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Public Use Question

General topics related to Rainmeter.
cedarfive
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Joined: May 24th, 2011, 1:09 pm

Public Use Question

Post by cedarfive »

I work at a public school was wondering what licensing issues may arise (if any) if Rainmeter were looked at for use on school computers? Is the base install with it's bundled skin open for use? What about the art or custom skins? Are there any guides to locking Rainmeter down so that changes to it cannot be made by a standard user?

Thank you.
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jsmorley
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Re: Public Use Question

Post by jsmorley »

The base Rainmeter and skins that come with it are completely open source, and there could never be an issue with using them in any circumstance. Skins that you get from here or deviantART or other places that are by 3rd party authors are virtually always free and open to use, but may have some restrictions if you modify them and redistribute. Generally the restriction would be on redistributing a skin for profit, or making modifications and claiming to be the author without giving appropriate attribution. Always check to see if there is a license associated with a skin on deviantART or Customize.org, and check any "readme" files with the skin.

To be honest though, using Rainmeter and just about any skin you get from anywhere is going to be perfectly fine in a public school setting from the standpoint of Rainmeter and the skin authors. The only thing you might want to be certain of is that the school's administration is ok with you installing software that isn't on some "approved" list. I'm sure this varies from district to district or maybe even school to school, so it wouldn't hurt to ask.

As to locking it down, that is going to be a bit of a challenge as the skins are plain text files that can easily be edited. You are probably going to want to take one of two approaches. You can either store the skins on a central file server with no write access by the students, and set the SkinPath= in the Rainmeter.ini file to point to this location, or install Rainmeter using the "portable" option in the installer on their computers, and on some periodic basis just delete that portable folder and put a fresh copy there. That will overwrite any changes they might make. I would lean toward the second, as trying to lock things down on the front end can cause some issues with Rainmeter functionality (if the "user" does not have reasonable access rights on the computer using it, some things won't work right) and rather than making it a game to break your security, just nuke the setup and reinstall it once in a while.

If you want specific help on locking it down, feel free to ask further questions and we are happy to help.
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Chewtoy
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Re: Public Use Question

Post by Chewtoy »

Rainmeter is released under a GNU GPLv2 licence.
Read the link to get a full understanding of it, but it pretty much boils down to that you are allowed to modify it, play with it, distribute it as long as you keep the GPLv2 license (read the whole of it though, if you really don't want to get in to legal problems).

As for the skins it is up to the authors to choose what license they want. Personally I distribute all my skins under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0, but like I said, it is all up to the author to decide what license to use.
If you are not sure about what license a skin has you should simply not distribute it without asking the author (actually, the best way is to always ask the author).
The standard illustro skin is CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 as well btw. So you can use is safely.
Meaning - You can use the standard download pretty much however you like as long as you give credit when credit is due and don't change the license of it.

Locking Rainmeter is not all that easy to be honest. It's not made to be unchangeable, you are meant to tinker with it till your hearts content, but not to lock it.
Having said that, there are some ways to make it harder to change how Rainmeter is set up.
After setting all your skins in the correct position, you can set them to "click through" so you can't get the menu (you will not be able to use click actions with this).
Then in Rainmeter.ini (%appdata%\Rainmeter\Rainmeter.ini) you can change it so Rainmeter does not display a tray icon. So you can't get that menu either. This way the only way to change the skins running is to go to Rainmeter.ini and type it in. http://rainmeter.net/cms/Settings-Rainmeter_beta (TrayIcon=0)

Then you will somehow have to keep people from accessing Rainmeter.ini but still let Rainmeter do it and making sure they are not able to change the skins themeslves. And that one I can't help you with, but there you have it. :)


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cedarfive
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Joined: May 24th, 2011, 1:09 pm

Re: Public Use Question

Post by cedarfive »

Thank you for the excellent info. I had thought Rainmeter was generally open source and there wouldn't be any issues in a not-for-profit environment, but wanted to check.

The recommendations for locking it down are great. Hiding the tray icon would be a necessity. Would there be any issues with making the ini's read only for users? That way, they could never make any changes even if they could somehow get into a view that displayed settings.
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Chewtoy
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Re: Public Use Question

Post by Chewtoy »

cedarfive wrote:Would there be any issues with making the ini's read only for users? That way, they could never make any changes even if they could somehow get into a view that displayed settings.
I don't think so. As long as there is no SetVariable- or WriteKeyValue-bang I don't see why Rainmeter would dislike Read-only.
I know that you can have your skins in a DropBox (Sarge has is set up like that I belive), so if you access that without write permissions I think it should work.
Will let some dev chime in on this though. But as far as I can see, from a user standpoint, I don't see why it wouldn't work.
I don't think, therefore I'm not.
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santa_ryan
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Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 4:11 am

Re: Public Use Question

Post by santa_ryan »

Read only inis are fine

The only issue that arises is from making Rainmeter.ini in the appsdata folder (or the install folder in portable mode) a readonly file, as rainmeter uses that to update config information and store statistical data. But that too can be made readonly, and rainmeter will only whine (that im aware of). You will want to ask the devs if the rainmeter.ini update stuff can be turned off.

As for any custom skins that you download from other sites, it will depend on what the author says. While the rainmeter program is open source, the skins users make are still their property. If they share it under creative commons (Which most do), or some other open license, then its typically fine as long as you abide by the license (Share alike, non commericial, credits, etc.). However, if your truly worried, diving into skin building is easier then one thinks. It's also much easier to mess with if a bug arises, as the one who builds the skin knows it best, and you don't have to wait for an update from the author (if he/she even decides to update it).

As for Morleys suggestion of nuking the files once and a while manually (annoying), or creating a simple task in task scheduler that starts a batch file, which deletes the rainmeter folder on desktops at midnight every night (or whenever, as long as its on a regular basis) and then copies a fresh skins folder from the local school server (Much better), is a great. Also, having something that sporadically goes in and deletes the skins folder will prevent any kids from just learning the schedule, making backups, then replacing the fresh folder with their backup.

Just my 2 cents :great:
Anyway... Have fun with Rainmeter. :thumbup:
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