What do i need for a simple, multi app, kiosk?

Hello everyone !
i’m slowly building my smart home project, and i have to finish the kitchen “tablet”.
it’s a 10 inch tactile screen stuck to the table without keyboard. it’s powered by as raspberry and right now, it don’t have any ui whatsoever (raspbian without desktop)

My goal it to have something like this (made under paint, sorry) :

The ruing app would be maximized, without top/menu bare, or anything (like if run as it from X)
by swiping from the bottom, i can show or hide a dock bare with the graphical application, this need to go over anything, and when i select and application, it need to replace the old one full screen.
This should be “unbreakable” from the UI, because it will be use by “techcursed” people.

I know a lot of windows manager, both that stack or tile, but all of theme are desktop grade, what i need it much simple.
Here are my question :

  1. Do i need a windows manager in order to achieve this ? can’t the X server be enough ?
  2. If i do, what should i go for, not wanting anything more that this.

Thank for your time, if it wasn’t clear enough, i’ll be happy to specified.

What you need is a progressive web app, and use the qutebrowser. No DE required, a WM is enough. And it has similar bindings like i3, so once you set it up to autorun on load you should never have to touch the device again.

Sadly, and my bad for not specifying it, the app i need to run aren’t browser based. For now i plan on running jvlite (ui for squeezebox), some kind of Firefox for recipe and stuff, and a qt based home application. But in the end i really need it to be able to run anything i could ever need, so i can’t be “stuck” to web-app, event with them being everywhere now day.
i know i3 a bit, i tried it before, but i don’t know if it’s not “to powerful” for my need.

Thank’s for the sugestion

Personally I would use a minimal xorg + dwm (or i3 if you haven’t used dwm) install. Then add some kind of bar like lemonbar and write a tiny program which will run in the background and show or hide the bar when a swipe is registered.

If you don’t want to write your own swipe checking program and want to simply use a bar that can detect that itself. Check out Plank, Docky, and Cairo. I haven’t used them myself, but I’ve heard they’re quite powerful and at least one of them probably has some option to show or hide with a swipe up.

Lastly you were mentioning not using a window manager. Technically that’s doable, here’s a link that shows how, but it’s a good bit of work and depending on your skill level it might be better to use i3 or dwm.

EDIT: As for how to specifically use i3 or dwm. The way I would do it is editing your window managers config “file” to disable all of the bindings and the bar that comes with i3. Have it load all of the programs you want to switch between into different workspaces. Then finally using your bar have a few buttons to just switch between the workspaces. (With each program having a dedicated workspace and button on the bar)

Obviously if these are games or something this might not be optimal as you’d instead want to kill the current program and launch the new one. Either way it shouldn’t be too tricky.

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That’s a good idea, i was thinking of plank to limit the work, but the idea of dedicated workspaces is pretty cool, i completely forgot about

I have looked at your link, and it intrigue me. i might try it just for the sake of it on a vm.
Thank’s a lot

any other idea are welcome !

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I3 (or similar lightweight) with Plank might be a good way to go.

Just be aware that if this is for consumers/end users you’ll want to make absolutely sure that it looks good.

indeed, it’s for family use, including wife and mother … soooooo :3 it have to be WAF ^^

Sorry to dig this up, But i had to put the project in standby … and put setting up backup first. (shame)

i started working on it this week, and i found out that plank can’t (or not easily at least) run over i3. The tiling windows manager does have a floating mod, but it’s just not made for it.

So i’m back to square 1, looking for a windows manager that could allow me to fully configure, and who can easily handle thing like plank dock or a popup virtual keyboard.

Any idea ?

Try Openbox?

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(I know I’m just digging this back up again, but here goes)

I’d second openbox as it’s intended to be used as a floating window manager. Then you could for instance have the applications all launch maximized and then plank can be used to essentially alt-tab, or rather bring to the top, the running applications.

If openbox fails to work the next step up in terms of bloat is xfwm from xfce (You don’t need to install the full desktop environment, but can instead just use the xfwm tool on its own) It will work in a similar way to openbox, but xfwm will certainly support plank and your popup keyboard programs.

Hell if you’re feeling really lazy and want this working right now just install full on xfce then make it autorun the applications you need. Then make programs launch as a full window by default (in settings under window manager I think). Finally just setup plank (and your virtual keyboard program) and remove the xfce panels plus disable right click on the desktop. (not the cleanest solution by any means, but it’ll be completely stable and working in under an hour)

Though openbox is a much more optimal solution.


Lots of good suggestions in this thread. You can also do exactly this with GNOME 3 and Dash to Dock.

  1. Auto-login to desktop (if you are okay with that)
  2. Dash-to-dock, configured to display on bottom (use GNOME Tweak Tool)
  3. If your apps don’t have desktop entries, easy enough to create and then pin to the menu and unpin the things you don’t want

It looks like Dash to Dock is having some issues with gesture control; hard for me to say how well it works or doesn’t work.

When I read your title, I was going to suggest you take a look at Fedora Silverblue (formerly Atomic Workstation) as I assumed you meant some sort of public kiosk. The idea with this particular release is that the entire OS is delivered in snapshots, and you update with delta snapshots. The root file system tree is read only and all apps are containerized.

Anyway, you don’t need that… but I still wanted to drop some ideas. :wink: