A "child-proofing application" is one of the pending ideas that I had for Quirky6. Now implemented.

The way that I intended this to work is you give a child (or spouse) Quirky on a USB stick. They can bootup on your computer, and can access the Internet, printer, scanner, optical drive, etc., but not your internal hard drives.

This is what the new childproofing system does. You can also childproof Quirky if installed in an internal hard drive partition, however the blocking mechanism works on an entire drive, so Quirky would have to be on a different drive to the one you want to block.

Some snapshots to show it in action. This is the "before" snapshot of the desktop:

The Childproof Setup application is run from the Filesystem menu, and this is the first window:

The final window has some technical description, so I won't publish that. But, after rebooting, here is the "after" snapshot:

Note that the internal drives are disabled on a per-drive basis, however, I have also hidden the first partition of the Flash stick, using a different method. This prevents the child from poking around in the first 'boot' partition and potentially undoing the internal drive disabling.

The childproofing script gets erased after it has been run.

Of course, such blocking is really only for "friendly" users, not someone who wants to break into your hard drive, and especially not someone with technical Linux knowledge. The methods used, though, will probably stump most adult users from the general population.


BIOS password and reboot   Posted on 2 Mar 2014, 17:45 by step
In my PC setting a BIOS boot password prevents booting from HDD *and* USB key, so I'd say that using a BIOS password isn't a good fit for Barry's child-proofing app. But anyway, I think that for this conversation on child-proofing we'd have to assume a cooperative child, one who's happy to get help and be thought how to use the family's PC.

missing t   Posted on 27 Feb 2014, 13:39 by aarf

still cant see that its necessary to torture children though.

t and s are optional in my peck typing. notice i do this a lot.

passwords   Posted on 27 Feb 2014, 13:36 by aarf
hmm i overlooked this too. had to take a look to confirm my bio has user and admin password capabilities. which can stop reboot.
still can see that its necessary to torture children though.

went out yesterday and some quite young children were causing dangerous to the eye sight, igniting things to be traveling in my direction. some sort of small flying fissing type fire cracker. didnt get me. current politics in this region has caused death by explosion of a number of young children recently in various locations and is increasing so perhaps they are going on the offensive. not the first time i have been in a place where the young unknown random street children can be aggressively unwarrantedly lethal/dangerous/insidiously nasty. (cambodia back in the disturbance days) hope it doesnt need to go that far here. but anything is possible and totally beyond any input i could make. like a fly on the wings of a landed jet liner. no say what happens next.

Re reboot   Posted on 27 Feb 2014, 8:12 by BarryK
My response to the question by 'step' was not quite enough. Yes, reboot with the Flash stick plugged in, childproofing is still there. Reboot from an installed partition, then you would get the GRUB (or whatever) boot menu, and child could inadvertently choose the wrong one.

L18L was, for some reason, unable to post a comment here, so sent it to me:

Childproof Reboot

Hope I am not too late to this party.
step wrote:
From your description I infer that rebooting the PC will make all drives visible again, will it? If so, a child even inadvertently rebooting the PC will bypass the child proofing. Did I miss something?

Yes you have missed something.
Grandfathers know how to protect their box from try-to-reboot grandkids: simply setup a password in the BIOS.

$25 Smartphones   Posted on 24 Feb 2014, 15:41 by aarf
going to put this here incase it is missed

Mozilla Working on $25 Firefox OS Smartphones

Hide by partition   Posted on 23 Feb 2014, 8:40 by BarryK
I have rewritten the script to hide partitions on a per-partition basis, not per-drive.

The first window now looks like this:

This is more flexible. It works equally well for Quirky installed to a plugin-drive as for installed in an internal partition.

Hobbled   Posted on 21 Feb 2014, 18:07 by Sage
aarf has got something there. Frankly, it all seems a lot of wasted intellectual effort when there are challenges like FlashPlayer to confront!!!
Seriously, with the tons of scrap around, surely it's easier to give the kids PCs of their own, one each in each room of the house. Not a problem running compact distros like Puppy that can be tailored to meet their individual needs (rather than wants). It's not the PCs in their life that are the problem - it's the smartphones. Added to which, they get smarter themselves with each generation. They talk amongst themselves on the social media, so hacks, cracks and backdoors are the currency of their world.
Decent education, stable homelife, well-managed after-school sports/activities and eyes in back of heads strike me as more desirable aims.

kid oppression   Posted on 21 Feb 2014, 11:53 by aarf
mind control and oppression begins early for aussie kids. this one took the only way out for it was all too much for her

(if i had a dad like that i would too)

Hidden   Posted on 21 Feb 2014, 10:56 by BarryK
What I will do is replace the word "disabled" where it occurs in the Childproofing application, to "hidden". That should avoid future misunderstandings.

"disabled"   Posted on 21 Feb 2014, 10:30 by BarryK
Someone commented on the Puppy Forum, they seem to have a misunderstanding.

No, the blocked drives are not affected in any way. They are only disabled from the point of view of the childproofed Quirky installation.

It is just that the Linux kernel will ignore the internal drive(s) in the childproofed installation. The drive(s) are untouched and still work as normal.

Rebooting   Posted on 21 Feb 2014, 7:24 by BarryK
Huh? that would defeat the purpose. Once a Flash stick is childproofed, it stays childproofed.

Re: catering to the oppressive dictators   Posted on 21 Feb 2014, 5:55 by aarf
yes i think you could be generous and give your spouse their own pc/netbook.
sensitive data storage via air gap is the usual recommendation.

remember the stick?   Posted on 21 Feb 2014, 3:57 by step
This sounds interesting. From your description I infer that rebooting the PC will make all drives visible again, will it? If so, a child even inadvertently rebooting the PC will bypass the child proofing. Did I miss something? Well, looking forward to playing with this application in the next release.