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Old 01-12-2009, 08:22 PM
"Todd A. Jacobs"
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 07:56:56PM +0100, Florian Mickler wrote:

> somehow she has succeeded in moving her complete homefolder (.*-files
> included) into subfolders of her homefolder... i don't know how that
> can happen, but apparently there are no safeguards in place. (Or at

Nor should there be. If you remove write access to your own files or
directories, then you can't write to them. The cure is worse than the
disease. QED.

> Is there a way to shield her from doing smth like that again? What are

Educate her? Tell her not to move Desktop, Documents, or dot-files?
Unset "show hidden files" or its equivalent in whatever file manager
she's using?

Ultimately, you can't *stop* a user from "rm -rf ~" on writable media if
they're so inclined. Even if you did something like a writable unionfs
mount over a read-only user directory (knoppix, anyone?) you'd just be
making changes (both good and bad ones) temporary. This will *not*
result in a usable desktop, unless you're trying to have someone run in
a kiosk mode where no files, bookmarks, or configuration changes are
possible.

And before this turns into a Linux bashing, you can hose your account in
various ways on ANY operating system, including Windows and OS X. Other
than the learning curve, this isn't an OS-specific problem.

--
"Oh, look: rocks!"
-- Doctor Who, "Destiny of the Daleks"


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Old 01-12-2009, 09:38 PM
Lisi Reisz
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

On Monday 12 January 2009 18:56:56 Florian Mickler wrote:
> What are the big Do's and Don'ts if you setup a linux desktop for
> senior beginners?

I do the following:

Set up the look of KDE to suit the particular difficulties of the individual.
(Large print, brightly coloured mouse pointer, whatever.) Then "hide"
everything that you don't want the individual to alter or get flummoxed by.
I find out what the individual wants to do (usually email, letters, browse
the web).

Now first set up the desktop.

Get rid of all the icons on the desktop and every applet and icon on the
panel. Now put icons for the applications that the individual will want on
the desktop. Rename them. E.g. "email", not "Mozilla Thunderbird".

Choose applications that have clear labels on every icon.

OpenOffice.org is a good word processor for newbies because it can be set up
to have a few clearly labeled icons. (Get rid of any that confuse rather
than help.) Set it to go to your chosen directory by default.

Set up the browser to go to Google as the home page, and don't shudder too
much when the newbie can't distinguish between a browser and a search engine.
Let him/her put the web address into Google's search bar. It will get
him/her there and that is all that matters.

Put an applet for lock/logout on the panel. I also add the clock, showing
date as well as time.

Leave the system so that it is impossible to get at anything else via the
mouse. If you need to access anything else, do it via Alt F2 or the command
line.

And read: <http://thelinuxbox.org/?p=21#more-21>, or listen to:
<http://www.archive.org/details/HampshireLinuxUserGroupDADDesktopAdaptedforDAD>,
or even better, both.

HTH
Lisi


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Old 01-12-2009, 09:46 PM
"Boyd Stephen Smith Jr."
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

On Monday 2009 January 12 14:31:31 Boyd Stephen Smith Jr. wrote:
>My
>first instinct was to a-r ~her_user,

s/a-r/a-w/
--
Boyd Stephen Smith Jr. ,= ,-_-. =.
bss@iguanasuicide.net ((_/)o o(\_))
ICQ: 514984 YM/AIM: DaTwinkDaddy `-'(. .)`-'
http://iguanasuicide.net/ \_/
 
Old 01-13-2009, 08:12 AM
Chris Davies
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

Florian Mickler <florian@mickler.org> wrote:
> Last week my mother (supplied by me with a debian-testing system,
> running kde) [...] succeeded in moving her complete homefolder (.*-files
> included) into subfolders of her homefolder...

> i don't know how that can happen, but apparently there are no safeguards
> in place. (Or at least they are easily clicked away)

> That resulted in landing in a complete new gnome-environment. and
> [...] she couldn't cope with her computer anymore.

Gnome? I thought you said KDE. (However, it's no matter.)


> Is there a way to shield her from doing smth like that again?

Daily backups?

If you create a script that uses something like rsnapshot you could
copy the files to a "safe" place elswhere in the filesystem. It won't
help with a disk crash or filesystem corruption, but it could make
it easier to restore a "broken" home. Put the script in your .profile
(.bash_profile, whatever) and ensure that it only gets called once a
day. Or if the machine is treated like a PC and switched off *regularly*,
get it to run the script at startup.

If you're really cunning you could create a second user account (perhaps
called "help", or "restore") that offers a simple menu of choices -
selective restore of a file, restore of all "system" files (i.e. your
mother's dot files), restore of a folder, restore of everything ("are
you really sure!?")


> What are the big Do's and Don'ts if you setup a linux desktop for
> senior beginners?

I'm not sure that being senior is relevant. Anyone can break their own
user account on pretty much any OS if they don't know what they're doing.

Chris


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Old 01-13-2009, 01:06 PM
Osamu Aoki
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

HI,

On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 07:56:56PM +0100, Florian Mickler wrote:
> Hi!
>
> Last week my mother (supplied by me with a debian-testing system,
> running kde) did call me with fear in hear voice: "the computer isn't
> working anymore! and all my files are lost! and my emails! and the
> internet has vanished!"

...
> What are the big Do's and Don'ts if you setup a linux desktop for
> senior beginners?

There is no easy way to teach user not to destroy system. What ever
safegurd you place, they will outsmart you and erase files they are
suppose not to.

The only safegurd is BACKUP! For KDE, there is keep package to back up.
As long as you make backup files to non-erasable location by your client
user, you will be safe.

I can think of remote backup to your server. If that is too much, back up
to root directory only accessible by root is alternative.

If you want to save file size, use differential back up.
1. backup her home directory to /root/backup-hers (700)
2. using git to make history with date as tag.

If these are done every time she boot or by cron, she can regain data
when ever she asks you. (Does keep do this?)

You may also look for rdiff-backup which looks interesing.

Basically any backup solution will do the job as long as you keep them
in safe location.

See

http://people.debian.org/~osamu/pub/getwiki/html/debian-reference.en.html#backupandrecovery

Osamu


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Old 01-13-2009, 03:22 PM
Johannes Wiedersich
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Osamu Aoki wrote:
> The only safegurd is BACKUP! For KDE, there is keep package to back up.
> As long as you make backup files to non-erasable location by your client
> user, you will be safe.

> If these are done every time she boot or by cron, she can regain data
> when ever she asks you. (Does keep do this?)

With the last upstream change on 07/11/2006, keep doesn't look too much
maintained [1,2].

HTH,

Johannes


[1] http://jr.falleri.free.fr/keep/wiki/News
[2] http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Keep?content=32984
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:10 AM
Florian Mickler
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

Hi Ron!

On Mon, 12 Jan 2009 14:05:22 -0600
Ron Johnson <ron.l.johnson@cox.net> wrote:

> On 01/12/09 12:56, Florian Mickler wrote:
> [snip]
> >
> > That resulted in landing in a complete new gnome-environment. and as
> > she is a beginner at computers and of age, she couldn't cope
> > with her computer anymore.
> >
> > So, my question, dear reader:
> >
> > Is there a way to shield her from doing smth like that again?
> > What are the kde-safeguards for moving the homefolder (which is easy
> > enough, if you are not so confident with mouse-handling)?
>
> Teach her how to use hot-keys?
>
> > What are the big Do's and Don'ts if you setup a linux desktop for
> > senior beginners?
>
> Sit with her and create subfolders with names that she's happy with
> for downloads, My_Documents, etc, etc. Then configure Tbird, FF,
> OOo, etc, to save their files there. There should then be less need
> for "clean up".

Yeah, that would be the ideal situation. But that would make her
(even more) dependent on me. She want's to know it all by herself. And
why shouldn't she?
I'm not living nearby. So I can't just go to my sixty-year old
mother and tell her: here is a pc. now sit with me for 3 hours, and
after that you are able to do everything with it. There is only so much
a person can absorp on knowledge in a given timespan. Especially if it
comes to such a complete new way of thinking.
(If you sit with a complete computer-beginner, you just begin to
realize how un-intuitive this whole computer-thing is!)

>
> Also, there should be a way in konq to suppress dot-files.
>

I think the dot files are supressed in her konq. But moving the _folder_
obviously moves all the files in it around.

Sincerely,
Florian
 
Old 01-14-2009, 09:15 AM
Florian Mickler
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

Hello Todd!

On Mon, 12 Jan 2009 13:22:39 -0800
"Todd A. Jacobs" <nospam@codegnome.org> wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 07:56:56PM +0100, Florian Mickler wrote:
>
> > somehow she has succeeded in moving her complete homefolder
> > (.*-files included) into subfolders of her homefolder... i don't
> > know how that can happen, but apparently there are no safeguards in
> > place. (Or at
>
> Nor should there be. If you remove write access to your own files or
> directories, then you can't write to them. The cure is worse than the
> disease. QED.
>
> > Is there a way to shield her from doing smth like that again? What
> > are
>
> Educate her? Tell her not to move Desktop, Documents, or dot-files?
> Unset "show hidden files" or its equivalent in whatever file manager
> she's using?
>
> Ultimately, you can't *stop* a user from "rm -rf ~" on writable media
> if they're so inclined. Even if you did something like a writable
> unionfs mount over a read-only user directory (knoppix, anyone?)
> you'd just be making changes (both good and bad ones) temporary. This
> will *not* result in a usable desktop, unless you're trying to have
> someone run in a kiosk mode where no files, bookmarks, or
> configuration changes are possible.

Well, the point is, my mom didn't _want_ to move her homefolder away.
But she somehow got confused in the konqueror-window or dropped the
mouse-click at the wrong position. or didn't hit the right pixel at the
beginning, or whatnot...

And of course we are not speaking of kiosk-mode.

This is about creating an computing environment in which
'older'(she's not _that_ old!) beginners can feel at ease, without
having fear of destroying something. or which confuses them.

Of course it is the normal way of learning to screw up, but it
shouldn't be so easy, methinks...


Sincerely,
Florian
 
Old 01-14-2009, 09:21 AM
Florian Mickler
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

Hello!

On Mon, 12 Jan 2009 14:31:31 -0600
"Boyd Stephen Smith Jr." <bss@iguanasuicide.net> wrote:

> On Monday 2009 January 12 12:56:56 Florian Mickler wrote:
> >soon i found out, that she had tried to clean up her homefolder
> >(organizing her files in folders, as she has learned in some
> >computer-course she has taken)
>
> Organizing *her* files in one thing, and good. Organizing
> application files is usually a no-no unless you are fully aware of
> everything that can break (and are willing to fix it).
>
> >somehow she has succeeded in moving her complete homefolder
> >(.*-files included) into subfolders of her homefolder...
> >i don't know how that can happen, but apparently there are no
> >safeguards in place. (Or at least they are easily clicked away)
>
> I suppose that is by design. UNIX (and Linux) made it a point to
> make sure that files and be moved/renamed/removed when they are in
> use. Also, user have full access to files in their home folder by
> default, even if the beginners maybe shouldn't use all that access.
> ISTR a young freshman that completely broke their university email by
> hand-editing their mailbox.

yeah. i too have borked some systems by accident in my time.

> You might be able to get the desired behavior by using acls.
> (Removing the ability to rename/delete files in ~her_user, while
> keeping the ability to create files in ~her_user would be a start.)

i will look into acls. thx.

Sincerely,
Florian
 
Old 01-14-2009, 09:34 AM
Florian Mickler
 
Default destroying one's account, the easy way?

Hello Lisi!


On Mon, 12 Jan 2009 22:38:04 +0000
Lisi Reisz <lisi.reisz@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Monday 12 January 2009 18:56:56 Florian Mickler wrote:
> > What are the big Do's and Don'ts if you setup a linux desktop for
> > senior beginners?
>
> I do the following:
>
> Set up the look of KDE to suit the particular difficulties of the
> individual. (Large print, brightly coloured mouse pointer,
> whatever.) Then "hide" everything that you don't want the individual
> to alter or get flummoxed by. I find out what the individual wants to
> do (usually email, letters, browse the web).
>
> Now first set up the desktop.
>
> Get rid of all the icons on the desktop and every applet and icon on
> the panel. Now put icons for the applications that the individual
> will want on the desktop. Rename them. E.g. "email", not "Mozilla
> Thunderbird".
>
> Choose applications that have clear labels on every icon.
>
> OpenOffice.org is a good word processor for newbies because it can be
> set up to have a few clearly labeled icons. (Get rid of any that
> confuse rather than help.) Set it to go to your chosen directory by
> default.
>
> Set up the browser to go to Google as the home page, and don't
> shudder too much when the newbie can't distinguish between a browser
> and a search engine. Let him/her put the web address into Google's
> search bar. It will get him/her there and that is all that matters.
>
> Put an applet for lock/logout on the panel. I also add the clock,
> showing date as well as time.
>
> Leave the system so that it is impossible to get at anything else via
> the mouse. If you need to access anything else, do it via Alt F2 or
> the command line.
>
> And read: <http://thelinuxbox.org/?p=21#more-21>, or listen to:
> <http://www.archive.org/details/HampshireLinuxUserGroupDADDesktopAdaptedforDAD>,
> or even better, both.
>
> HTH
> Lisi


Thank you very much for your response! I think my mom will appreciate a
not so confusing environment. I don't think it has to be so extreme,
as she is well underway in genereal ( apart from the usual
rescue-me!-calls I receive from time to time )

But the next big computer-education step i'm gonna take is my father!
*g*. And that will be a tough nut. But i feel prepared now...

One other thing you did'nt mention is to have a
'rescue'-remote-access possibility. Like an reverse-ssh tunnel through
their nat, so that i can easily connect and have more efficient
telephony-support.


Thanks,

Florian
 

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