Tomasz Jokiel, one of the top developers working with the Porteus Kiosk distro, announced today that version 4.7.0 is now available. This is a full release, which means it’s available for members of the general public to download at their leisure. Porteus uses a hybrid ISO image, so technicians can burn it to USB devices and SD/MMC cards just as easily as optical media.
Since this version of the operating system uses the Linux 4.15.50 kernel, it should receive support for quite some time. Nevertheless, this marks the second release of the Gentoo-based distro this year. While version 4.6 was released only five months ago, this new edition had to be put through in order to introduce some mitigations designed to fight Spectre-related exploits.
Next generation Spectre mitigations also require microcode updates for Intel CPUs, but Linux security experts have noted that this version of the OS is much more secure than most other implementations designed for public terminal use.
As the name suggests, Porteus Kiosk is geared toward users of digital signage, informational terminals, library computers and other public display systems where it’s not a good idea to permit passersby to have any real access to the underlying operating system. This is a security field that’s gotten a fair amount of attention in the last few years, which in turn has given Porteus Kiosk plenty of publicity.
New features include a streamlined shutdown and reboot option as well as the ability to refresh web pages at a predefined time interval. This is particularly attractive to those who want to display information transmitted over the web without allowing users the chance to browse to other pages. It’s also capable of rotating the screen easily, which is important for those who have digital kiosks with portrait-oriented displays.
Those who have Intel integrated graphics will appreciate the fact that DRI3 and TearFree features are now enabled by default, which helps to reduce glitches when playing videos or scrolling text up a screen.
Even users who don’t need these extra features are still urged to update, because Porteus Kiosk 4.7.0 comes with a host of bug fixes, performance improvements and other niceties.