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I currently have a web driven application set that I would like to roll out on the Raspberry Pi for our production floor. I have a couple of questions regarding the Raspberry PI as a viable replacement for the desktops in our organization.

  1. How is the Raspberry PI performance for MVVM HTML 5 web application set (Note that this is more a data driven application set and not graphic intensive but the data calculations might get complex on client side and is largely JSON Driven Data Sets)?
  2. Is it possible to lock the OS down to only show the web browser in a production based environment and not allow the user to use the browser for any other purposes?
  3. Can I use something like SUSE Studio to create a custom OS which consists of just a web browser?

Any Reference documentation would be greatly appreciated and or advice as how I can roll out these devices for a production environment.

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  1. Unless the app is written carefully it will probably be really slow (like 300MHz pentium slow)

  2. Only to a degree. The user has physical access, so hard to stop a determined individual. Usually it's better to block it at the firewall.

  3. Obviously an OS is more than a web browser. Technically you could run a web browser without an OS, but I don't know of any. It's possible to lock down the desktop as much as any other OS if you have the knowledge.

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I agree in general with gnibbler. It will work but it will very noticeably under-perform a desktop. For what it actually costs (< 10% of a cheap cheap box), it's great, but keep in mind it doesn't cost much.

Vis, doing things with the OS (browser kiosk, etc), linux is extremely (and easily) malleable -- hence stuff like SUSE Studio, which is linux based. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely to work on the pi as the vanilla kernel source needs some tweaking first, and I do not think SUSE has such a version for the pi.

The primary general purpose pi distros are versions of Debian (raspbian), Fedora (pidora), and Arch. However, the fundamentals of these (and SUSE) are identical in most respects. I mention this because you could always buy a pi, configure it to do what you want, then if you decide the pi hardware isn't good enough, you can easily transfer your configuration to a normal desktop platform using whatever medium -- hard drive, usb stick, dvd, network, etc.

Conversely, you could also try and create what you want using a general purpose distro on a desktop and, if that suits you, get a pi and try that configuration there.

Another option involving the pi would be to use it as a thin client; a decent desktop used as a headless server for this should be able to run web apps for at least half a dozen of them that way (while all the pi has to do is present the GUI), but more expertise would be required to set it all up.

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