How to Set Up an Ubuntu Computer for Patron Use: A Quick Start Guide

Step One: Download Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS

Ubuntu is one of the main versions of Linux and is put out by Canonical, Ltd. Ubuntu 14.04.4 (known as Trusty Tahr) is the Long Term Support version of Ubuntu, which Canonical guarantees they will support with security and maintenance updates for five years.

Download it here:


Step Two: Create an Ubuntu install disc

Create an install disc from the downloaded Ubuntu installer.

Learn how to do that here:


Step Three: Change your boot order

Access your computer’s BIOS and change the boot order so that your computer knows to start up from the install disc. Learn how to do that here:


Step Four: Install Ubuntu

Follow the on-screen instructions.


Step Five: Customize the Guest Session

Add a new administrative user called “guest-prefs”

Log into guest-prefs and set up the account to be the way you want for your patrons

Open a terminal window and enter:

sudo mkdir /etc/guest-session

sudo ln -s /home/guest-prefs /etc/guest-session/skel


Step Six: Hide the Grub2 Menu

Open a terminal window and enter:

gedit /etc/default/grub

A window will open up. Modify the relevant lines to match the following:






Step Seven: Modify LibreOffice to use Microsoft Office formats

Note: you need to be logged in as guest-prefs in order for these changes to affect your guest session users.

Open LibreOffice. In the TOOLS menu, select OPTIONS. In LOAD/SAVE, select GENERAL. Under “default file format and ODF settings,” select a document type from the “document type” drop down menu and match it with the corresponding file format in the “always save as” drop down menu, as follows:

Document Type: Text Document

Always Save As: Microsoft Word 2007/2010/2013 XML

Document Type: Spreadsheet

Always Save As: Microsoft Excel 2007/2010/2013 XML

Document Type: Presentation

Always Save As: Microsoft PowerPoint 2007/2010/2013 XML

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