"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Edupup : Education-tailored Puppy Linux

I decided, at last, what to do with that old HP Omnibook I recently got. I'm going to stuff it with educational software, I have a nephew or two who are of the right age to learn while having some fun even with a such old computer.

Edupup

I had Puppy Linux already installed on the Omnibook but, since I had found a education-tailored distribution on this Italian LUG page, I decided to install it over the (still unused) previous installation. The distribution is a bit old, last update is in 2010, but is not a vital detail since my computer is far more old than the distribution. Speaking of specialized versus general purpose distributions I often prefer to start with a general purpose one then install the software I need. In this case I instead I decided for installing a specialized one since I'm not fully used to Puppy installation mechanism and having a distribution with some software already installed could save me some time.

Installation

Puppy Linux installation is simple but sometime it might result tricky. My thirst Installation tentative concluded without error messages but it refused to start in any way (even by booting from Edupup CD) I suppose that it was because the previous Puppy installation on the same disk that the installation wizard did not clear. I formatted the disk and then repeated the installation, everything went eventually fine.




The steps I followed to install Edupup have been roughly the same than my previous Puppy installation so they are not worth mentioning them one by one.

Installed software

Here is how Edupup looks like: nothing more than a plain Puppy Linux with a nice icon theme and some software already installed



The extra software packages already installed are
  • Tux4Kids an educational suite containing TuxPaint a kids paint program, TuxType2 a typing tutor program and TuxMath a maths game/teaching program
  • ChildsPlay : Another suite of educational programs for younger kids.
Conclusions

My educational computer is almost complete, in addition to the already mentioned packages Puppy Linux offers some more than honest (especially considering the poor hardware) general purpose software like AbiWord or Gnumeric. The only defect is that the provided software has a limited age target, about up to 12 years old, so I'll have to look for some extra educational package to add. Not a big problem since (I forgot to mention it before) Edupup installation left about 3.6GB of free space on the Omnibook 4GB hard disk.