View Full Version : Project: Linux Kids

December 24th, 2007, 11:12 AM
Hello all,

I don't know if anyone actually browses these forums much any more, but here's hoping.

My name is Jesse Perez and I live in Fort Collins. I recently learned about getting a minimal installation of Debian with minimal GNOME on older or low disk space machines. In the process, I had the thought of getting kids in Fort Collins and Loveland that don't have computers or laptops these devices, set up with Linux on them and for free. Luckily for me, I am subscribed to the Fort Collins Freecycle Yahoo! Group and have already asked for free unused PC's from friendly folks there, with a few replies already.

My goal is widespread, but I can't do it alone. I'm looking for able bodied people to help me in this project. I'm looking to set up a less "flashy" that just works with an interface that they can understand. Using the Debian Etch 4.0r1 system as a core with minimal GNOME installed seems to be ideal since it saves much needed space on older machines and is very fast. What I am looking for is people who can help with the installation of the OS on said machines and if anyone is able and willing, developers who are willing to help create software titles, small or what-not, that are aimed at teaching kids school basics, or at least to be used as study guides.

I'm sure that there is software aimed to help kids in school, but for now, I don't exactly know where to find it. If software development is not an option due to unavailable time, then I'd at least like to be pointed in the right direction for said software.

I'd also like to hear from anyone in the teaching field. Perhaps ways to help me to get these computers set up to help kids better. It is my goal to get these PC's to kids that don't have a computer at home so that they can have some form or entertainment, as well as a tool to help them in school.

I hope this community can help me! Thanks everyone!



December 24th, 2007, 12:21 PM
sounds good. debian is stable :)

I don't know if anyone actually browses these forums much any more

you'll get a responce in mo time ;) lol

December 24th, 2007, 12:38 PM
Thanks, looks like others do browse here!


Yes, I like Debian. I like Ubuntu, but being able to have a lot more control over customization is great, so I went with Debian. Plus, there's a lot of community support both on the Debian Forums and here.


December 24th, 2007, 02:57 PM
Why not take a look at Edubuntu (http://www.edubuntu.org/)? It's a version of Ubuntu aimed for kids and for education settings.

I would suggest using that, and if you prefer Debian, that's fine, but you can still check out Edubuntu to see what software is provided with that - some of them might give you ideas of what to use for Debian since you can always install it there too.

December 24th, 2007, 04:04 PM
I'll take a look at the programs list for it. I'm moving towards something simplistic so as not to overwhelm the kids. Make it easy to understand and not introduce them to a fancy looking OS right off the bat. This will also aid parents in helping them to look for certain things fast and easy. Once the parents are showed exatly where everything is without all the "flashy" tools and programs to get in the way, then it will be easier for them and the kids to get used to Linux. I'm pretty much looking at it from the ordinary, non-computer literate child/parent perspective. The simpler, the better.

Debian can be customized to be very simple straight from the install command-line before it's given to parents. Hell, it can even be formatted to fit the parents/childrens needs on the spot.

I'll have "details" for the perspective families set on my blog site and on my laptop so they can see how everything works before it is installed, such as how GNOME is different from KDE, KDE from XFCE, XFCE from GNOME, etc and what would they like it best configured.

Plus, it's better to have a set of programs on stand-by, not installed initally so that way the kids and parents can pick and choose rather than giving something may not need/want.

It's their choice and Debian Etch being a stable release, it would be ideal since the chances of it crashing or needing repair would be minimal to none.

When the family is ready to move on to a more "fancy" OS, they have the option of choosing the educational suite known as Edubuntu, or one of the more popular releases, based on their preferences.

This project is aimed to give them the choice without all the extra bells and whistles to make things easier for them. That's why I chose Debian over Edubuntu, since starting with Edubuntu, you'd have to strip it down to what they want, meaning lots more work, more time consumed, and in the long run, you basicly get to Debian. Like I said, when they are ready for the more dressed up version, then I will suggest and install the bigger OS's.

Hopefully that should enlighten many on what my goal is for this project.


December 24th, 2007, 04:12 PM
Make sense. As a father myself, I'm interested in how this fares out.

My kids use a old PC - a Sony Pentium 1GHz with 512Mb running Xbuntu, and I tend to slap a few icons of use such as Firefox, few games onto the desktop.

Lad get his MS mouse, and the wee girl get her own pink flowery laptop sized mouse (suitable for her hand size) - with USB, can have both plugged in ;)

Sadly, it doesn't seem to be beefy enough to run as a MythTV frontend.

December 24th, 2007, 04:50 PM
Yes, a MythTV system would need, if I remember correctly, at least a 600Mhz CPU (back when it was first introduced?| Seems like 1.5Ghz would be better), 1-2GB of RAM and a good video card topped out at least to 128MB (256MB+ is just "extra").

I really hope this project gets bigger and I see it as a leap forward for Linux in 2008. Mind you, I am going to be in college after Jan 7th, but since it will be online, hours won't be a problem.

Thanks for the support.


December 26th, 2007, 07:45 AM
Sweet. I'd be willing to help. Not sure exactly how, but it's guess it's the willingness that counts.

Plus I live in Loveland.

Yeah these forums are still used, but the CoLoCo team seems to do most of it's collaboration on the e-mail list. Not sure why.


I not a Linux expert or anything, but I'm pretty good with setting up and customising Ubuntu. (based on Debian)

We might want to try looking into Xubuntu. It's based on XFCE desktop environment, and supposedly only need 128 mg ram. From what i've tried it's a great minimalist environment aimed at lower end computers.

December 26th, 2007, 07:46 PM
I live in Fort Collins and would be willing to help with installing the OS and configuring machines (after the holidays). Since my time is limited, it might be easier if I could bring machines home and build them there (at my own convenience), and then bring them back to you. It's great that you are starting this project; I've been thinking about starting something similar for some time now but just have not had the time to commit to it.

Also, Colorado State University typically recycles any computers that have a processor <= P3. I have tried in the past to get them to donate this equipment to me (for the purposes of building and donating Linux machines to people in need), but apparently CO state law prohibits them from donating such equipment to an individual. It would be nice to find out exactly what it would take in order to become an entity that CSU could legally donate old computers to; they would be a great source for obtaining old machines.

BTW: someone posted a link to this thread on the CoLoCo listserv, so hopefully some other FC folks chime in.

Perhaps you could post your contact info on the CoLoCo list, or post it here in this thread, or PM me with it so I can get in touch with you. Thanks!

- Darrin

December 27th, 2007, 10:26 AM
There was talk at one time, for the team to get non profit status, so that computers could be donated legally.

December 27th, 2007, 07:08 PM
There was talk at one time, for the team to get non profit status, so that computers could be donated legally.

Hmm, that's an interesting notion. Does anyone know off hand if there are any regulations associated with being a "Ubuntu team" that would prevent us from seeking non-profit status as an organization? I wonder if the non-profit would have to be formed under a different name or if it could be represented by CoLoCo? Also, is there any interest in pursuing this? Perhaps we'll discuss it at the next IRC meeting.

December 27th, 2007, 09:31 PM
There obviously should be more research put into the whole non profit status, but I'm willing to help pursue it. Not exactly sure if thats what we really want/need, but it's a start.

January 7th, 2008, 02:08 AM
I really hope this project has not "died".

It showed so much promise....

May 5th, 2008, 12:47 AM
i havnt read this whole thread,

but hopefully no one else has said this yet.

But they do have a linux for kids distro already.

October 26th, 2008, 06:25 AM
not sure if these help or not. But, i think they key would be to get non profit status. I sill like this idea, and not sure if you have given up on it or what. The links i provided are things available or already running in colorado. There doesn't really seem to be one in the Fort Collins, or Loveland area though. This should be an excellent opportunity to start one. I should be attending CSU next year, so maybe i can get something started up there.









February 25th, 2009, 08:56 PM
I know I'm a little late coming into this, but hopefully everyone here is still active in this project.

I am from Florida, and last October my wife and I have established a charity that does exactly this, we take donations of old computers, put Linux on them, and give them back out to low-income or special needs kids. You can get more information about us here: http://www.quinncoincorporated.org

Like you guys mentioned, we needed a clean, simple interface, that was lightweight enough to run on older hardware. To that end, we developed our own Linux distro called Qimo (http://www.qimo4kids.com) that is based on Xubuntu, and comes with open source, educational games. Plus it runs as a LiveCD!

We recently showed off Qimo at the Southern California Linux Expo, and got lots of interest in the project, and the charity. We are working with others across the country (including Colorado) to help groups like this get off the ground in their own communities. If you are interested, you can contact us at info@quinncoincorporated.org for more information.