12.3 is another hugely exciting release for us.
A simple installer to enable the "install version"
Selecting the new installer option from the boot menu will wipe the contents of your hard disk and put Webconverger on it. This is fantastic for large installs. Since most machines come with a hard drive, you can go around armed with a USB key with 12.3 on it and get each machine converted to a public Web kiosk in 5 minutes. The speed is largely dependent on how fast the disk is.
Note that once converted (Webconverger is installed), there is no undo switch, you need to re-install the operating system on there previously. Therefore if you have any doubt, please stick with the live version. It's designed not to touch your hard drive. The live version is perfect for deployments where you might just want to turn your PC into a kiosk temporarily.
The "install version" is what version of Webconverger you get when you boot from the hard disk instead of say a USB stick or CD-ROM. The "install version" can save the configuration which now enables wireless configurations in your subscription!
If the configuration service goes down you will still be able to surf quickly
We have fixed some important issues surrounding the configuration service and
the way the client retrieves a configuration from us. If
http://config.webconverger.com/ is blocked on your network for example,
Webconverger will now timeout after 15 seconds. Previously this would take much
longer thanks to the
wget default retry behaviour that took us off guard.
We do have further issues to resolve here to make sure if our service goes down for whatever reason, it can bring up your configuration at a later stage. An install version however will have the configuration saved making it far more resilient than the live version.
There are no package changes between 12.2 & 12.3 hence there is no package
diff. Though we did manage to shed almost 200M from the previous 12.2
(containing a .git/ with all objects) release and there are
changes in the
kiosk extension to disable
about:home which could potentially be a
vector for attack and breaking out the lock down.
Being aware of risks to your privacy which we care a LOT about
We enabled updates.sh which allows us to run arbitary signed code on the client. This let me remind you is true of any other update system in any other operating system. The difference here is we are being transparent about it.
This script gives us flexibility for supporting customers, such as being able to collect logs to debug issues. Of course this is a privacy concern since we could "after the fact" install code to monitor a browsing session, which you will have to trust us, we won't do.
- You can disable this by appending
noupdatesto boot command line
- You could block http://updates.webconverger.com
How do you know what we are doing to your machine? If you know your UUID, you can visit http://updates.webconverger.com/YOUR_UUID/manifest To see what code would be run on startup.
We also added some code to check if the signing keys have been revoked, so that if something happens to the key, we can disable them to limit any potential "what if these keys fell in the wrong hands" scenarios.
If you think we have made a mistake with our security approach or it can be better, please let us know.
The significance of the "install version"
The "install version" means we can write to your disk, save configurations and in the future keep you better updated, making your users happier and safer.