Linux has been a versatile operating system catering the needs of people from all walks of life. Unlike Windows and Mac, which only target the general consumers, Linux offer various specialized distributions for engineers, doctors, religious people, and even kids. Yes, kids. Linux, thanks to its openness, has allowed many developers to create distributions made especially for kids of different age groups. These distributions aren’t made to teach C++ programming for kids. Instead, they are normal, easy to use distros with user interfaces specially designed for the young ones. Many of them come with games and educational software preinstalled, so that children can learn as well as have fun.
Here are some of the most impressive Linux distributions your kids and those who are young at heart would love to use:
Foresight Kids is a Linux distribution specially designed for children of ages 2 and up. It comes loaded with a number of educational and entertainment applications that will keep kids engaged for hours. Foresight Kids is a rolling release distribution, which means, once you install it, you won’t ever have to download another DVD again. The system is updated automatically.
This GNOME-based distro features popular educational and fun software like Tuxpaint, Tux Typing, Gcompris and Tux of math command. Games in the default version include popular titles like SuperTux, SuperTuxKart, FooBilliard, GNU Chess and Super Maryo Chronicles. Despite being packed with so many ‘edutainment’ software, Foresight does come with the usual essential applications like F-spot, Firefox, Banshee, Totem and Pidgin.
DoudouLinux (pronounced Due Due Linux) is one of the most well designed kid-friendly distributions out there. The title comes from the French word Doudou, which means a (or any) comfort object used and loved by kids (usually teddy bears). The distribution is designed so that children find it easy to use and at the same time have fun using it.
DoudouLinux comes with a variety of applications, which kids from ages 2 to 12 would easily spend hours using. Apart from being easy to use for kids, DoudouLinux makes things easier for parents too, by skipping the dreadful installation step that many new Linux users get often stuck at. All you have to do is download the image, burn it on a CD/DVD and just boot from it. DoudouLinux comes loaded with popular edutainment applications like Tuxpaint, Gcompris, KHangman, KAnagram and more. The most impressive feature of this operating system is its parental control, which ensures that your kids will not accidentally stumble upon some sites with unwanted contents. DoudouLinux is a promising project that has been translated into 15 languages so far.
Qimo 4 Kids
Qimo (pronounced ki-moh as in eskimo) is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution specially designed for children aged 3 and up. Qimo uses a customized Xfce interface thus allowing it to be used even on computers with the lowest of specs.
The distro requires 256 MB of RAM, 6 GB Hard Disk space and a 400 Mhz + CPU. The name Qimo comes from a popular Bob Dylan song called Quinn the Eskimo. It has all the important edutainment applications you'd expect from a child-oriented distribution. Though it's not as well designed as DoudouLinux, it does make a decent and light desktop your kid would love to use.
Kiddix is another great Linux distribution specially designed for elementary school children. Developed by a Pittsburgh-based company called Kiddix Computing, Kiddix provides a complete set of tools that will make computing easier and fun for kids. It comes with a customized user interface and beautified icons, which many children would find appealing. Also, it includes various educational games and software making it a complete child-oriented operating system.
Like DoudouLinux, Kiddix also features a parental control system ensuring that your child will always be safe against unwanted content on the web. Kiddix, unlike the aforementioned distros, is not free. You can pay $10 (discounted price, normally priced $50) to make the distro yours. If you pay $20, you get a discount coupon for the upcoming version of Kiddix, called Kiddix 2.0. The plus point here is that you get professional support for the distro.