Open Kiosk for Firefox / XULRunner

One of the more popular projects we have worked on at Mozdev Group is the Open Kiosk. The main reason being that it is licensed under the MPL and available free for download. The kiosk was originally commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum. It is installed on kiosk stations there, but judging by evidence of emails we get, it is deployed in at least 8-10 more museums/exhibition halls throughout the world.

The thing is, it was targetted for Mozilla 1.7. Which is fine. But Firefox has taken all the glory, and more folks might get turned on to it if it was made available as a Firefox extension. So in my spare time (all 10 minutes in a day) over the last while, I’ve been porting it over. It involved quite a lot of code refactoring, but is almost there. I have it up and running in Firefox 1.5 and XULRunner 1.9 (trunk). Aside from bug fixes, here are the remaining tasks:

  • Break the dependency with jsLib (for now). There is no easy way currently to install it with a XULRunner application.
  • Refactor the preferences. There was a large hack in place before to enable preferences to be global. This time around they will be per user, and use the new preference widgets (prefwindow et al).
  • Customised icons. I can’t rely on browser skin any more in XULRunner, so the best solution is to integrate new icons. If any designers are interested in helping me with these, contact me.

Thats it. I’m chugging away, and I’ll get more incentive to get the first release out there fast if I get feedback here from folks that would like to use it. So hands up (in the comments) if you would like to see a Firefox/XULRunner version of the Open Kiosk.

12 Responses to “Open Kiosk for Firefox / XULRunner”

  1. Jerry Geis 21-Nov-2005 at 18:31 #

    I am interested in the firefox port.
    One item that would be nice also (fixed in both firefox and mozilla) is to be able to remotely control the browser also
    with the -remote command line ability on linux.
    It seems to not work in kiosk mode.

    Jerry

  2. Matt Morgan 21-Nov-2005 at 21:06 #

    This is great news, thanks! When I pitch OpenKiosk, lack of familiarity with Mozilla can be an issue. Lots of people don’t understand the connection between Mozilla and Firefox, or think of Mozilla as inferior, somehow.

    What about pdas? Where does that Minimo project stand, the one that was going to port FF to PocketPC? It would be cool to be able to run OpenKiosk on an iPaq.

  3. Marius Schäfer 21-Nov-2005 at 23:04 #

    Hi Brian, thanks for your mail and for the nice work you have done! I think it’s great that there’s some further development of OpenKiosk.
    So far I’m running one client with mozilla (there will be a project description on my site when it’s finished (this will take very very long :-))). But I will have more use for it in future, I’m sure!

  4. Aaron Cirillo 29-Nov-2005 at 14:50 #

    Brian,

    It is great to hear that you are working on porting this project to Firefox. I work at a community college where we have deployed a homebrewed solution based on Ubuntu and Firefox for our Kioks. We were initially going to try and use OpenKiosk for Mozilla. But for reasons that I don’t remember right now it would not quite suit our needs, so we heavily modified Firefox and Ubuntu to do what we wanted. I will post another update when I dig up why we couldn’t use OpenKiosk for Mozilla.

    I am excited to try your kiosk implementation for Firefox. I think that this is sorely needed. If you search for kiosk extensions on the firefox website you will not find any (at least the last time I checked anyways).

    Great work!
    –Aaron

  5. brian 29-Nov-2005 at 14:58 #

    Aaron: There is a Kiosk Browsing category on Mozilla Update.

    Firefox Kiosk Browsing

    However, it seems like some of the extensions don’t belong there, and others don’t have as many features as the OpenKiosk. I may be wrong, because I haven’t tried them.

  6. gd2shoe 2-Dec-2005 at 20:41 #

    There is a kiosk section, and about half of the items there do not belong. The big missing piece is being able to open firefox in fullscreen mode automatically (the full screen extention only adds a button, I don’t think it can be configured for automation).

    I would also like to see this developed for firefox.

  7. Rich 13-Dec-2005 at 13:17 #

    I’d love to see this materialise on Firefox!

    I just came across the Mozilla version when trying to find some way of making Firefox 1.5 into a solid, secure kiosk.

    I’m currently using Firefox 1.0.7 with heavily modified jar files in the chrome directory which allows me to use Firefox as a secure kiosk on some PCs in a public foyer area of our building (I’ve disallowed downloading, removed all but the essential menu options from the toolbar, stopped it retaining history, cache etc.) Coupled with a Squid proxy with SquidGuard filtering urls/domains, I’ve got a solid setup at the mo. However, these modifications to the jar files don’t work in the new 1.5 version of Firefox, so I’d love to see something like the Mozilla Open Kiosk which I’ve just been testing – it seems great – better than the mods I’m using on Firefox 1.0.7. The Admin interface is superb. There’s no easy way to modify any settings using my setup without replacing the original chrome directory, firing up the browser, making the changes, then reapplying the modded version of the jar files…

    Keep us posted – I’d be willing to test any alpha/beta/pre-release version you currently have running! Let me know, or make your unfinished version available, please!

  8. Greg 19-Dec-2005 at 16:33 #

    Brian – I have a client who is interested in creating a firefox/xul based kiosk in their store. Well, they want a kiosk, and I’m looking for the best way to implement and I was pointed here by Jesse R.

    If you need help with testing, input, or perhaps even a bounty let me know.

    Regards,
    Greg

  9. johnny benson 1-Dec-2006 at 01:03 #

    any news on a FF2.0 compatible version? :) *bats eyelashes*

  10. brian 9-Dec-2006 at 14:48 #

    I’m afraid not Johnny. There was not even a 1.5 version! I got to about 80% code complete and just did not have the time to continue. FYI, the source is up at http://openkiosk.mozdev.org

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