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Help Me Move To Linux

By khenson ·
Greetings fellow TR Members!
I need your expert advice.
I am purchasing a new pc for my 3.5-yr-old this Christmas. It is a low-end model that (surprise!) is coming pre-loaded with XP (probably because it only has 1GB memory but that is fine).
Anyway, I am thinking that I want to instead run Linux on this machine.
My kid will have plenty of opportunity to learn Windows everywhere else. If I get him started with Linux, I think it may make him more computer-savvy and flexible (although I suppose this could be erroneous thinking).
Anyway, I am seeking a solution that I can make real simple for him. I don't know anything about Linux, so forgive my ignorance.
Basically I want his desktop to have the ability to be formatted with a few large icons that will open the programs I have downloaded onto his machine; and nothing more. No start menu/taskbar so as to avoid him doing anything he shouldn't do; and an internet connection that I can lock down 100% (allowing him access to only a couple of sites of my choosing).
This is possible with Linux, no?
Where do I begin?

And to make this question even longer... what if I wanted to keep XP on the machine, run Linux most of the time, but keep the option of switching back to XP if desired?

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All Answers

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Don't do it

by LarryD4 In reply to Help Me Move To Linux

99.9% of the software that your kid will use in school, will be windows based. One of the nice things we are doing is purchasing the same software they use in the schools computer lab. So at 5 when he was in kindergarden we had the same setup home, as in the computer room. And now that he's in 1st grade its helped even more.

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Good point!

by ---TK--- In reply to Don't do it
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Well, that's sorta why I *wanted* to....

by khenson In reply to Don't do it

Hi Larry,
thank you for this comment, but actually your reason is precisely why I wanted him to have Linux at home. I believe that he is young and unbiased enough to be able to learn both OS equally as well, and at the same time. Windows at school, Linux at home, and even OSX too at some point.
It's almost like the little electronic game he has right now that mimics a desktop computer (LeapFrog ClickStart for anyone who cares). It teaches him the basic computing skills but I believe will have no bearing on limiting his usage of Windows when he starts school.

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Your choice

by LarryD4 In reply to Well, that's sorta why I ...

It's your choice, but I can't see giving my son a Linux based PC when the entire school is on PC based.

You will run in to a myriad of problems over his grammar school career when you can't run the same apps they have in school.

Let alone the issues you'll have when he wants to play games for his age and they won't run on Linux. But all he keeps saying it runs on the computer at "Billy's" house.

Now once my son hits 8 or 9 and understands the concept of decimal and binary, then we may move in to Linux. But until then I want him to have fun and enjoy the time on his PC and not become frustrated due to the differences between his home computer and the one at school.

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dont give him root.....

by ---TK--- In reply to Help Me Move To Linux

This is a tuff call... only because you looking to lock down, and configure, something that you have no idea about. Which will put you at a disadvantage. I would highly recommend keeping XP on the machine, with in XP make him a restricted user, upgrade it to IE7, within IE properties, go to Content, and and click settings and click what you want set the rating levels.

In the mean time, you could install a distro of your choice on your PC, duel boot, and mess with Linux when you want to. Learn the ins and outs and when you feel comfortable install it on his machine.

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hope this helps

by FC-T. In reply to Help Me Move To Linux

My expertise with Linux is only a few months old but I did some research before taking the plunge and I would Recommend going with Ubuntu it is a stable OS and relatively easy to set up.
Keeping both operating systems is not a bad idea, you can install Ubuntu on a partition on your hard drive and have the option to switch between OS.
I'm not sure about disabling the 'start' menu but my experience with the OS is that the system asks for a password anytime a system change is about to be made so no need to worry about that.(You can also create restrictive profiles like in windows.)
Ubuntu will come loaded with Firefox 3 and you can set parental controls etc

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