Parental Control Lucid

Registered by Shane Fagan

Discuss implementation of a parental control application for ubuntu using Zeitgeist as the detection system.

Blueprint information

Martin Pitt
Shane Fagan
Needs approval
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Started by
Rick Spencer
Completed by
Martin Pitt

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At UDS Lucid we discussed having a simple feature for preventing login at certain times. This is different from web content filtering, but is probably much more doable:
Note that a rather more detailed parental controls discussion occurred here:
I have started a project to implement this. (
I have a blacklist editor and the backend already written (but they are not together at the moment but im working on it so it will be ready for the UDS). The program's main dependency is on Zeitgeist ( At the moment the blacklist editor uses desktop couch but I can move it to SQLite if space is an issue. The program gets the currently opened url in Firefox and the currently playing video in totem (via zeitgeist) and kills the program when blacklisted activities happen. I also have code written to display a notification and also password protection. I plan on writing a timer too but ill need to write a little extension to Firefox to tell parental control when Firefox is turned on. Also I plan on making a whitelist and also I plan to list all the rules broken in a list with the time... etc that the rules were broken.

olafura: I personally think that a Firefox extension is not the way to go because it's easy to turn it off. Shouldn't you have some mechanism on the dns level, because there are 101 ways to get around parental control. I also think these kinds of things need to be done well to be useful. I think the code is to young at the moment, just filtering "xxx" and "porn" does not work. But I think zeitgeist could be a very powerful framework for this, it just can't be the only service that does this. A quick look at open source parental control shows many projects:
Censornet seems to have image filtering also and SquidGuard has a blacklist that you should use. Maybe a combination of your work and those could be a viable solution.
In response to the firefox extension the only other option is changing Firefox's code slightly. In response to the too young argument, that isnt up to date code. The code in that branch is just the initial code made by Seif from zeitgeist. I have more up to date code on my computer but it needs a little work, it should be ready by the end of the week. The difference between my program and some of the others that you mentioned is size and cpu footprint. What I wrote is very small and isnt invasive until the rules are broken. I plan on making it "just work".
We should also implement recommend ages within the software center. So the user when viewing the info for games can see what age group it is suitable for. Its not really a priority but it would be nice.

pgoodall, 13 Nov 2009 - I think adding an appropriate age range to the data (even if optional) is a good idea. This will be especially relevant if we ever have games. Regarding the Firefox plugin, I think this is a good start. Yes, it can be disabled, but it would be appropriate for younger children that are not trying to subvert the parental controls. They just want to go to Nick Kids or Web Kins and we don't want them clicking on dodgey links they may get from others on these sites.

There is another project that comes from the Ubuntu Christian Edition project call "web content control" and is a front-end for Dan's Guardian. Although that front end is very complicated (last I checked) it is a good basis and could benefit from some additional contribution. I think it is now called GChildCare. See


Work Items