OS for a toddler?

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OS for a toddler?

Postposted on Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:45 am

Anyone have any recommendations for an OS geared towards a toddler? My daughter is 20 months old and I have an old p3 laptop sitting around that I'd like to let her play with.
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Re: OS for a toddler?

Postposted on Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:06 am

Mac OS.
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Re: OS for a toddler?

Postposted on Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:15 am

Most of the OS options that I can think of are aimed a bit older than that.

Qimo bills itself as a kid-friendly (age 3+) Linux distro. It works as an installation or a live CD. It is Ubuntu-based. Doing a little digging, it looks like it uses XFCE as a Window Manager, so it might run on such old hardware. (Modern versions of Gnome and KDE really don't.)

Sugar was originally developed for the One-Laptop-per-Child program...so it should run on just about any hardware. The targeted age range is K-6.

Edubuntu is an official Ubuntu derivative. It has many features (at its core it is still Ubuntu) and you can add programs for kids from age 2 all the way through things that are targeted for high school. I doubt it will run on you hardware, though. By default this distro uses Gnome 2.31 which is not particularly old hardware friendly.

Linux KidX is (according to its SourceForge page) "educational software suite that contains several educational games for children from 2 to 15 years old. Default language: Portuguese." I presume that you can change that easily enough after installation.

Forsight Kid's Edition is, as you might have guessed, based on Foresight Linux and is configured with many kid-friendly apps. This one is Gnome-based and a rolling distribution release so it will probably not run well on your hardware.

I knew about the first couple...but supplemented my notes from: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/linu ... 43224.aspx

If you have a Linux distro that you like, or are familiar with, you can probably look at the packages that these install and add them to just about anything. Qimo would be the place that I start. You can probably add anything that Ubuntu has that Qimo lacks be default pretty easily. And Ubuntu is a large enough distro that you can probably get most software pre-built rather than needing to build from source (a somewhat slower and more tedious process on old hardware).
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Re: OS for a toddler?

Postposted on Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:17 am

grantmeaname wrote:Mac OS.


1. Not a whole lot more kid friendly than other modern OS's.

2. I'd love to see you install it on an old P3 laptop.
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Re: OS for a toddler?

Postposted on Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:30 am

Thanks for the quick and detailed response. Qimo looks like a great start and it wasn't something that turned up from my own google searches. Thanks again =)
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Re: OS for a toddler?

Postposted on Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:41 am

I had a similar laptop (P3, 128MB RAM) with a similarly aged daughter last year. I put Xubuntu on it. I wouldn't say she used the laptop, but she enjoyed a few of the programs -such as a painting program and a molecular visualization program where she rotated and zoomed in/out on a molecule.

Even with Xubuntu, things loaded very slowly on that hardware. It took several minutes to get from a cold start to a ready program. That was too long for her attention span, so I'd have to anticipate when she'd want it. It was a little faster when I'd use a similar Windows XP laptop (with 256MB RAM) to VNC into a VM set up for her on a Athlon II X4. But the process of going to that computer and starting that VM added time too.

But the real objective was accomplished. I wanted her to have her own hardward that she could bang on, without worrying about messing up my work. It worked best when I left her laptop next to my computer.
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Re: OS for a toddler?

Postposted on Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:47 am

My son is about 20 months old. He wants to use a mouse and keyboard but just doesn't get it yet (and tends to bash when it doesn't do what he wants). What he is good at doing is touching the screen for what he wants.

So for an interface they can learn (rather than just play use) I would go for iPad, then a touch screen laptop (which I have with Vista installed). He also enjoys the Wii. I know this isn't really much help for what you want, but maybe an OS isn't what you really want. Maybe you just need a program that plays something different on mouse clicks (different buttons not sections of the screen) and different keys.
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