Blocking Ads on the XO’s Browse Activity

January 6, 2009 at 16:28 | Posted in OLPC, Privacy/Security, XO | 1 Comment
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I have been noticing several post by people wondering how to block ads on their XO’s. Being familiar with Privoxy and it’s ability to block ads I decided to go ahead and try setting it up. It was fairly easy so here is a Quick Howto.

On your XO make sure you are connected to the net and then…

Open a terminal activity

Click the “become root” button (or enter the command: su – )

Enter the command:

yum install privoxy

Once it is done installing you will need to make one quick change to the config file. So type

nano /etc/privoxy/config

Scroll down till you see the line:

logdir /var/log/privoxy

change it to:

logdir /tmp

I had to do this because the /var/log/privoxy directory doesn’t survive the machine restarting.

Press CTRL+X to save and exit

You’ll now be back at the Terminal Activity prompt.

We need to tell Privoxy to start-up at boot time so type:

chkconfig privoxy on

We should also start privoxy now so type:

service privoxy start

Alright, now it is time to set up the Browse Activity. Exit the Terminal Activity. Start the Browse Activity and in the address bar type:


A rather daunting page will come up tht looks like this:

config settngs page

The about:config settngs page

In the filter line type: proxy

The Screen will chance to look like this:

config Proxy settings

about:config Proxy settings

Now we need to change a couple of the settings.

double click on network.proxy.http

a dialogue will pop up letting you enter the new setting.

Enter localhost and click ok.

Now using the same technique change

network.proxy.http_port to    8118

network.proxy.ssl to   localhost

netwok.proxy.ssl_port to   8118

network.proxy.type to  1

After doing so your screen should look like the image above (may not be exactly the same but the 5 settings I mentioned should now all be bold, have a status of “user set”, and the appropriate values).

Now we can test the settings.. in the address bar type p.p and you should get a screen that looks like this:

Privoxy Sucessfully set up

Privoxy Sucessfully set up

If instead you get a screen that looks like this:

Failed To Connect to Privoxy

Failed To Connect to Privoxy

Then either privoxy is not running or you entered one of the proxy settings incorrectly. Double check the setting in about:config. If they are fine go back to the Terminal Activity, become root, and type:

service privoxy restart

and watch the output carefully for errors.

Once you have it up and running I suggest giving it a couple of days on the default settings as privoxy is configured by befault to block may ads. If you find there are some annoying ads still getting through you can  add extra rules to privoxy. Please read the documentation on the privoxy website before you embark on making changes. The built-in interface at http://p.p lets you add/modify rules if you change the approrpiate line in the config file (see the docs on the Privoxy website).


My next blog entry will be on using about:config to make browsing on the XO more private/secure.


1 Comment

  1. […] If you are worried about Browsing privacy on the XO you might also want to check out my post on Privoxy on the XO […]

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