Linux is not only for geeks. It’s an old story. Linux has transformed from a “geeks only” platform to “everyone’s platform”. Today, everyone can operates Linux. Even kids. I am not kidding, there are a number of distros designed specifically for kids.
What makes Linux different to other operating systems is that anyone is allowed and welcomed to make some modifications and re-distribute it under new attributes. This way, those who have a programming skill can develop a Linux distro for a specific need, including education.
Edubuntu is one of the Linux distros well-known as a kids friendly distro. As the name suggests, it’s a Ubuntu derivative. In general, what makes a Linux distro different one each other is the bundled applications. A Linux distro is called a kids friendly distro if it is bundled with applications for kids. Here is the list of kids friendly enough Linux distros.
As I said above, Edubuntu is one of the most well-known kids friedly Linux distros. Edubuntu is an official Ubuntu derivative. The project of Edubuntu involves many stakeholders related to kids educations, including teachers and technologists in several countries. In terms of interface, Edubuntu is no different to regular Ubuntu. What makes it different is the bundled applications. Edubuntu is bundled with applications for kids like GCompris and KDE Edutainment Suite. Some applications like LibreOffice are still retained. As of today, Edubuntu is still in an active development. This distro is developed by Canonical Ltd. and community contributors. Canonical Ltd. is the company behind Ubuntu.
2. openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e
Not only Canonical Ltd., the community behind openSUSE also develops an education-oriented Linux distro. The project is called openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e. The word “Li-f-e” stands for “Linux for Education”. The project of openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e is handled by openSUSE Education team. Same as Edubuntu, this distro is also bundled with educational apps like GCompris, Stellarium, Brain Workshop, gElemental, TuxPaint and so on. As of today, openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e is also still in an active development.
Ubermix has one thing in common to Edubuntu. It is also based on Ubuntu. There is no exclusive app developed specifically for this distro. All of the bundled apps are basically have been available on the Ubuntu software repositories. Bu still, there are some adjustments here and there to make Ubermix be a as kids friendly as possible. The distro itself is developed by a group of kind educators with an eye towards student and teacher empowerment. As of today, Ubermix is also still in an active development. You can check its development status on this page.
DoudouLinux is specifically designed for kids aged 2 to 12. You don’t need to install it to run. You can run this distro via live USB as well as live CD. DoudouLinux is shipped with a content filtering, preventing kids from accidentally visiting unsavory web websites. Additionally, the content filtering also preserves user privacy on the Internet, removes ads in web pages and blocks bugs, to get the best web experience. Unfortunately, this distro hasn’t been updated for a long time. The last time DoudouLinux got updated was in December 2013.
5. Sugar on a Stick
The user targets of Sugar on a Stick is quite similar to DoudouLinux. You can also run it without the need to install. You can run it as a live USB on any computer that has a USB slot. No matter if the computer runs Linux, Windows or macOS. Of course, you can also install it permanently on your computer if you want it. Sugar on a Stick itself is a Fedora-based distro, featuring the award-winning Sugar Learning Platform. This distro is also still in active development. The current release of Sugar on a Stick (version 0.110.0) comes with Fedora 27.