Linux for the kids

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There’s the old favorite saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he’ll eat for the rest of his life.” Let’s focus on a little teaching to fish for a minute.

I’m big on using Ubuntu but I especially get a kick out of speaking at a convention or being at a tradeshow and saying, “Please, my 5 and 9 year old have Linux on the computer in their room.” The reason I love saying this is because it gives them something a little better than what they get using anything else. It teaches them good computer skills that will serve them well using Windows, Mac, or whatever else comes down the road.

Let’s face it. Techy guys are a very opinionated bunch. Open source communities are groups of people that waste no time telling you their opinion on why something sucks. Thus they tend to write software with not sucking in mind. I’m not trying to tell you that Open source software never sucks. That’s a story for another day. The one thing I do find in it is a grasp of the basics.

Getting my 9 year old to write his homework using OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Word proved to be a less daunting task that I thought it would be. The reason being is that children haven’t gotten bogged down by the many years of “I have to do it this way” that many adults have. Their more apt to try and figure out how to get the result if you just tell them to figure it out.

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I tend to start my 5 year old off with a little game called Frozen Bubble. It’s addicting and fun but it gets them to enjoy the environment their in as opposed to the strictly Windows world I have for the older boys (due to the graphical games that will only run on Windows for now).

Consider it future-proofing your children. The skills that they learn using a Linux computer will translate over the Mac and Windows. I’ve even found that a lot of the key strokes are the same as well. Let your children learn how to use a word processer not how to use Word.

2 Responses to “Linux for the kids”

  1. soupornuts says:

    I have been using Open Office for about 3 months. It has filled all my needs. As a rule, I like to use open source programming if it is available. Recently, I downloaded Filezilla (I am in the process of moving soupornuts to a dedicated site) and am very pleased with it’s ease of use and functionality. Anyway, I agree with the points you make here, plus it’s a lot cheaper that ms.

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