Best Free Operating System For Kids

Introduction

Keeping young children occupied these days is quite a challenge. Quite naturally they see computers as a source of entertainment and want to enjoy them along with the rest of us. Herein lies the next challenge in that some areas of the internet are not suitable at all for child viewing and can potentially present real life dangers.

 

Discussion

DoudouLinux Activity MenuDoudouLinux aims to achieve an optimum balance by providing an environment aimed at kids 2-12 which is fun, educational and safe to use. This is good thinking because it removes the need to let your kids loose with your own operating system and also prevents the possibility of them bypassing whatever security software you have installed on it. Never underestimate the ability of little minds to work these things out. Instructions for bypassing parental filters can easily be found via Google or on social networking sites.

DoudouLinux WholeThe easiest way to run DoudouLinux is from a downloaded CD image. Once you've burned the image to a disk, there is nothing to install, update or configure. Running it from a live CD also means you wont interfere with your normal Windows installation. To run Windows again just pull out the live CD and reboot.

An alternative using a USB key is also provided but this is a lot more complicated and not supported by all systems. The download link and instructions for both options are here.

Although DoudouLinux is designed primarily to run as a live CD, if you like what you see and have a spare computer, it is possible to make a full install.

DoudouLinux MiniAccess to the installed system on which the CD is running is not possible so your resident files and settings are in no danger of being lost, altered or infected.

The system comes complete with a range of programs which are both fun and educational. Content filtering is included by default so you have no worries about your charges accessing inappropriate material when connected to the internet. Most of the programs don't even require a knowledge of files, folders or menus and can be operated without the ability to read.

The latest release, 2.1 (December 2013) contains quite a lot of new features.

Some users may even find DoudouLinux suitable for older people with learning difficulties or other disabilities.

There's no doubt that older kids will soon outgrow this and want the “real thing”, but for younger children, DoudouLinux is an ideal introduction to the world of computing.

 

Qimo DesktopQimo is another option which although aimed at kids from 3 and up, is much more sophisticated in what can be accomplished with it. Based on Ubuntu and using the Xfce desktop, Qimo can be used as either a live CD, or fully installed as a complete system. To use the live CD, just boot from it, select the language to use and then choose “try Qimo without any changes to your computer”.

As expected for an Ubuntu based distro, Qimo recognized my network and I was able to connect straight away. You can also assign custom DNS servers thus adding a range of default online protection safeguards depending on the service chosen (see the DNS related section in this article for more information). Firefox is the default browser so familiar territory for many there.

Qimo comes pre-installed with a range of educational games some of which, and a basic text editor, are already configured as desktop icons. Everything else is available from a standard drop down menu.

Although Qimo is more than usable for very young kids, it's better suited to the older age groups that will be more capable of getting the most out of it. This might be especially important for “transitional” types who don't want to feel they are being obliged to use a kids system.

 

Another option aimed at young children is the Fedora based Sugar on a Stick (SoaS) featuring the award winning Sugar Learning Platform. (My appreciation to fellow editor Panzer for informing me about this one). SoaS is available in 25 languages and comes as a x32 or x64 bit live CD image which can also be installed if users so wish. According to the stats, Sugar is used every day by over one and a half million students in classrooms throughout the world.

 

A final option is Edubuntu which focuses mainly on the older age groups. This is also available as a live CD or can be installed as a complete system. Additionally, Edubuntu can be previewed as a two hour live web session on a range of platforms or downloaded as a series of application bundles. The latter comes in four groups from aged 5 and under up to university level, but requires an existing Ubuntu installation.

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

10 Websites That Help Kids Spell Words Right
An Office Suite That's Especially Designed For Kids
Best Free Parental Filter
Free Printable Coloring Pages and Handwriting Worksheets For Kids
124 Sites For Free Children's Books Online

 

Editor

This category is maintained by volunteer editor MidnightCowboy. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or suggestions they might have by clicking here.

 

Tags

Kids, operating system for kids, free operating system.

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Comments

by Panzer on 23. September 2014 - 10:09  (118749)

"... Our operating system is designed for kids as well as teenagers to learn how computers work ...":
http://unitycommunity.wix.com/twdt
http://sourceforge.net/projects/winspee/

by Panzer on 17. March 2014 - 10:53  (115071)
by Panzer on 14. October 2013 - 9:33  (111475)

MiniNo PicarOS Diego - Customized version for Primary Education (3-12 years), with a desk and features designed to make it nice and comfortable for children:
http://minino.galpon.org/en (Click on Download button to get to the page with the version for children)

by Panzer on 3. June 2013 - 8:58  (108235)

" ... Levinux (download ~18 MB) is a tiny virtual Linux server that runs from USB or Dropbox with a double-click (no install) from the desktop of a Mac, Windows or Linux PC — making it the perfect learning environment, and a great way to run & keep your code safe for life! Think of it as an introduction to old-skool “short stack” development—more relevant now then ever as Linux/Unix gets embedded into everything.

What I propose…

Even if you never programmed before, I propose beginning teaching you how to do it “old skool” in minutes from you reading this sentence. Download a file, double-click it, and follow the instructions to start down a path that will begin enabling you to undertake projects you would have never previously dreamed doing yourself. I do this with a particular philosophy that is at odds with much of today’s world, and that is precisely why it will give you an edge over the competition for years to come ...":
http://mikelev.in/ux/

by Panzer on 14. January 2013 - 9:36  (104468)

"... The ubermix is an all-free, specially built, Linux-based operating system designed from the ground up with the needs of education in mind ... With a turn-key, 5 minute installation, 20 second quick recovery mechanism, and more than 60 free applications pre-installed, ubermix turns whatever hardware you have into a powerful device for learning ...":
http://ubermix.org/

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