The computer they prefer!
The current official, stable release of DoudouLinux (version 2.0) was published by late June 2013. Its name is 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 43 languages . So what’s new in the 2.0 release? A lot of things :).
Note: in our documentation we may be speaking of a CD for the DoudouLinux media while it is indeed a DVD.
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 immediate! 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 already shipping 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. We then had to 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 can be reused by our children without a second thought because of the friendly license they are using for their work. The full list of websites that we are promoting 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 contents, 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 a complete replacement of the former, with one derived from the Linux Mint installer. It can perform a real installation of DoudouLinux onto disk, USB disks included; it can do repartitioning 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 that is performed from within a nice graphic 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 repartitioned 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.
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