Bill Ott is the Information Systems Manager for the Grand Rapids Public Libraries. He has been using Linux and free Unix variants since 1994. He used his Dell laptop running Red Hat Fedora Core 3 with OpenOffice.org Impress & KLUG’s SVGA projector to make his presentation. Part of the presentation was done with the actual ISM v4.0 software. He told us what the GRPL needed, what tools were used, how they did it, how it evolved, and what is ahead. GRPL uses The Internet Station Manager v4.0 to control 99 personal computers in 8 buildings on their network that are used by the public for internet access. Not only does it provide user authentication and access control, it manages the user session time rules too. The software handles 16,000 to 20,000 user sessions per month. The ISM server runs on the FreeBSD operating system.
The tools used in The Internet Station Manager v4.0 are the Apache web server & mod_perl, MySQL database, and the operating system’s firewall control ability.
How does it work? ISM forwards HTTP traffic to the local server via the forwarding firewall rules. Authorizes client and authenticates user. Opens the firewall to gateway traffic. Re-inserts the forwarding firewall rule upon session conclusion. There was an even more detailed technical explanation given in addition. ISM includes wireless access too.
Bill showed us the program including both the user and the administration interface with functions. His hopes for ISM in the future include full desktop control, more contributed code, CVS, and even CPAN.
The Development Page - The Internet Station Manager http://www.grpl.org/ism There are other uses for this software in addition to managing public internet PC's at a library. Check ISM out and see if you can think of a few possible network control applications. Open Source software for public libraries is a super idea. Released under the general public license (GPL), of course. Public demonstrations of this Open Source software are added proof that the non-proprietary tool set will deliver solid secure solutions. (14 Linux Enthusiasts Attending)