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Education Linux Technology

Educational Linux Distro Provides Tech-Bundle For Kids and Educators 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the learning-linus dept.
First time accepted submitter Jason Hibbets writes "Ubermix is a version of Linux designed for kids and educators. In this interview with Jim Klein, founder of Ubermix, we discover a Linux distribution designed with kids, education, and educators in mind. This could change the way our the next generation learns about Linux and open source software like Celestia, Stellarium, Scratch, VirtualLab Microscope, iGNUit, and more."
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Educational Linux Distro Provides Tech-Bundle For Kids and Educators

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  • For a while there I was thinking it wasn't diverse enough. At least its not based on Ubuntu.

    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@h o t m> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:22AM (#43167935) Journal

      For a while there I was thinking it wasn't diverse enough.

      Linux is an infinitely versatile tool, that's one of its greatest strengths. A distro is just s version of Linux tuned and configured for a specific purpose, often by people who have a good understanding of their business or social need. It's the fact that they have the freedom to make it work for their purpose instead of accepting someone else's compromises that creates so many distros. Needs are being met.

      Proprietary vendors are desperate to spread FUD on this topic to stop people realising they could have a computer that does what they want, instead of what the vendors grudgingly allow them.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A distro is just s version of Linux

        You have managed the unprecedented achievement of misspelling a one-letter word.

        Please turn in your geek badge to the nearest Grammar Nazi station, it will be replaced with an identical one except your photo will be upside down.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        YALD - Yet Another Linux Distro

        YYAALD - Yawn, Yet Another Another Linux Distro

        Someone wake me up please, when we get past "wonky but free".

      • On the other hand, I often see distros that are little or no more than what can be accomplished with a vanilla distro and a custom package group and/or puppet script.

        These sorts of distros are putting all kinds of resources into maintaining a distro when they should be spending that energy improving their core benefits instead. There are more ways to market a unique solution than starting a distro.

        Sure, if you want to change some real fundamentals of the OS, by all means fork, but it really shouldn't be an

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          These sorts of distros are putting all kinds of resources into maintaining a distro when they should be spending that energy improving their core benefits instead. There are more ways to market a unique solution than starting a distro.

          It's ridiculous mostly because they're not actually doing anything they couldn't do just by hosting a repo, and in the bargain they don't have the host the whole OS. Debian for pogoplug is just a repo and an installer script and it works brilliantly.

          • Debian for pogoplug is just a repo and an installer script and it works brilliantly.

            Thanks - that's a great example. And, look, people know about PogoPlug, without them having to create their own distro!

      • Ok. Fine. But what about any of the 21 Educational distros [] on distro watch?

        I understand letting people have their choice. But could you imagine the shit linux could do if it wasn't so damn fragmented.

        Imagine ALL off the developers around the world working on an X server replacement. Or drivers for hardware or even a damn distro that "Just Worked." Debian wasn't friendly enough. Ubuntu. Ubuntu went off the Deepend with user inteface. Now you have Mint. And Gnome went to Gnome 3. So now Mint users have both M

    • by unixisc (2429386) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:47AM (#43168989)
      Actually, it is based on Ubuntu [], which begs the question - how is this any different, or not a part of Edubuntu?
  • "ubermix is based on Ubuntu Linux [], the world's most popular Linux distribution."

    First question in my head, anyhow... (the name did seem to hint in that direction, but I wanted to RTFA to confirm :-)

  • So it comes with facebook, twitter and instagram pre-bookmarked in the browser?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Whatever happened to Edubuntu?
    • by unixisc (2429386)
      That was my question - how is this one different?
      • Re:Another one? (Score:4, Informative)

        by serialband (447336) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:57AM (#43171865)

        Edubuntu is more for 3-6 year olds. Kids get bored with the selection of the software pretty quickly when they get older. Ubermix seems to be actually geared for school age children, but my the time they're 10, they'll likely tire of some of the "educational" software and start using more of the "Apps" like skype, twitter, facebook, or whatever their replacements may be in the future.

  • by Ozoner (1406169)

    Ubermix sounds like a great idea. But on my first look I see Incomprehensible Icons and Icon names.

    Celestia (Gnome) ?
    Klavaro ?
    GeoGebra ?

    This arrogant nonsense will drive many away. The problem with Linux is that you have to be a LInux fanboy to understand it.

    Why not use simple and descriptive language?

    • by bmo (77928) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:17AM (#43167911)

      Why not use simple and descriptive language?

      Because "Excel" is just as descriptive?

      Look. Look at the troll and laugh.


      • by westlake (615356)

        Because "Excel" is just as descriptive?

        But when you are targeting an audience looking for a productivity app, "Excel" is brilliant. Succinct, memorable, scans well,*** and woven into it is a clever bit of word play.

        "Excel" = "From Cell." The spreadsheet.

        It doesn't hurt that Excel is usually distributed as a core component of the world's best selling office suite.


        **** ffDiaporama does not trip lightly off the tongue.

        Double-Entendres, lame jokes like the GIMP, pose problems of their own. The geek will tell you straight-faced that its m

        • by bmo (77928)

          But then "Celestia" as the name of an astronomy program isn't as much of the stretch you made.

          Try again.


        • by unixisc (2429386)

          Double-Entendres, lame jokes like the GIMP, pose problems of their own. The geek will tell you straight-faced that its merely an acronym for Gnome Image Processor --- and that may even be true, but no outside his own circle of friends ever quite believes him.

          Not just that, one would then have to spell out that GNOME means, or used to mean, GNU Network Object Model Environment. What's GNU? GNU's Not Unix. Break everything out, and you have GNU's Not Unix Networked Object Model Environment Image Manipulation Program! Ain't GIMP simpler than all of that?

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Bowel Movement, Original. Logical fallacy, false dichotomy.

        If I press the windows key and type "spread" then I see "Libreoffice Calc" under applications and at least have an opportunity to make an educated guess. There is more under the heavens than is imagined in your trolling.

        • by bmo (77928)

          >Bowel Movement, Original

          It's like I'm really in middle school.


          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            It's like I'm really in middle school.

            Like likes like. If you want an intelligent response, leave an intelligent comment.

            • by bmo (77928)

              Calling out a troll is not unintelligent. It's a well worn troll to say that Linux applications have weird names, because in other operating systems, there are weird names for other programs.

              Come on, how descriptive is Chrome, Opera, or Firefox? Would you be able to tell that those applications are web browsers just by their names? Of course not.

              It was a troll. You're somehow butthurt that someone disagreed with your opinion.

              You're crazy.


    • by postglock (917809)

      But on my first look I see Incomprehensible Icons and Icon names.

      Why not use simple and descriptive language?

      And on your second look you can see simple and descriptive language. In that exact same screenshot. For example,

      Celestia (Gnome): explore the universe in this detailed space simulator.
      Klavaro: Learn to type with this fun and easy typing tutor.
      GeoGebra: Create interactive mathematical constructions and

  • Qimo is my favorite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wycliffe (116160) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:15AM (#43167903) Homepage

    It is especially good for younger kids but has alot of apps for older
    kids as well. []
    All the other ones I personally tried out seemed to have problems
    with sound cards, booting, etc....

    • Maybe it even teaches them that "a lot" is two words, if that's not too much to hope for.

      • by Wycliffe (116160)

        Maybe it even teaches them that "a lot" is two words, if that's not too much to hope for.

        Dude, you really need to get out more. There is alot more to life than trolling
        slashdot looking for pedantic grammer mistakes. I happen to like the word
        'alot'. I also like the word 'googled', the word 'slashdotted', and using the
        word 'they' as a generic singular pronoun just to name a few. Oh, I've also
        been known to use extra parentheses to specify groupings and to avoid
        confusion and if I thought about it I could probably think of quite a few other
        examples where I take liberty in casual conversation so

        • I speak, read, and write English better than most people (say, 99% of them), and I'm a writer and editor with 20+ years in the business--including lots and lots of proofreading experience!--so maybe instead of getting all defensive and pulling out the lame excuse, you might try learning something.

          And, no, "casual" or "informal" does *not* mean "I get to make it all up as I go along". Unless you care to admit that perhaps you had nothing to say in the first fucking place?

          In any case, using crap like "alot" j

          • by Wycliffe (116160)

            I was never questioning your english or your proofreading skills. I was
            questioning the purpose of being a pedantic grammer nut on slashdot.
            If you are in the 99th percentile in english, it might be time for you to
            pick up a 2nd or 3rd language or head over to one of the many sites
            where people are asking for help learning english.
            Or to quote Sheldon's mom: "It's ok to be smarter than everyone else,
            it's just not ok to tell everyone". Unsolicited advice is seldom if
            ever welcome especially if it is splitting h

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Have you tried Edubuntu? I installed it just for laughs once, it was quite apprehensible, worked correctly, and also successfully booted the two machines I tried as LTSP clients on the first try. (Some crusty old laptop and an equally crusty desktop.)

      • by Nimey (114278)

        Edubuntu 12.04 uses Unity and doesn't have any of the kid stuff in the sidebar by default. Given how bad Unity is with discoverability, IMO you'd be better off to install Xubuntu or Mint and then install the Edu packages for the appropriate age. Maybe install the Qimo packages while you're at it.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      I use Qimo on my kid's laptop (actually, Lubuntu + the Qimo packages) but the project appears to be dead - there have been no updates for more than two years. Even the Ubuntu packages are unmaintained - there's a long-open bug that the configuration is outdated.

      It's a pity, because it's a nice UI and packageset.

      • by Wycliffe (116160)

        I also tend to install qimo on top of standard ubuntu for a permanent install.
        It's unfortunate that it is possibly unmaintained as it's the only bootable cd
        I found that 'just worked' the first time. A bootable cd has the added
        advantages that your kid can't screw up your computer settings and it's
        also easy to give it away and introduce it to other parents.

  • stuff it. (Score:1, Flamebait)

    Has anyone else noticed a steadily negative response to Linux news in general on Slashdot? All the distro release announcements barely get any comments, the DE related news just get berated by angry users. and the FLOSS politics just gets ignored.

    I think the fanboys are burnt out, what are they defending after all? Bad desktop environments? A ~70MB kernel written in C? The hopelessly radical "Free" software movement? It's just pathetic and frankly a lost cause.
    • From here it simply looks like they all moved on, they are not wasting time debating with all the naysayers.

      Cant agree on Linux in general, my business in the UK is based on technical support into the home market and Linux use is growing every day, the pain users are having with Win8 is driving them to other options, OSX or Linux. Mostly however they are using other devices as much as possible ipads or tabs.

      They kids dont give a toss what they use, its all web services so, iphone, Android, PS3 or xbox they

    • by gmuslera (3436)

      Linux has become so mainstream than lost the novelty. Another distro, or a newer version? Is incremental, not earth shattering. Most of what could be said is already in the culture. Think how many attention and comments come after another virus, or zero day exploit, or IE vulnerability for windows? As is something normal, you don't get so many responses from people that uses it, but a lot of the usual deniers as have another opportunity

      And as I don't play with educational distributions, can't tell if this

  • Good concept (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:32AM (#43169805)
    This is a great concept, but it falls short because at least in my experience, most of the teachers (educators) I know are computer idiots to put it nicely. The amount of times I would have a question they couldn't answer was sad, even worse is that in grade school ( 1991 - 2000 ) the IT admin also couldn't answer most of them. If a distro exists to help students / educators learn Linux / Computers I think the educators should be the first to get on board and finally globally get those skills where they need to be and not in 1971.

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin