Distros for education: some good options

Since a couple of months I started to be interested in Gnu / Linux distributions for children for 2 reasons:

  • My daughter: I have a 3-year-old girl who little by little is awakening interest in ICTs, Connectivity and above all technology (Many will say that I exaggerate, and possibly yes), I think it is the opportunity to start testing teaching theories / learning based on XNUMXst century education.
  • My job: a couple of months ago almost a year I got a job as a computer teacher in a private school in my town where I gave my classes on Windows XP, 7. Any normal teacher would have followed, but like many users Gnu / Linux is very teaching proprietary software to children of this generation is uncomfortable, so I decided to go further.

With this precedent I began to be interested in the search for GNU / Linux Operating Systems that I could dedicate to this task. In my search I came across a lot of software available for education, but nothing convinced me. I started testing one by one and here are the results.

Distros for education

distros for education

Qimo: Intended for children from 3 years of age onwards, surely you have family or small friends, you should start them in this world in a fun way, before they become part of any of the software monopolies that we know.

It is a derivative of Xubuntu with a special interface designed for the little ones in the house. One of its particular characteristics are the large icons to access the applications and programs with which they learn while playing.

With respect to its basic resources they are very low, you could reuse any old machine of those that we no longer use because it does not have the latest Winbug (a derogatory word to refer to the software giant) installed, useful so that ours do not bump us. Uses Live CD technology using 256 MB of RAM and then 192 MB. It works with processors starting at 400MHz and 6GB of storage space on the hard disk is enough.

One of its disadvantages is that its last system update was in 2012, based on the Xubuntu 10.10 distribution, maybe a little outdated, but still very powerful.

It is different from Edubuntu in its conception. The idea is to have an independent computer for children's use, instead of machines in a networked classroom. Quimo is designed to be very easy to use, avoiding the navigation of multiple open windows, currently it comes with kernel 2.6.32, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.3 and a set of minimal XFCE desktop tools. In the multimedia section it has Exaile and Totem. It does not have office applications or packages that an adult would use, although of course they can be installed.

The applications that are his strong suit are easy to use especially for children. It is a good adaptation to the children's world of something as serious as a GNU / Linux distribution, which as such is available in several languages, including Spanish. The design is very careful, with colors and motifs that will undoubtedly attract the attention of your target audience.

To the part for the elderly It is accessed from a discreet button located in the upper left area of ​​the screen. This is not a problem because the logical thing is that the role of root It is assumed by an adult who creates the necessary accounts for each child.

Qimo has games and programs of varying difficulty, adapting to a varied age range. We will have to dedicate some time to the little ones until they understand how it works, a golden opportunity to enjoy with them. Then they will learn and discover with pain that they no longer need us at all.


Canaima: It is an open socio-technological project, built in a collaborative way, focused on the development of productive tools and models based on IT (Information Technology) free of software and operating systems whose objective is to generate national capacities, endogenous development, appropriation and promotion of free knowledge. It is the GNU / Linux distribution used in Venezuela for different educational projects of a public and private nature. For this distribution I will not write more than necessary.

This distribution is based on Debian if you want to take a virtual tour of this system I suggest you access here, that way you will experience what Canaima is about.

Huayra Linux

Huayra: It is the operating system of Connect equality It is based on Debian Gnu / Linux, it is safer, more agile and developed in Argentina taking into account the needs of both students and teachers and maintaining our national identity. Huayra takes its name from the Quechua word that means wind (wind of change, winds of freedom, winds of technological sovereignty). In addition to being a free operating system, Huayra has been designed and developed for the use of the educational community. Through it you can access a wide variety of educational programs and applications.

It has around 25000 free and free programs, uses the Mate desktop environment, has the GNU GPL license in most applications. It has its own and open repositories, its own documentation, its own windows theme.


Skolelinux / Debian Edu it is a complete operating system for schools. Thanks to its various installation profiles, you can install servers, workstations and laptops on your school network. With Debian Edu, teaching or technical staff can deploy a lab of many computers and users in a few days or even hours. Debian Edu comes with many pre-installed applications, with the ability to install more from the Debian repositories.

The Debian Edu developer team is pleased to announce the sixth release of Debian Edu / Skolelinux, called Debian Edu 7.1 + edu0 Wheezy and which is based on Debian 7 (aka Wheezy), which has been carefully improved compared to the previous Squeeze release, while maintaining its unique features and ease of maintenance.

In short, there are many options to bring children closer to the use of ICT, Internet, Office automation, Design, etc. I believe that as a computer teacher of the XNUMXst century, the most important thing is to develop technological skills in elementary and high school students. The use of free software brings us closer to it, however I will be commenting on «Learn Free » a project that, apart from using free software, seeks to change the education paradigm in this digital age, ceasing to be consumerists and turning them into technology creators.



Canaima Gnu / Linux

Huayra Gnu / Linux

Skolelinux / Debian Edu

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  1.   dbillyx said

    In our country Guatemala we have the sweet distro http://edulibre.net/ of the place where it was created, which only part of the country is used in the educational environment ...

    1.    Statick said

      Excellent, I will read about it, I think they use there , But I'm not sure

      1.    shattered said

        This year I will be a father and I was already beginning to wonder about Children's Distros, thank you very much for the contribution, partner.

  2.   trisquellinux said

    For example, this is a quality post, the research shows. I would not use a distro related to a government, I liked the first and last thanks for your post, I don't have children but if one day I have the opportunity to give a pc to a child, it will be with Linux

    1.    dwarf said

      For example, this is a quality post, the research shows.

      And what exactly is that coming to? Is it necessary to discredit other works for you to make a comment? I don't know, that part of what you say seems absurd to me. Otherwise, yes, you are right.

  3.   Virtualized said

    And in the end, which one are you going to install for your daughter?

    1.    Statick said

      Before making the post, a few months before I installed Quimo in VirtualBox and from time to time he uses it not only of course, but he is already making efforts to understand it

  4.   Cristianhcd said

    Personally I like more android as an alternative [it's a linux distro]

    1.    PopArch said

      Without eager to act as a troll, but Android is not a distro as such, there are different opinions around the subject, but I think that just because we have dalvik as an intermediary it does not qualify as a distro of our great friend tux

    2.    dwarf said

      Nah it's not being a troll, it's just a common confusion.

      Android is not a Distro, it is a Linux based system like the distros. They share nothing but the kernel and a couple of other silly things, but Android does not consider itself as what you mention.

  5.   electromagnet said

    Very interesting selection. Qimo really caught my attention; so I will come to test it. The case of Huayra is very particular, it has many applications, which few know, and most computer science teachers have no idea how to teach its use and teachers in other areas do not make great use of it. Since Windows comes pre-installed and they hardly know how to use this too. On the other hand, I think it is a distro that was installed by compromise and they didn't even bother to configure it to work well on equality machines; which is a shame as it is a very good distro when you set it up.

    1.    Statick said

      Possibly, it would be good for you to make that thought reach the creators and developers of Huayra, due to the little experience that the children I teach have, the change from Winbug to Gnu / Linux with Huayra did not mean anything, that is, they joined So fast that they did not even feel the change, to the point that some things I did not know and they indicated them to me hehe, that means at least for the objectives that I am looking for in particular it is well done, I do not know much about connecting equality but I know what it is something great for the few youtube videos that I have been able to observe about this project that I would love to be replicated in Ecuador since here there is no government distro (What I know) that is taught in education, so I will choose from September in install Skolelinux for them


  6.   logic said

    you should try this one from the galpon group (pontevedra)
    PicarOS is a multipurpose distribution, focused mainly on education and as a recreational distribution to use at home, the recommended age is 3 to 12 years.
    I use it with old equipment and it really shows the difference

    MiniNo PicarOS Diego …… .. http://minino.galpon.org/es/descargas
    video tutorials : …… http://minino.galpon.org/es/videotutoriales

    Personalized version for Primary Education (3-12 years), with a desk and functionalities designed to make it pleasant and comfortable for the little ones.
    a special debian
    Based on Ártabros 2.0.
    DVD live / USB live hybrid version.

  7.   Nestor said

    Have you tried duoduolinux ?? A few months ago I downloaded his live but it didn't work properly. I will try with Qimo which seems well cared for for the little ones.

    1.    Statick said

      In my first years of Gnu / Linux with Ubuntu, I used to exhibit in the FLISoL of the city of Loja Qimo using it as LiveCD, my recommendation is to use Skolelinux since it is a project derived and endorsed by Debian Gnu / Linux, if you don't like to install applications and you want a little already worked I recommend Huayra Linux, I am using it to teach my programming classes to children between 8 to 12 years of age with Batteries - Engine and Scratch that I will talk in detail at the time

      1.    Nestor said

        I was actually looking for something to put on an old PC for a 3 year old to use, so I tried DuoduoLinux but it didn't work properly, I'll try Quimo which I had also heard about.
        Loja, beautiful city !!

  8.   illukki said

    Good post. Take a look at this when you can: [url = http: //lihuen.info.unlp.edu.ar/index.php? Title = P% C3% A1gina_principal] Lihuen [/ url]. He is from the National University of La Plata (Arg). Don't use the educational version, but the regular version is a great starter.

    1.    illukki said
  9.   n0oir said

    Excellent article friend, I hope to be able to communicate with you since within 2 months I want to start my internship in a school, and obviously teach programming and show free software / o /, so I hope you give me some advice.


    1.    Statick said

      Excellent, it would be interesting to know the experience that is generated from teaching programming to children, I recommend if you have 2 months left, start reviewing the documentation and soak up everything, maybe when you start the laziness of traditional education will catch you and stay out.


  10.   Hector said

    Thank you very much for the information, for those of us who have little ones, it is very useful

    1.    Statick said

      Do not talk about Edubuntu, since it is talked about everywhere, also after Stallman told spyware on Canonical's operating system I started looking for alternatives with Debian and derivatives that I think is the software that should be taught.

  11.   PopArch said

    Very good your post, I already had a while looking for information of this nature and your content comes 100%

    1.    Statick said

      Thanks for the comments, thanks to that I will continue to publish more about it

  12.   Dago said

    In general the article is fine, but to say that Huayra has 25000 free programs is a no-brainer since it is based on Debian. Any Debian-based one has them. But it's written as if the 25000 programs were created by connecting equality.

    1.    Statick said

      Friend if you want to write your own post about Huayra Linux, nobody stops it, I recommend you read this post that came out last Sunday https://blog.desdelinux.net/articulo-bueno-malo-respeto/

      Greetings and excuse me but it is my point of view that is presented in the post

      1.    Dago said

        All right, don't be hysterical. Only that one thing is a point of view, and another is bad information, and to say it that way (about the 25000 programs) I think it is not the correct way. I'm not saying it was with bad intentions…. But hey, you can see that they are susceptible.

        1.    Statick said

          Do not neglect, not at all, only that it is the way I understood it, but thanks for the correction, in fact it helps me because I used the same example to explain in my classes about Huayra, for children I think the explanation is fine, maybe for people A little more adult the clarification can be made, in advance it is known that for that small detail it must be known that there is a Debian OS and a previous handling. But for people who do not know anything, it is not necessary, with time and with experience that they acquire this detail it will be more than obvious, the idea is not to confuse and explain Gnu / Linux to an 8 year old child

  13.   manolox said

    One more I would recommend: «MiniNo PicarOS Diego». It is the distribution for children of the Galpon Minino team. Also suitable for veteran computers.
    Here you can download it: http://minino.galpon.org/es/descargas

    Of those recommended here, I only knew and have tried Quimo. The concept that applications are used one by one I understand that fits well with the way children interact with machines and is the one used in the "sugar" of "One Laptop per Child".
    I don't know how to explain it better, but I think it's understood. Children have "another way" of doing things.

    1.    Statick said

      In fact I have a machine with 128 Ram, 40 Gb of Hard Disk and Pentium IV processor, possibly it works for me, in fact I am looking for a distro oriented to children apart from those already exposed for old PCs, and old ones.

      Greetings and thanks for the contribution

  14.   gianni said

    Excellent article, thanks for the idea really, I will present an exhibition in classes and I will call it "Gnu / Linux in education, an alternative to proprietary software" I will investigate more distros from other countries that have that purpose in education, greetings to all of you write from Peru

    1.    Statick said

      Thank you, if you need more information I can help you this is my contact on twitter @Statick_ds

      1.    gianni said

        Hello, just yesterday I presented the title of my exhibition »GNU / Linux in Education» my exhibition is in two weeks, I am very grateful for the comments that I read here, I will have a good base of information, to impress my classmates in the classroom and spread more about free software and its benefits
        pda: thank you all, we will be in touch these days, Greetings.

  15.   Rolo said

    a nice distro for the little ones, for educational purposes is doudoulinux http://www.doudoulinux.org/web/espanol/ it is a debian based liveCD but it can be installed on a debian by adding the doudoulinux repos

    1.    Statick said

      Excellent, looks promising

      Downloading ...

      $ wget -t 00 -c http://download.doudoulinux.org/file/livecd/2.1/doudoulinux-hyperborea-2.1-es.iso

  16.   Fenriz said

    You should have written more about canaima. and not only "For this distribution I will not write more than necessary." Anyway I leave the content: http://wiki.canaimaeducativo.gob.ve/doku.php/Portada I leave you what you really should have "copy and paste"
    Canaima Educational

    The Canaima Educativo Project was conceived by the Bolivarian Government to incorporate Free Information Technologies to the National Basic Education Subsystem, with the aim of promoting the teaching and learning of girls and boys, through the use of laptops under Free Software that will stimulate the creativity of the schoolchildren that turned education into an innovative and creative process, by promoting creative learning and integration.

    Minimum hardware and software requirements

    Pentium III or higher
    256 Mb of RAM
    35MB of disk space
    GNU / linux operating system preferably Canaima 2.0.3 or higher

    I also inform you that canaima is not only software ... Greetings, a hug

    1.    Statick said

      Thank you for incorporating this information, Canaima met you in 2012 through a presentation by a member of the project at the II National Meeting of Free Software and I Binational, of which I was the organizer http://encuentro.asle.ec/ I know it is an Operating System, in fact I have used it and it seems excellent for education

      Thanks for contributing

      Greetings Free

    2.    Statick said

      And as I said before, if you want to create your own Canaima Linux post, then do it, you are completely free to do so, my goal was to make it known that they exist, all the information is in the sources that I quote at the end of the post, but unlike me You criticize me (hoping it will be in a productive way) I decided to write the post, I did not just stay with the idea of ​​doing it.


  17.   jsbsan said

    Here's another one:
    It is very good, with hundreds of programs already "pre-installed".

  18.   Liborio said

    I don't know how there isn't a distribution that uses KDE Edu ..; /

    1.    elav said

      Strongly agree.

  19.   Gerardo Gomez Toledo said

    Very good article you present, it is what I have been looking for in the network, you summarize it here, I am also a teacher, specifically of technical secondary schools in Chiapas, and for a while I have had the concern to change my teaching paradigm subject, I have been looking for a distribution that is powerful but light, in my search I am also trying to create my own distribution for the secondary level adapted to the context of my region, but this is where the difficulty arises, which distribution to choose as base and especially as a start. If you could guide me in this regard, I would appreciate it.

  20.   caco222 said

    well ... I really like the recommendations, but I must clarify something for you, it is from Canaima

    Canaima, like Ubuntu has "distros" of itself, like xubuntu, edubuntu, etc. In this case we would not talk about Canaima, but Canaima Educativo, if you say or write "Canaima" by itself you speak of Canaima Popular which is the downloadable version for all audiences, instead Canaima Educativo is the pre-installed version on the laptop that gives the government, which is nothing more than Canaima + educational content

    There are other versions such as Canaima Caribay, which is Canaima + programs for audiovisual production or Canaima forensic, which is a distro for forensic investigations (actually I have seen the first one myself, but the other one ... I have not been able to witness it myself)

    I do not recommend at all to download educational canaima if you are not Venezuelan (if you can find it online in download, I have not been able to) in its majority the educational content is not useful for other countries

    I retire bye

    ps: (this is my first comment be ambles hehehe)