Ubuntu – Software for free netcafe (so computer tracking software)


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.

Best Answer

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.