So this new release will help keep bandwidth low for new install users, since they don't need to download upgrades upto this release from the previous 21.0 release. And as for the non-upgrading static Live users, please upgrade to keep users abreast with the latest Web technologies and security updates.
grabdragAPI for better touch screen support.
- Emoji fonts! 💻 Webconverger saves you ⌚️ and 💰 giving you 📈 and your users 📰
- Firefox 25 and Flash security updates
As outlined in "Avoiding the Microsoft upgrade treadmill", we are keeping a conservative outlook. We are working on a kernel update so you don't have to worry about issues like this new hardware issue effecting the current kernel 3.8 we have.
Please download the latest release and we would love to hear from you!
For the full changelog, or checkout Github's commit view:
git log --oneline --decorate 21.0..22.0
Say you want to use Webconverger for Web digital signage, to playback a promotional video in fullscreen in a loop. Such a configuration would look like:
homepage=http://signage.webconverger.com prefs=http://ppd.webconverger.com/2013/signage.js hidecursor noblank chrome=neon
Notice you need to tweak http://ppd.webconverger.com/2013/signage.js "autoconfig" preferences for your particular homepage's domain in order to give fullscreen video permissions for your domain.
Components.utils.import("resource://gre/modules/Services.jsm"); Components.utils.import("resource://gre/modules/NetUtil.jsm"); Services.perms.add(NetUtil.newURI("http://YOUR_HOMEPAGE_DOMAIN.com/"), "fullscreen", 1); pref("full-screen-api.allow-trusted-requests-only", false);
As for view-source:http://signage.webconverger.com/ it's a very simple use of HTML video:
<video id=signage autoplay loop src=demo.webm></video> <script> video = document.getElementById('signage'); video.mozRequestFullScreen(); </script>
The only snag is that we currently only support WebM format for HTML video playback. MP4 licensing lately is easing up and we plan to support MP4 playback. Do ask if you need help converting your video to WebM, from MP4 or from a bunch of images.
You can also re-purpose this technique as a Screensaver / Attraction loop for Webconverger.
Enjoy simple device management of the control panel, not just for your kiosks, but for your PC signage devices too!
As documented in the API page,
http_proxy=IP:PORT is used to specify a proxy.
Ideally your organisation uses a transparent proxy where this configuration is not necessary.
In the video above I demonstrate typically how you would configure Webconverger with a proxy server. However a potential problem is if you boot from an install version your proxy might not allow direct access to https://config.webconverger.com/, meaning you won't get your proxy configuration applied.
In this case you need to hold the Alt or Shift keys to get a
boot: prompt to
pass the appropriate
http_proxy= line, as mentioned on the debug page.
Again ideally your network can be configured to always allow access to
https://config.webconverger.com/, so that special network configurations like
a proxy server can be retrieved successfully and applied.
When you buy a PC you are inevitably sold a Microsoft license with it. You may assume you are getting "Windows for free", though the fact is you are paying a Microsoft tax, which impedes the competitiveness of PCs and makes Microsoft a monopoly.
What does "support ends" mean? It means that running a Windows XP machine after this date will expose you to security risks because Microsoft will not be providing ongoing security patches.
Usually that means businesses have to get rid of perfectly capable PC hardware and buy new PCs! Or you can opt for Microsoft upgrade where you are typically faced with a 150USD spend per PC to upgrade to Windows 7.
However, Windows 7 end of mainstream support ends in less than 500 days. And lets be honest, upgrading an Enterprise to a new Windows release is absolutely non-trivial.
Webconverger's lifetime subscription keeps your PC permanently patched
We are first with a unique, disruptive "PC hardware saving" offer that no other software vendor is making. With Webconverger's one off pricing there is no need to retire an old PC. We do not force you to upgrade at cost like Microsoft effectively does.
If you buy a subscription for your PC hardware, we promise to support that machine forever.
The only caveat is that a lifetime "one off" subscription is fixed to a particular machine identity and is non-transferable, as described in our Terms.
Webconverger provides more than a better operating system. We provide everything up to the browser and ensure it is tested and patched with security updates.
We will endeavour to make our software operating system not require more resources as time goes on, unlike Microsoft. We will endeavour to keep a stable, simple and familiar browsing experience for many many years to come.
If you think your PC hardware will last more than two years, we highly recommend you take advantage of our one off offer as documented on the pricing page.
As an IT administrator, as an extra level of Quality Assurance, you want to perhaps check remotely your wonderful Webconverger kiosks are up and running.
It's worth bearing in mind, the most common kiosk failure point by and large, is network failure. So you can ultimately expect to see a log of "false negatives" with your monitoring. That is Webconverger is fully operational, but somehow between you and your kiosk, the network connection was disrupted. Webconverger is fault tolerant and designed to retry the network when disconnected, so when network connectivity returns, Webconverger is functional straight away.
What I don't want to see is use of "graphical desktop sharing system" tools like VNC for IT administrators to invade the privacy of users, which I have seen in Asia. There is really no need to view a users screen in Webconverger. Webconverger can be configured to reset if a user just leaves the station without closing the last tab with kioskresetstation.
So here are some options to check your kiosk machine is alive:
ping the IP of your kiosk machine. If pings fail to be returned, you know you have a problem.
In practice you need to have stable IP addressing. You probably want to run a tool like Nagios to alert you by email if something is wrong. And that tool needs access to your local network, which is often not easy with today's typical Firewalled Internet connection.
Your homepage httpd logs
As described upon the API document under Expansions, you can have a homepage like so:
And than will expand and be seen in your Web servers logs:
example 127.0.0.1 - - [06/Aug/2013:10:38:43 +0800] "GET /?id=B69E3A64-898C-11E1-BBA0-8CCB39332B00;44:37:e6:9a:3b:51 HTTP/1.1" 200
So typically after a kiosk is used, the station is reset and your homepage reloaded. Now you can monitor this event from your logs.
If you append your machine identity to http://support.webconverger.com/, for example http://support.webconverger.com/EE0CA770-AFFB-453F-B8C5-F9F73135E39A;08:00:27:4e:4a:4e, you can see when machine last retrieved its configuration. So this is a quick sanity check to see when a machine effectively last booted successfully. If you have not seen a kiosk retrieve a configuration on a remote site, then you have a problem.
support in your configuration will make your logs appear
on the server. Though this should only be used for debugging, not for
Remote logging as documented in the API reference, is the ability combined with your logging endpoint to show all Webconverger logs. So here the client effectively pushes every 5 minutes a message that you can track, saying that the machine is alive and well.
It's probably the best method to detect hardware issues, though this is a very advanced practice.
Could we do it better?
We don't run any
services on Webconverger. If there is demand from you, we certainly can
consider it. This would effectively be a better defined
We also do have a system only used in Neon digital
signage that uses
ssh for very active
monitoring that would be unsuitable for Web kiosks due to the risk to a users
privacy. This allows is to be flexible and better track memory issues in signs.
Webconverger uptime monitoring summary
The easiest way to monitor is using
ping and using
http://support.webconverger.com/. If you are a bit more tech savvy, use the
expansions with your Web logging. Finally for very fine grained, consider
log=. These Webconverger APIs should give you the piece of mind to run a very
high quality IT operation.
- Firefox 22 and Flash security updates
- Fixed an issue whereby the installer would not show up on a small subset of machines
- Upgraded to syslinux 6 which should make the boot experience slightly smoother
- Re-introduced support for allowing popups via the prefs= API
prefs=API has been beefed up so you can practically script Firefox to do whatever you want using autoconfig files
- Removed the proprietary Google talkplugin in favour of WebRTC e.g. https://talky.io/
- ttf-liberation fonts are back to improve compatibility with Windows renderings
In other news we are working on a Webconverger Raspberry PI port, FINALLY! With the caveat that it will only be used in Web signage use cases (Neon!) and not as a kiosk browsing machine. We were recently interviewed about Neon if you want to learn more.
We also recently contributed a linux.com blog explaining the nuances that go into Webconverger, that make it the best Web kiosk software.
Please download the latest release and we would love to hear from you!
$ md5sum webc-21.0.iso d9dcac12391ca263063404f7e95edcca webc-21.0.iso $ sha1sum webc-21.0.iso 6c212bfa28f3b4e7c85cc6bf271bc6b22ba4bdf2 webc-21.0.iso
Please download Webconverger 20, our stable update release, featuring:
- Firefox 21 updates and Flash security updates
- A dist-upgrade, based on Progress Linux 2.0 (baureo)
- On a bit of a diet, 441M to 357M, saving about 60 Megs, by removing files you won't need
widescrollbarsoptions for touch screen deployments
- Tweaks to force viewing PDFs inline
- Customer configurations are now fetched over SSL
For the full changelog,
git log --oneline --decorate 19.1..20.0.
261d6dba5c913b0d753c1b595ab85740 and the sha1sum is
If you are using the recommended Install version of Webconverger, you should seamlessly upgrade incrementally day by day as Webconverger is updated. In other words, an installed Webconverger is maintenance free.
I've measured the 20.0 upgrade size as about 112M from a fresh 19.1 install. My
methodology was to to install the previous Webconverger 19 release. Then
reboot with debug mode enabled and
grep upgrade /var/log/syslog from time
to time until it was finished downloading from our origin hosted at
To see how much data was transferred,
cat /proc/net/netstat and plug in the
large value into Google.com and append "bytes into megabytes".
Our new terms and conditions
If you have more than a couple of subscriptions with us, you probably have access to the Configuration control panel:
Previously it was a bit tedious to copy and paste in the case senstive machine identity. Now there is a "Existing Customer" link from the default configuration page:
That allows you to put in your ID to immediately add that machine identity to. So it takes just a few seconds to setup machine after machine with the default Webconverger ISO. No special customised ISO required!
Webconverger 19 brings you in terms of effort put in:
- Printing support completely overhauled with a new
- Restored nvidia (ion) WebGL acceleration using driver version 313.30
supportAPI which allows customers to send us their complete (non-browsing) logs for study to http://support.webconverger.com/[MACHINE_IDENTITY]
- Raft of package upgrades
prefs=API, to override Firefox preferences, typically used for omitting print headers
- Firefox 20 updates and Flash security updates
- Tweaks to our Firefox kiosk extension (version 45)
Printing properly provisioned
Ricoh Singapore kindly helped us improve support by giving us access to their smart "Printer Innovation Center", where we tested several of their printers with Webconverger successfully.
I would like to thank Wiemin Zhang and Sam Hon for hosting me there. I look forward to working together to improve printing support for enterprise deployments of Webconverger.
Printing to a PDF file server possible
If you need to archive Webpages to PDF (for evidence for example), our printing page has a tutorial describing how to setup a "cups-pdf" service on a separate (non-Webconverger) Linux machine.
This mechanism can be used to preview a PDF before printing it. So a Internet cafe user could print to PDF to an administrator's machine and then proceed to pay the administrator before printing it out.
Here is a sample PDF, printed using Firefox 20 and a CUPS-PDF version 2.6.1 service.
md5sum: 4b0072e39bae8f9b1fe213509ac04367 webc-19.1.iso sha1sum: d7973471923f691034b355e9be0af610fb9c3147 webc-19.1.iso
Download now from http://www.webconverger.com/ and enjoy the very best PC kiosk experience. We are proudly opensource and there is no vendor lockin like our competitors. Please consider purchasing a subscription to support us and enjoy our friendly service.
Webconverger is git signed and tagged "18.0" with the following new features:
- Provisioned the proprietary Google talk plugin, which will make us more applicable in Internet cafes. With a Google account you can make voice and video calls!
- New fonts, you shouldn't see a missing Unicode glyph for your language, thanks to the newly integrated Droid font coverage
- Arabic & Russian i18n support via the default [Alt+shift] key bind, through the boot Languages menu
- Firefox 19
iptables=API described in filtering
showprintbuttonAPI described in printing
- 3.8.2 Linux kernel with better hardware support
md5sum: 96ea1567db980ce1b200dd9e8881dd79 webc-18.0.iso sha1sum: 6c54fcf2d34e29766b4f480c673105b88392c326 webc-18.0.iso
Live users, please download the update from http://webconverger.com and install Webconverger 18.0.