digital signage solutions, Linutop is less expensive and has minimal maintenance costs."


Linutop OS 4.0 is available now, either preinstalled on a USB-key or in a downloadable installation, both costing 79 Euros ($107), here. A free downloadable CD demo version is available, here.

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