Our customers let us know about problems running Webconverger on the new hardware of:

Issues were LAN networking and video issues. This is a typical symptom of a new Intel hardware generation, namely the 7th generation. We have been a little fortunate that customers generally run our operating system on older hardware, somewhat reducing these sorts of issues. Recently Intel announced 8th generation.

Unfortunately each new hardware generation requires new drivers. I wish it didn't, but Intel's drivers do not seem to be always forward compatible. In the Linux ecosystem, this means an updated kernel and often Xorg drivers to support the new PC generation.

In Debian on which Webconverger is based, to get the latest kernel, you need to often do an entire distribution upgrade. Since Debian releases are typically frozen four years apart, it can be quite a challenging upgrade path!

We don't start from scratch, like re-installing a fresh copy of Windows. The reason why is that we are keen to keep the differences down using our git maintained rootfs. Though over time the position might become untenable. We've endeavoured to seamlessly support upgrades for our customer base, but the problem is... it's often a crazy amount of work. Tedious work that is manual and requiring a lot of test hardware. Worse is... work that often goes completely unnoticed!

The transition from Debian 8 (Jessie) to Debian 9 (Stretch) was an enormously stressful for me and I am thankful Matthijs Kooijman did such a great job. I laboriously ran as many tests as I could...

On 2017-09-06 I merged the 25805 file changes and I haven't had any negative feedback so far... However the now leader of Debian project has noticed I have broken reproducible builds. I will fix it or again contract someone to do it, since I am super busy.

To conclude, we have now taken many users through three major versions of Debian. I'm celebrating this release, the one you don't notice. ;)

Posted 2017-09-10

Firefox as the choice browser for the x86 version in Webconverger is fast becoming in doubt. Reasons are:

  1. Unable to lock down Firefox
  2. Media playback has become a mess thanks to DRM

Unable to lock down Firefox

For over 10 years, all the crazy malfeatures Mozilla have introduced have been turned off via their extension/addon API and preferences. The webconverger-addon is a key component to Webconverger and without it, Firefox would be absolutely unusable and unsafe in a kiosk or Enterprise environment (think public banking).

Over the years extensions have become increasingly difficult to debug/develop , require signing and after Firefox 52 are likely to completely replaced by the incompatible WebExtensions.

Furthermore WebExtensions as it stands, appears to not have the APIs to lock down Firefox. It's unclear how long "legacy" addon API will be supported by Mozilla.

Media playback

Some Webconverger customers have their homepage set to Spotify for example. Spotify's Web interface used to require Adobe Flash which is distributed in Webconverger and that worked fine as a UX.

Spotify's new way with Firefox of playing back protected content is to click "Enable DRM" & download a three megabyte Widevine CDM binary and execute it. Even if I permitted this extremely questionable form of distribution, it does not appear to work.

Therefore I am tempted to tell my customers who require to playback DRM content, that we cannot service them.

The future

Thankfully there is ... one other opensource browser to choose, but I am very reluctant to choose it. I fear if everyone runs derived Webkit, the open Web which I have personally strived for most of my adult life will be doomed.

Of course switching to would not be easy. Various elements like the powerful prefs API will have to go with Firefox, though a minority of Webconverger customers use that and probably less rely upon it.

To conclude, I am thankful for Firefox, they have had a good run and they probably do need to let their software die to re-invent itself. However this means turbulent times for Webconverger. I fear we will be distributing a "security unsupported" browser for a period of time before a good solution can be found. Thankfully the security design of Webconverger does reduce the risk of exploits by keeping sessions isolated.

Webconverger as a company will endeavour to manage this complex change, to be as seamless as possible for customers, so customers almost do not notice a browser change.

Posted 2017-04-14

Webconverger was started because I couldn't trust those terminals and kiosks in public spaces to browse the Web.

I trust my work because I had a hand in building it, though there are some technical features which may convince you to trust it too.

First every commit is made publicly on Github. You can see me transparently make changes. You can verify every changed file. Every upstream file is a binary built by Debian, Mozilla & for flash, Adobe, again you can verify that using file checksums.

However how can you infer that the head of Webconverger git repository corresponds to an ISO release you downloaded which you would use to deploy to your hardware?

Previously you would have to trust the checksum I provided on the release page, but if you built Webconverger yourself, you would get a different checksum. A different checksum should make you suspicious that something nefarious was inserted in the build pipeline.

But why were the checksums different if you built this ISO yourself? Because the build chain would typically use the current date and when bundled up, the checksum is different. Chris Lamb has fixed this and now you can too can produce independently verifiable ISO builds of Webconverger. This security feature is called reproducible builds.

I must admit we owe the motivation to achieve this was due to Mozilla sponsoring Tails to do so. Webconverger achieved this feature before Tails, at a lower cost, funded by paying Webconverger subscribers. If you like our work, please tell your {school,office,company} IT department that this is the very best Web kiosk software.

The build system has been improved to use a third party continuous integration process at The finished builds are uploaded to Since everything now is automated, much like the automatic updates do once Webconverger is installed on read/write medium, there is no need for releases anymore. Hence the x86 download button on the Webconverger homepage is set to

Posted 2016-11-26

From our last release 24,481 changed files:

Please fetch from our Fastly powered download. The sha1sum is 4e5589fa7b35b967b4ad884dd72aa8981a144ba0 webc-35.1.iso.

Kickstart Webconverger

From yesterday, configuring a device requires payment authorisation. The new Stripe based billing system should make it painless for new subscribers who have just one or two machines to purchase a subscription. If you do encounter a problem, please email support.

The trial is 30 days and the initial price is 9.99USD a month. Our pricing is flexible and for large deployments and for the likes of non-profits and charities, we ask you please to get in contact with

We are hoping this new revenue stream will give us the resources to tackle our issue list, improve the Raspberry PI & Android versions and grow.

Is Webconverger free?

Webconverger will always be opensource, meaning you can check out the source code and fork Webconverger. Unconfigured it's still the best operating system to surf privately in my opinion.

There is no such thing as free of cost software. Since 2007 I've been working on Webconverger, mostly part time alongside my full time employment. Configured Webconverger is a paid product with a 30 day free trial and the revenue will go into engineering a better kiosk & Web signage system.

New start with subscriptions

Webconverger's value is to give IT managers a streamlined tool to provide the Web in non-personal spaces so the public, students or business employees can access the Web privately and securely. Every commit we make is transparent & open. We ensure everything is patched, locked down and even go through lengths to packet sniff our software to ensure there are no leaks. Then we test Webconverger and test it again, and provide timely support.

If you or your company share our values, please subscribe to our service, that makes small and large deployments of Web browsers manageable and secure.

Posted 2016-05-19

SSL by Lets Encrypt in Webconverger

With the arrival of free SSL certificates from Lets Encrypt, together with a kind offer from Fastly CDN (locations) to help distribute Webconverger since we are an opensource project, we are now serving our ISO over SSL from If there is a download problem, please get in touch & try this backup.

So serving over SSL greatly reduces the chance of some malicious actor intercepting your connection to our server and giving you a corrupt version of our ISO. That's never happened to our knowledge, though why not make it even less likely going into the future?! The sha256sum is:

a3d71fbd55d4eac2f65ceeefff557f57ab3b76e41ecd25d00c69b65c0d522667  webc-34.0.iso
2d7a9d6f2a4ec3cc48926f2362d86485e1080169e4940ad187be4b9b5bccf57a  webc-34.0.txt

Updates include:

Please follow @webconverger on twitter for the very latest news.

Future plans

  • We hope to move to systemd-networkd for the next release. This should shave seconds off boot times.
  • We have someone new taking maintainership of the Rpi2 version, so expect some updates in the near future
  • Keep absolutely rock solid & security patched for your business processes to run smoothly on the open Web!
  • Please support our ongoing work by purchasing a subscription
Posted 2016-02-20

Webconverger 33 release

This is very solid & stable release that businesses all around the world should be deploying Web applications with.

The sha256sum for the image available for download on the CDN is:

b33927b80799cb874d30faf72488dde173716abe3658c48c267417344fcfe942  webc-33.1.iso

For those "power" system administrators, to celebrate the latest Wireshark release 2.0, here is a capture with homepage=about:blank. This should re-assure deployers that we keeping network noise to a minimum for your privacy and security.

Posted 2015-11-24

Today Google have announced the chromebit with Single App CDM mode aka Chrome OS for kiosks which Webconverger has offered for several years now via

Google are charging 24USD a year for the service where we sell the service for 200USD one off (bulk discounts available!). Over the 7+ years we've offered commercial services supplying kiosk & signage OS software, our customers tell us they much prefer the one off cost since it's easier to budget for. Hardware wise, currently our full featured flagship product using the Firefox browser is PC only. Chrome OS is generally locked to particular hardware. We did make an effort to support the Raspberry Pi2, though recently efforts have somewhat stalled due a Broadcom graphics issue with Webkit2.

Besides the differences outlined in ChromeOS versus Webconverger, we do not allow remote screen grabs as we think it can violate user privacy. We also cannot tell how our kiosk is used, since we do not log the surfing session like out competitors do. We believe it is upto the configured homepage to determine how it was used.

So to summarise, we ask you to please consider Webconverger on PC as an alternative to Google Chrome OS on Chromebit with Single App CDM since:

  • Webconverger is more transparent
  • Webconverger cares more about privacy
  • Webconverger is not Google. We do not depend on any Google service.
  • We will not upsell you any Google service
  • Supporting our work, will be indirectly support work for cheaper ARM based hardware support

Please ask us for an alternative kiosk quote where you can use your existing PC supplier/stock instead of being locked into the Google ecosystem.

Posted 2015-11-18

Prompted by the disturbing privacy defaults in Windows 10 and an enquiry whether Webconverger leaked any intranet information, we reviewed Firefox defaults.

This review was accomplished with Wireshark, a tool that allows us to analyse every packet leaving and entering a Webconverger instance.

Strictly speaking these Firefox defaults don't leak any private information and elements like safe browsing should give an extra layer of malware protection, but in practice the network noise generated by these services are too risky for security. Some future exploit could masquerade as one of the services we turned off and it would have been very difficult to have noticed it otherwise. Furthermore "Safe browsing" doesn't really have value when a typical Webconverger deployment is locked on a customer's homepage.

So our quiet defaults from version 32 can be overridden by your own Firefox preferences with our prefs= API to turn them back on for example.

Webconverger 32 with non-noisy defaults and ...

As mentioned what was coming next in Webconverger 31 release, we did make boots a few seconds faster by closing #220! for details and Firefox 41 is included.

c3c1ee4c594b50557ffdca62d56ff1e4b8bb106c  webc-32.0.iso

Please download from our CDN. Please support our continued operation by purchasing a subscription.

No user tracking

In the course of comparing privacy defaults with our Windows competitors such as Kioware and SiteKiosk, we did notice disturbingly they have features to log where kiosk users surf to.

We don't and by design can't log user activity from our end for privacy reasons. What we suggest customers do, is track the kiosk from their Web analytics platform:


You could then use that expanded WEBCID for tracking the particular kiosk on your site. Of course that strategy only applies to Web sites the kiosk owner controls.

If you, the kiosk owner wanted to know how many visits a kiosk user makes of for example Gmail, we can't tell you! Competitors allow you to do that, but we don't because we don't want to infringe on the privacy of Webconverger users. If you, the kiosk owner, don't want your kiosk users to go on other Websites, you need to use one of our filtering options or simply use our user interface without a URL bar option.

We hope that our policy gives users more confidence to use Webconverger branded kiosks in public spaces, since their privacy will be respected if they are permitted by kiosk owners to surf private Web sites.

Posted 2015-09-25

UK to Singapore

tl;dr We are closing the UK entity in favour of operating exclusively via the Singapore entity which (almost) all customers have already been using for the last couple of years. All assets have (or will be) transferred to the Singapore entity. This does not effect our regular use of the MIT license. Business as usual!

As mentioned in the acknowledgements of Webconverger, the opensource kiosk project was founded by myself Kai Hendry in February 2007 and then in September 2007 formed as a private limited company (Company No. 6366403) in the UK.

In 2012 I decided to move to Singapore largely due to my now wife and I incorporated a Singapore entity on the 4th May 2012 (Company No. 201211208C). I did this at the time mainly to help myself get a visa, to stay long term in Singapore. Unfortunately as a small business, the EntrePass assumes you have received some venture capital and I've long decided not to take Webconverger down that "get big or go bust" road.

Nonetheless as my confidence grew I moved more and more accounts to Singapore. Having the money in Singapore obviously helps with paying the bills without transferring money back and forth. In the meantime the upkeep of the UK business became more and more tiring.

Seemingly never a couple of months would pass without the need to be made aware of new HMRC or European regulation. It's frustrating that HMRC can't communicate directly with businesses online in 2015 and that silly European tax laws came into force. To keep up with regulation I needed to pay an accountant at least 1500GBP a year to complete corporate and personal tax returns.

For those of you interested in doing business in Singapore, the costs of running a business are roughly the same as the UK, especially since you need to nominate a local director here as a foreigner. There is a tax honeymoon period, but that soon expires and you will be paying roughly the same UK tax corporate rate of ~20%. With especially the European Commission's VATMOSS in mind, yes it is easier to run a software company in Singapore than in the UK. And the weather is a lot better!

I would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and support, and I look forward to serving you long into the future wherever you or I may be physically located. That said, if any of my customers are passing through Singapore, please get in touch! -Kai (Managing Director)

Posted 2015-09-17

Update: ChromeOS is being merged into Android news brings uncertainty and change. Choose stability with Webconverger instead!

Webconverger's main competitor especially in the K12 school (assessments) market is Google with their Google Chrome OS aka Chrome{books,box} product, which is typically sold as a hardware and software bundle.

It's high time to post an update on a 6 year old Comparing Google Chrome OS blog, which demonstrated that we had support for inexpensive Netbook category of PCs and speculated what Google would do. Six years later and Google are domineering.

To summarise; the main advantages that Webconverger has over Google are:

  • Simpler, less is more. Less things to understand and we provide great customer service if you get stuck!
  • No lock-in as opposed to Google Cloud Print, specific hardware, (App) extensions & other office related services upsell... these are all proprietary ways for Google to lock you into their solution
  • We don't try to own your users, we don't ask users to login or register!

The products are comparable

Webconverger actually started before Google did, in 2007:


Google recently became somewhat transparent with their pricing. We too offer discounts, and based upon their resellers perpetual license page they charge 150USD whilst we charge 200USD.

ChromeOS pricing 2015

ChromeOS's perpetual Licenses seem analogous to our One off subscriptions. Like us they also do annual subscriptions, but oddly limited to North America. They charge 50USD per year and we currently charge 100USD.

We want to be competitive, so do please ask sales for a quote to beat.


The hardware is difficult to directly compare since they design their own hardware and subsidise it accordingly. For example a Chromebook at 250USD is a good price, though you need to remember you are effectively locked to running Google software on that hardware, limiting your choice and making your switching cost very high.

Webconverger does not design hardware. We focus on supplying software that will run on any PC. This broadens your hardware choice and software choices too. Have old PC stock you want to deploy Webconverger to? No problem. What to run in Virtualbox? No problem with Webconverger.

Google's embrace, extend and extinguish... via extensions

One of our system integrators reports why he chose Webconverger:

  1. The Chrome feature to allow a user to sign in to the browser itself is inappropriate in shared use environments. In practice users frequently forget to sign out! - Webconverger prevents this user misbehavior completely.

  2. Installing Chrome Extensions is quickly becoming a 'go to' way for malicious actors to get malware onto endpoints even without Admin rights and again Webconverger prevents this from becoming an issue.

  3. One other thing to note is that malicious Chrome Extensions 'follow' the Google user account from computer to computer. Any malicious Extensions must be deleted in the user account itself which adds to Administrator workload.

  4. Simply closing all tabs to get a fresh session is much faster than the login/logout required on a fat client.

In the education environment Webconverger rocks!

What is the price of freedom?

We do currently charge a little bit more for our software. However running unconfigured or trialling our configuration management with several machines for a week or two is free of cost. As a business supporting an opensource product, we want to attract and invoice large deployments. Deployments where choice, privacy and openness about the way their clients get on the Web are important. They choose Webconverger.

Please contact sales for a competitive quote!

Posted 2015-08-03