Desktop software changes public computing

Published on 09/11/2008

By Fredrick Obura

A personal computer is designed for a single trusted user. However, in a public computing environment, the challenge lies in serving different untrusted users, and this makes a computer prone to variable threats.

“Userful Desktop is software operating on open source platform. It offers complete solutions to public computing,” says Eric Magutu, the system analyst Mullard electronics.

He says the software provides central management computer boxes, keyboards, mice and USB floppy drives enabling up to ten users work from a single computer.

“Normally ordinary tasks like web browsing, checking email, and working with office documents make it possible to share a single computer among 10 users” he adds.

Userful Desktop is a complete computing solution that lets one manage, supervise, and multiply personal computers. It is useful for libraries, cyber cafÈs, Government agencies, universities, colleges and community centres.


The software comes with a package that includes more than 40 applications supporting different languages like Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese. The administrator has the privilege to select language on the welcome screen.

Applications offered include, full office suite, Internet browser, word processor, spread sheet and project manager. The multimedia access for instance allows users transfer files to and from digital cameras and record any data.

Userful Desktop is locked-down and tamper-proof. When a user logs off, the station is cleared of browser histories and downloaded files. Privacy is guaranteed.

“It provides savings by reducing the number of computer boxes that need to be purchased and maintained,” says Magutu.

“The security safeguards are built in so your desktops are unbreakable and hacker-proof, when a user logs off, the station is cleared of browser histories and downloaded files, it will guarantee privacy,” he explains.

Features like simple remote management system makes it easy to control and customise a personal computer, helping to save time and money. The web-based control panel allows the administrator to make changes to a particular station or a group of stations from any web browser.

“However when one or more users load large applications into active memory, other users may notice a momentarily delay in mouse response,” cautions Magutu.

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