You can do plenty of things with an old PC besides sending it to the recycling heap. Let's take a look at a few ways you might put that old system to work.
• Edubuntu is based on the popular Ubuntu distribution. Designed to be easy to install and very Windows-like in its operation, Edubuntu would be my first choice if I were using newer hardware. With its rich graphical interface, though, I worry that these years-old PCs, neither of which have graphic cards, will lag running Edubuntu. And given kids’ attention spans, I’m afraid that would be a major barrier to getting them to use it.
• LinuxKidX uses a KDE-based desktop highly customized for children, and is based on the Slackware distro. The only drawback for me is that most of the support material is in Portuguese (although the distro I linked to is in English), making it hard for me to be confident about my ability to help if there are any problems.
• Sugar for K-6 is the distribution based on Fedora Linux that was designed for Prof. Nicolas Negroponte's One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) project. It is aimed at K-6 children and is a radical departure from the traditional desktop, putting more fun, ease, teaching and programming abilities into the computing desktop. There are two cons that I see. The first one that it is designed for classroom use. Secondly, it is so radically different from the traditional Linux desktop that you can begin to feel you are using a completely different operating system.
• Qimo is another system based on Ubuntu, but designed to be used by a single home user instead of in classroom instruction. The system requirements are fairly low, since it’s designed to be run on donated equipment which Qimo’s parent organization, QuinnCo, distributes to needy kids.
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