Don't underestimate kids

Alot is said about getting Linux more accepted among the masses. I have said before that the only way to do that is through the kids. I saw an example of that last night.

I was meeting with 3 families to give them their first PC. For those that don't know, I use a remastered version of DSL for these machines. One family came in with 4 children. These kids had already seen one of my PC's from another family that had received one. The kids ran by their dad and right up to the PC. Immediately they clicked on the wmdrawer button, brought up their favorite games, and went to town!! They were having a ball! The fact that these PC's did not have M$ on them did not matter in the least to these children. They already knew how to navigate the OS and were having fun.

I am telling you, people are ready for Linux. It will just take people like us to push and educate the general public. I am doing it in my community are you in yours? :)

As of right now, I estimate there are nearly 100 children in my community with a Linux PC. This number will grow exponentially this year. I had ONE elementary school send home letters with 90 children who do not have a PC in their home just last week. There are nearly a dozen elementary schools in my county alone. That shows you the potential.

All this joy generated by Linux and 'junk' PC's. Life is good.


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Hi Chris, sounds like your a

Hi Chris,
sounds like your approach is very successful and more importantly beneficial for the kids.

Are there any areas which need improving or are simply difficult for kids to use? i.e. saving to floppy or attaching and using a printer?

Secondly. Are the parents also learning to use these Linux PC's and if "yes" ... in what ways?



Hi, Rob.

Some things are still to be determined. I have an explanation in the startup doc for setting up a printer and connecting via dialup but I am unsure if anyone has tried to do it. I have almost 100 HP printers that I need to go through and see what works. I'm also testing an external modem and will order it in bulk if it works well. I normally give people a basic computer setup and then ask for $5 donations for 'extras' like printers, speakers, etc.. Most people are waiting for me to have those things available to them. I admit that printing and setting up a dialup connection are the two things that still haunt me as far as people being able to understand and implement. I hope to have training seminars soon. That will give me a better idea of how people respond to my instructions and the setup task.

In many of the families I encounter, the parents need the PC's as much as the kids. Many are undereducated. The games initially attract the kids AND the parents to the PC. One parent called me yesterday because she got a floppy stuck in the PC! She was writing a letter to her mother. So, both parent and child seem to be utilizing the machines.

I know from talking to teachers that the kids start using things like powerpoint in 4-5th grade. I try to get 128mb memory in any PII I receive. That way, I can install openoffice on them (running as uci). So any 4th graders on up get a PII and all the younger kids get a PI. Once a younger child gets to the 4th grade, they can bring their PC to me and upgrade to a PII to keep up with the school needs.

Let me know if you have anymore questions or ideas!