Steps to setup a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian to boot into a full screen web browser, hiding mouse pointer, disabling screen saver. Includes installing additional fonts and putting the browser in kiosk mode.
Running full screen browser on boot
This is part of a series on running a browser full screen on a Raspberry Pi at boot.
The most current version is here:
Raspberry Pi Full Screen Browser (2020-05-27-raspios-buster)
One of the primary usages of the Raspberry Pi for many (myself included) has been to drive digital signage and dashboards.
It is cheap, has HDMI output and lower power, all great characteristics for a display.
Hardware: Raspberry Pi 1 B, 2 B and 3 B
OS: Raspbian Jessie With Pixel November 2016 (Release date 2016-11-25)
Full OS updates as of 2016-12-28
Step 1: Install Raspbian
Rather then re-hash how to install Raspbian on a SD / MicroSD, please see the official instructions.
Step 2: Configure Raspbian
By default Raspbian boots into the Pixel desktop, which is what we want. However we want to set the Locale, Timezone, Keyboard and enable ssh.
- From the Pixel Desktop, top left corner, click on the Raspberry Pi Menu icon
- Select `Preferences`, `Raspberry Pi Configuration`
- In `Raspberry Pi Configuration`, on the `Interfaces` tab
- Next to `SSH`, select `enable`, click `OK`
- In `Raspberry Pi Configuration`, on the `Localisation` tab, click `Set Locale…`
- Select the Language (eg en), Country (eg CA) and leave Character Set at UTF-8, click `OK`
- In `Raspberry Pi Configuration`, on the `Localisation` tab, click `Set Timezone…`
- Select the Area (eg Canada), Location (eg Eastern), click `OK`
- In `Raspberry Pi Configuration`, on the `Localisation` tab, click `Set Keyboard…`
- Select the Country (eg United States), Variant (eg English (US)), click `OK`
- In `Raspberry Pi Configuration`, click `OK`, and reboot
After reboot, from the Pixel Desktop, in top right corner, hover the mouse cursor over the two arrows icon. After a moment, the IP addresses of the device should appear. Use one of them to ssh into the Raspberry Pi.
The default user is `pi` and the default password is `raspberry`.
Please take a moment to change the password after logging in over ssh:
Step 3: Update All The Things
After logging in over ssh, run `apt-get update`:
sudo apt-get update -y
You should see something like the following, if you don’t please do some trouble shooting to determine the issue. If the update does not work you are going to have a bad time.
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie InRelease Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/main armhf Packages Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/contrib armhf Packages Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/non-free armhf Packages Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/rpi armhf Packages Hit http://archive.raspberrypi.org jessie InRelease Hit http://archive.raspberrypi.org jessie/main armhf Packages Hit http://archive.raspberrypi.org jessie/ui armhf Packages Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/contrib Translation-en_GB Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/contrib Translation-en Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/main Translation-en_GB Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/main Translation-en Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/non-free Translation-en_GB Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/non-free Translation-en Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/rpi Translation-en_GB Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie/rpi Translation-en Ign http://archive.raspberrypi.org jessie/main Translation-en_GB Ign http://archive.raspberrypi.org jessie/main Translation-en Ign http://archive.raspberrypi.org jessie/ui Translation-en_GB Ign http://archive.raspberrypi.org jessie/ui Translation-en Reading package lists... Done
Next, upgrade the system, this can take a few minutes depending on your network speed. Run each of the following:
sudo apt-get upgrade -y sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y sudo apt-get autoremove -y
Run each of the above until the result of each looks like:
Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done Calculating upgrade... Done 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
This means you have a fully updated system.
Step 4: Install Dependencies
Install some dependencies:
sudo apt-get install -y chromium-browser ttf-mscorefonts-installer unclutter x11-xserver-utils
1. `chromium-browser` installs Googles Chrome browser, should be installed by default, but just incase it isn’t
2. `ttf-mscorefonts-installer` adds common web fonts
3. `unclutter` is used to hide the mouse cursor
4. `x11-xserver-utils` installs xset, which is used to disable screen blanking
Step 5: Configuring Autostart
Wait, what is Chromium? Chromium is the Open Source version of the Chrome Browser. It is the version that Google then takes and rebrands. Learn more about it.
Edit the `autostart` script, comment out the `@xscreensaver -no-splash` line (# CHANGED) and add the rest (# BEGIN ADDED to # END ADDED) to the bottom of the file:
sudo vi .config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart
# CHANGED #@xscreensaver -no-splash
# BEGIN ADDED # Enable mixed http/https content, remember if invalid certs were allowed (ie self signed certs) @/usr/bin/chromium-browser --kiosk --start-maximized --allow-running-insecure-content --remember-cert-error-decisions http://gordonturner.ca # Normal website that does not need any exceptions #@/usr/bin/chromium-browser --kiosk --start-maximized http://gordonturner.ca @unclutter @xset s off @xset s noblank @xset -dpms # END ADDED
The additions do the following:
1. Disable the screensaver
2. Start Chromium
3. Hide the mouse cursor
4. Disable screen blanking
5. Disable Display Power Management Signaling (DPMS)
NOTE: You may not need the extra Chromium command line arguments. They are used to allow mixed https/http content and remember if invalid certs were allowed, typically self signed certs. If you have a site that does not need them, use the second line.
Sometimes it is necessary to exit the browser, which can be difficult in kiosk mode. To shutdown the Chromium browser when it is full screen type:
Shift Control q
That is all. There are other details that could be customized, like setting the desktop wallpaper, so that for the brief moment it is displayed, it is ‘on brand’. Additionally you might consider making the memory card read-only, so that power cycles do not damage the card.