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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Launch Web Browsers In Kiosk Mode (Full Screen) From CLI

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Some times you might want to run an application (especially a web application) 24/7 in full-screen mode. In this guide, we will see how to launch web browsers in kiosk mode (full screen) from command line in Linux.

In big shopping malls you might have noticed a Computer monitor, usually hanged on a wall, displays a specific application in full screen all day, every day. Not just in malls, you might have seen this in many places, such as Restaurants, Libraries, and Public transportation etc. You will not see the desktop or the OS, but only the app running in fullscreen or kiosk mode. Running the apps in kiosk mode provides an easy-to-understand experience for the users by putting in front of them only the things they need to use, and removing from their view the things they don’t need to access.

You could, of course, simply hit the F11 key to display the browser in full screen. However, you need to manually do it every time after launching the browser. By running browser in Kiosk mode, the app will automatically launch in full screen. The users can’t bring it back to normal window by pressing F11 key.

When you run browsers in Kiosk mode,

  • you will not see the desktop or OS details,
  • the X (close) button will be hidden,
  • F11 key will not work,
  • the menu bars, tool bars will not be visible,
  • the status bar at the bottom will not be visible.
  • the right-click context menu won’t work.
  • the destination links will not visible when hovering over links.

Launch Web Browsers In Kiosk Mode (Full Screen) From CLI

For the purpose of this guide, we will see how to launch Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome and its open source version Chromium in kiosk mode.

Run Mozilla Firefox in Kiosk mode

To run Mozilla Firefox in kiosk mode or full-screen, simply run the following command from the Terminal:

$ firefox -kiosk https://ostechnix.com

You can also use double dashes (–) for kiosk option.

$ firefox --kiosk https://ostechnix.com

Replace the URL with your own. Now the web browser will open the given website in full-screen mode. The address bar, menu bar, tool bar and status bar will not be visible. You can’t use to F11 key to bring the browser back to normal mode. The browser will keep running until you press ALT+F4 key to manually close the browser window.

If the above command doesn’t work, try the following command:

$ firefox --kiosk --app=https://ostechnix.com

You can also start a private browser window (incognito) in Kiosk mode like below:

$ firefox -kiosk -private-window https://ostechnix.com

Run Google Chrome / Chromium in Kiosk mode

To run Google Chrome or Chromium browsers in Kiosk mode, do:

$ google-chrome -kiosk https://ostechnix.com
$ chromium-browser -kiosk https://ostechnix.com

Similarly, you can launch a private browser window using commands:

$ google-chrome -kiosk -private-window https://ostechnix.com
$ chromium-browser -kiosk -private-window https://ostechnix.com

If you can’t start Chrome/Chromium in Kiosk mode using above commands, try the following command instead:

$ google-chrome --kiosk --app=https://ostechnix.com
$ chromium-browser --kiosk --app=https://ostechnix.com

Disable screen lock and power saving

If you want to run your system in Kiosk mode, you need to prevent the screen from automatically turning off or going idle after a specific time.

In GNOME desktops, the screen will go blank after 5 minutes of inactivity. To disable the Screen lock, go to Settings -> Privacy -> Screen Lock and set “Never” for Blank Screen Delay option. Also disable Automatic Screen Lock option and disable notifications on Lock screen.

And then go to Settings -> Power section and disable “Dim Screen When Inactive” option and set “Never” for Blank Screen option.

If you are running any third-party app indicators, or screensaver applications, you need to disable them as well.

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