The computer they prefer!
The current official, stable release of DoudouLinux version 2.1, was published in early December 2013. It is an update of version 2.0, named DoudouLinux Hyperborea. It is available for download as a DVD image file ready to be burnt as an ISO file – not a data file. This ISO file can also be used to make a live USB key thanks to special tools to make a key able to start a computer. This release is officially supporting 44 languages . So what’s new in the 2.1 release? Few things on the DVD compared to 2.0 but two important things for the project: our online shop and a partnership with Écodair (France) that will sell refurbished computers with DoudouLinux pre-installed. :)
Note: in our documentation we may speak about a CD for the DoudouLinux media while it is indeed a DVD.
Version 2.1 brings mainly fixes and language updates – this is the purpose of minor versions. We also added two small applications as well as a few improvements. Finally a new language is officially supported: Punjabi. Let’s see the details!
In order to help parents lead their children to a reasonable use of digital devices, we created a small application to monitor the computer use per day. This application currently only shows a graphical report of computer use during the past 12 weeks. It is useful for parents to limit computer usage but also for children to limit themselves spontaneously because you will have explained them why they should not spend too much time on screens :).
We also added a small application that displays links to special pages of our website: our manifesto and pages about contributing to or supporting our project. Of course this is not intended for children but rather for parents! Our project is growing fast and we need your support to be able to continue to grow, to continue to improve and to ensure a long life to our project. Contribute and support links have also been added to the web browser homepage, in a dynamic box titled “Support DoudouLinux!”.
If you do not remember what was new in version 2.0 compared to version 1.2, you will find below a description of the changes that occurred few months ago for this new major release. As you will see there is now a large gap between version 2.1 and version 1.2.
There are major changes in this new release: the graphical interface of the most advanced activities, “Whole DoudouLinux”, has been deeply reworked. As you can see in the screenshots below, there is now a background image and all the icons on the top of the screen have been much enlarged, while several application icons have been improved to provide a more attractive interface. NB: if you wonder what the role of the flag is in the upper right corner, this is the keyboard layout indicator.
We have also introduced a new tool called unique-launch whose role is to avoid that children start the same application 10 times because it takes few seconds to begin execution, instead of being an immediate startup! This tool also displays a nice notification text to show children that something is happening —they are not waiting for nothing! Moreover, most applications are launched fullscreen to focus the child’s attention on the current application, and avoid small children getting lost in a profusion of windows.
The former version of DoudouLinux, Gondwana, was shipped with parental controls to prevent children from getting undesirable contents from the Internet. This was a good start and even the bare minimum to provide for a computer system targeted at children, but this is not enough. Nowadays, digital equipment are used as Trojan horses to learn more about us, influence our choices and thoughts. To achieve this, digital equipment requires to be connected to the Internet permanently, for various reasons —that are more and more sounding like excuses (who really needs Internet on his fridge or toaster?).
The truth is —our computers are ours and not those of a third-party, so we want our computers to do exclusively what we want them to do. We do not want them to show uncontrolled advertisements, nor to change web page contents depending on who they think we or our children are, in order to change our minds or, on the contrary, to hide from us the diversity of our world (you can read more about these issues on the page Preserving user privacy). Although DoudouLinux does its best to provide educational and enriching activities without connecting to Internet, DoudouLinux can be connected to the Internet and children are very interested in it. Therefore, we include within DoudouLinux tools that preserve user privacy and prevent third-parties from influencing our children directly in our homes.
As a result, the new release Hyperborea is shipping with:
Moreover, we have changed the default homepage of Epiphany. As shown below, it now displays a portal to ease access to online resources that have a philosophy similar to our project, for example Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap and the Open Clip Art Gallery. These sites are not using aggressive advertisement as a business, and additionally provide contents that may be reused by our children without a second thought, due to the friendly license they use for their work. The full list of websites that we are promoting in this way is localized on the page Epiphany home page and bookmarks.
One of the main goals of DoudouLinux is to provide a computer system that is tuned for children and never asks any questions at boot-up. To better achieve this goal we have improved several things in DoudouLinux 2.0 concerning local settings:
DoudouLinux Hyperborea is shipping with around 30 new applications, among which are several applications that have been updated to change system settings, to configure and install DoudouLinux. Applications targeting children are detailed in our section dedicated to applications; here is the list of the new ones:
As you can see our project is moving toward digital content. We believe that children also need to be taught the use and creation of digital content, for which computers remain the best tool. This is why our efforts will continue in the future to provide more digital content and more digital creation applications for the older children. As a result, if you want our project to provide more digital content and faster, you can come and help us create song files, animation movies, stories, etc. You will be welcomed! ;).
This has been a much desired feature for a long time: a real installer. The new installer is derived from the Linux Mint installer. It can perform a real installation of DoudouLinux onto disk, USB disks included; it can do re-partitioning and multi-boot. We have also added many improvements to make it the one our users have been waiting for! The installer lets you set the following parameters:
All of this from within a nice graphical interface. One of the improvements we brought is a wizard mode for people who want to entirely wipe their disk but don’t want to bother with partitions. In this case, once the disk is selected, it is automatically re-partitioned into 3 partitions: root, home and swap. Unlike many automatic partitioning tools (or mainstream OS’es :p), we want users to be able to reinstall their system without loosing their data! To learn more about our new installer, read the page Installing DoudouLinux definitively.
For a full list of changes, please browse our project management software online.
 Arabic, Armenian, Bengali, Burmese, Chinese (China and Taiwan), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish, Malay, Marathi, Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk), Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Tajik, Telugu, Turkish and Ukrainian.
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