DoudouLinux Review: Expose your children to Linux
It is important for children living in the age of computers and the Internet to have some exposure to the technology of today's world. At the same time we may want to keep them away from the corporate side of our society, all kinds of advertising that targets children or we do not wish to purchase any expensive software. In such case the Linux operating system is the solution for you. In particular, DoudouLinux seems to be a right choice for a child that exhibits an interests in computers. It provides a great learning experience for children of all ages. Whether they would like to play a game or, for instance, start learning a programming language DoudouLinux has them covered. Moreover, what is also important, it is for FREE, can be downloaded and copied as many times as you require and passed to other users, which makes it accessible to children in all parts of the world.
2. Description of DoudouLinux
DoudouLinux seems to be as easy to use as a gaming console. It is quite exciting that actually kids can use free software and have fun!
The main menu of the DoudouLinux is divided into categories that represent age group suitable games and educational activities. Below you can see the main window of DoudouLinux, which appears after starting the system on your computer.
With DoudouLinux children are motivated to create as much as possible starting with drawings, comics and music and going as far as stop-motion films and games. As an example let us have a look at the learning experience of a 2 year old child. It is amazing that such a young child can already learn and benefit from use of computers. After clicking at Gamine, discover the mouse a 2 year old child can start drawing scribbles by moving his/her mouse and by pressing the mouse button he/she can produce all kinds of shapes. See below an example of such drawing.
For more complex activities that develop child's creativity go to Whole DoudouLinux and select Multimedia. In the screen-shot below you can see a list of such applications.
Moreover, DoudouLinux opens children to culture by providing links to suitable websites that share DoudouLinux philosophy of free software and information. What I personally found exciting is the fully controlled chat for children as illustrated below.
Educational possibilities of DoudouLinux are enormous. Have a look, for instance, at this geography application as displayed below.
Besides of the clear educational objectives, DoudouLinux aims, as we where informed from the interview with one of the DoudouLinux developers, to help children to take full control over computers, and understand that they are just powerful tools to help their creativity instead of a goal by themselves. Such philosophy applies also to the Internet. In the long term, DoudouLinux connects computers to the real world by, for example, origami lessons, online printing web services for T-shirts or cups, simple Arduino tools or 3D printing. One of the objectives for them is to free DoudouLinux from the influence of any company, which means cleaning up the web experience by adblocking, using DuckDuckGo instead of Google, etc. It is also promoting websites conforming to the free software spirit, like Wikipedia or the Open ClipArt Library.
3. Who will benefit from using DoudouLinux?
DoudouLinux is designed for children in an age group from 2 to 12 providing a variety of educational experiences as indicated in the previous section.
Additionally, DoudouLinux has been translated into more than 30 languages. This makes it accessible to a wide range of users around the world. In some parts of the world it might be very difficult to gain access to computer software especially designed for children. DoudouLinux gives everyone the chance to get and use educational software.
Furthermore, DoudouLinux is distributed for free. This is important for those who do not wish to buy an expensive computer software. Moreover, it can be downloaded and freely copied. You can also pass it freely to your friends and all this is absolutely legal.
4. Other pros and cons
If you compare DoudouLinux with similar free Linux systems for children it classifies quite high. Its benefits over other competing systems are:
- competitors are generally not thought for ease of use from ground, but use instead an existing Linux environment more or less tuned for children;
- DoudouLinux is intuitive in children's language, while on competing systems the action of an adult may be required when children cannot read;
- DoudouLinux's software set is generally larger and targeting children from 2 to 12 while many competitors are targeting a public from 5 to 16 or more;
- DoudouLinux is thought as a LiveCD to be ran on any computer;
- DoudouLinux can run on cheap ARM equipment;
- DoudouLinux has a large community of more than 100 contributors;
- DoudouLinux targets individual computers only and do not try to produce software for classrooms;
- DoudouLinux provides Internet filtering tools.
However, no product is without any flows. This is a free operating system, therefore, it may be less advanced in terms of graphics when compared with other software on the market. There are some flows in the menu navigation that I would personally suggest for improvement. If you have a little older child that is already familiar with game consoles he/she may not be very exited to play games provided by DoudouLinux. They, however, may benefit from educational side of the system. DoudouLinux is definitely more suitable for Linux enthusiasts that would like to pass their enthusiasm and philosophy to their children than for people that are more interested in the high-tech devices and computer graphics.
5. How to get DoudouLinux?
- creating a CDROM;
- creating a USB key;
- creating a flash card or hard disk;
- checking downloaded ISO files and disk images;
- checking checksums.
We also refer to FAQ for general DoudouLinux questions and answers as well as such topics as: contents of DoudouLinux, prerequisites, daily use, security and other issues.
DoudouLinux is Linux for children that provides a great gaming and educational experience for children. But not only that, it does more. It also provides other tools that connect children with the Internet and other DoudouLinux users.
Please share your comments and experiences with DoudouLinux by writing in the comments form below or posting a question or suggestion on DoudouLinux forum.