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Educational Linux Distro Provides Tech-Bundle For Kids and Educators

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the learning-linus dept.

Education 55

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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Oh good, another version of Linux (0)

toygeek (473120) | about a year and a half ago | (#43167751)

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

Re:Oh good, another version of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43167827)

At least its not based on Ubuntu.

Because by not basing it on Ubuntu, they're adding diversity to the Linux ecosystem?

Re:Oh good, another version of Linux (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#43167935)

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:Oh good, another version of Linux (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43168605)

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.

Re: Oh good, another version of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43168933)

Typos are not mis-spellings. The letter 's' is right next to the letter 'a' on any civilized keyboard. They even look like friends: 'a s'. But when you add another 's' you get a post like yours: 'ass'.

The piece of shit mobile interface doesn't have preview so its very easy to end up with a typo.

Re:Oh good, another version of Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43168811)

YALD - Yet Another Linux Distro

YYAALD - Yawn, Yet Another Another Linux Distro

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

Re:Oh good, another version of Linux (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43169815)

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 anybody's first choice.

Re:Oh good, another version of Linux (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170207)

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.

Re:Oh good, another version of Linux (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175751)

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!

Re:Oh good, another version of Linux (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171839)

Ok. Fine. But what about any of the 21 Educational distros [distrowatch.com] 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 MATE (Fork of Gnome2) and Cinnamon (Fork(?) of Gnome3).

Linux has so much constant bickering of petty shit (in my opinion as a user and outsider to the 'community') it's stupid. Sorry. The BSD license isn't "free" as in speech enough. GPLv2. Wait. Still bad. GPLv3. How about a "I don't give a fuck what you do with this code but if it kills you it's not my fault" license? Wouldn't that be the most free? You could literally do anything you wanted with it.

OK, I'm imagining... (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year and a half ago | (#43176059)

Imagine ALL off the developers around the world working on an X server replacement.

Hmm, like in the mythical man-month [wikipedia.org] , where each time you add a developer you reduce quality, introduce stress, and increase delay?

OK, I'm squinching my eyes... imagining... AAAAAHHHH! AGGGHGGHHH!!!!!!! Make it stop!!!! [redmeat.com]

How different from EdUbuntu? (3, Insightful)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168989)

Actually, it is based on Ubuntu [ubermix.org] , which begs the question - how is this any different, or not a part of Edubuntu?

Answer: Built on top of Ubuntu (1)

Qubit (100461) | about a year and a half ago | (#43167755)

"ubermix is based on Ubuntu Linux [ubermix.org] , 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 :-)

Designed for kids (1)

multiben (1916126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43167789)

So it comes with facebook, twitter and instagram pre-bookmarked in the browser?

Re:Designed for kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43167831)

What's a browser? Is that like an app?

Re:Designed for kids (1)

melikamp (631205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43169419)

Dunno about that, but it does have Spype [ubermix.org] , the ultimate answer in targeted advertizing.

Kiddix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43167791)

The best kids Linux distro I've used is Kiddix. It's been around for quite a few years too, although it doesn't get much mention usually. This new distro looks interesting for schools.

Another one? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43167809)

Whatever happened to Edubuntu?

Re:Another one? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168997)

That was my question - how is this one different?

Re:Another one? (3, Informative)

serialband (447336) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Another one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43169527)

Or Edu-Nix?

Incomprehensible Icons (1, Interesting)

Ozoner (1406169) | about a year and a half ago | (#43167867)

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?

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#43167911)

Why not use simple and descriptive language?

Because "Excel" is just as descriptive?

Look. Look at the troll and laugh.

--
BMO

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (-1)

Ozoner (1406169) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168473)

arrogant, tick
fanboy, tick

you illustrate my point exactly

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173301)

No, he's right (although not about calling you a troll, that was trollish in itself). How is Excel in any way an indication that it's a spreadsheet? How is the name Access an indication that it's a DBMS? How are any of MS's icons in any way descriptive? For that matter, can you tell me what the mainframe package NOMAD does solely from its name? One wouth think it had something to do with networking, when in fact it's a DBMS.

I haven't looked at that distro, but in kubuntu it doesn't just say FireFox, it says FireFox Web Browser, doesn't just say GIMP but GIMP image editor. If this distro doesn't do that, it's not a good one.

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170063)

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 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.

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171565)

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

Try again.

--
BMO

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43182577)

So what? That's just one example. In most cases you still lose. FOSStards have a fetish for giving Linux distros and applications the gayest names possible. Not all, but enough to the point it's an obvious problem to anyone except Linux zealots like yourself.

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171667)

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?

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170217)

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.

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#43177775)

>Bowel Movement, Original

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

--
BMO

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43181233)

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

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

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186247)

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.

--
BMO

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43168011)

Are you dense?

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168289)

Are you dense?

Given the nick, I'd suggest "vaporous" as more appropriate.

Re:Incomprehensible Icons (2)

postglock (917809) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168793)

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 (4, Informative)

Wycliffe (116160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43167903)

It is especially good for younger kids but has alot of apps for older
kids as well. http://www.qimo4kids.com/ [qimo4kids.com]
All the other ones I personally tried out seemed to have problems
with sound cards, booting, etc....

Re:Qimo is my favorite (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168307)

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

Re:Qimo is my favorite (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43175667)

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 get over yourself
and if you've mastered english as well as you apparently think you have
then go learn a 2nd language or go proofread something that actually needs
to be proofread like your local newspaper and do me and everyone else on
slashdot a favor and don't attempt to proofread my (or anyone else's) casual
off-the-cuff conversations.

Re:Qimo is my favorite (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#43179291)

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" just makes you look wilfully ignorant.

Re:Qimo is my favorite (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43179395)

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 hairs. Knowing when to correct
someone and when to let things slide is a more important skill than
always having the right answer.

Re:Qimo is my favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43169869)

Qimo is nice, but we use Kiddix on our kids machines. The kids seem to like the interface a bit more, and the parental controls aren't too bad either.

Re:Qimo is my favorite (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170423)

Kiddix's UI looks nice, but I don't like the idea that I have to pay before I can download it and try it out in a VM. The Flash-based "demo" is too limited.

Re:Qimo is my favorite (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170189)

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.)

Re:Qimo is my favorite (2)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170443)

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.

Re:Qimo is my favorite (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#43170287)

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.

Re:Qimo is my favorite (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43179013)

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. (1, Flamebait)

enter to exit (1049190) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168357)

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.

Re:stuff it. (2)

bigbrownepaul (794162) | about a year and a half ago | (#43168737)

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 dont care....

I agree on the generally negative trend on most subjects, I have not taken part in a while after a couple of my comments got me rated as BAD karma.

Seems like any disagreement with the "mob" means you are some sort of nut!!

Oh well probably more negative mods.....

Re:stuff it. (1)

bigbrownepaul (794162) | about a year and a half ago | (#43169629)

Blimey got modded up going for a lie down.....

Re:stuff it. (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43169781)

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 one in particular makes a big difference compared with others (should be something as disruptive as i.e. Sugar to notice it), Just is... correct, in particular for all that you deny, is free (so can be freely distributed, or adapted for different needs),is safe, and have a simplified desktop environment oriented to the task that should be done, is not something that must be defended, because is just the obvious right choice.

Re:stuff it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43174781)

No, you're just wrong. Now go back under the bridge where you came from. The world is (very slowly) moving toward this stuff. Sure the rate might be glacial, but in greenfield areas, it slaughters everything else. The desktop is very nice thanks, the software works well. I've used it exclusively for more than 10 years, even make my living by using it. Why shouldn't the kernel be written in C, every other OS worth anything at all is written in C or C++. The free software movement hasn't stalled, hasn't died, grows every day, and because you troll like this means you will suffer from its reach in more, new, and unsuspected ways. I will sit back and enjoy watching you suffer.

Why Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43168537)

I'd rather use SparrowOS or BareMetal OS for educational purposes.

Good concept (3, Interesting)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Netbook focused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43179807)

I know netbooks have been declared dead by their manufacturers, so I don't know how long this distro will be relevant, but it runs wonderfully on my Cedar Trail netbook. This thing has the worst proprietary PowerVR integrated graphics (Windows 7 32-bit drivers ONLY despite being a 64-bit machine), and UberMix handles it beautifully with their Unity 2D-based WM.

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