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Linux Which distro for kids to learn with?

Discussion in 'Software' started by ModSquid, 20 Apr 2020.

  1. ModSquid

    ModSquid Active Member

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    Morning all (just).

    Title is pretty self-explanatory, really - have an old laptop that the kids were using for home schooling but it's dragging like a dog with no legs at the moment and I'm running out of ideas to speed it up (it doesn't actually have much installed at the moment other than AV scanners, but I'm not letting them run riot without those on there). Unless anyone has any suggestions regarding the same, I was wondering whether I could achieve a faster machine by using a lighter weight Linux distro in place of Windows.

    If so:
    • what's a good one for the kids to learn to get to grips with (and myself, actually, since I have no experience of Linux whatsoever)? I did try running Mint from a CD but for some reason it wouldn't boot
    • how do I protect Linux against malware etc. when going online?
    • anything else I should know?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. yuusou

    yuusou Well-Known Member

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    For a simple learning experience use Xubuntu. You don't really need to worry about malware on Linux, much less on the desktop. As always, I recommend having an ad blocker. That always helps.
     
  3. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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  4. Yaka

    Yaka Well-Known Member

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  5. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    As someone who runs Debian, Mint, Tinycore and Lubuntu myself, I'm going to have to suggest none of those and vote for regular Ubuntu.

    As has been said it's just the easiest to learn on because, even though its popularity is slipping now, it was the breakout distro for most (including me, it was my main OS from Dapper to Lucid) and there's just so much documentation on it.

    If the laptop is going to struggle with hardware specs then Lubuntu or something like Peppermint might be a little easier and still Ubuntu(Debian)-based.
     
  6. ModSquid

    ModSquid Active Member

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    Cheers all, some decent info there - much appreciated!

    Jake - what in your opinion are the main differences/benefits of Peppermint vs Xubuntu? I was quite sold on that one based mainly on apparent ease of use and less work for the system resources and then saw your response.
     
  7. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    I have a personal preference for LXDE of XFCE (that's why I suggested Lubuntu over Xubuntu) and Lubuntu is a more 'traditional' implementation of that, I think Peppermint does something different with the window manager but I could be wrong. Peppermint might stray a little too far from Ubuntu if you ever need to follow a tutorial.

    Xubuntu is a nice balance between being full-featured and lightweight, that's a perfectly fine suggestion from @yuusou IME.

    What are the specs of the machine anyway? You'd be surprised how little a 'proper' distro like Ubuntu or Mint really need.
     
  8. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    Personally for me it would be xubuntu or lubuntu. But its Linux, so make a few live USBs of some distros, boot into them, have look around and see what you think yourself. Gives you some insight into a distro without having to run through a full install.
     
  9. adidan

    adidan Guesswork is still work

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    I've only dabbled with a few but pretty much settled on Mint and i'd also suggest anything Ubuntu based.

    Quite a familiar looking setup to learn to get to grips with I reckon.
     
  10. sandys

    sandys Well-Known Member

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    What is running slow, will linux fix it? I have never found Linux distros particularly snappy and not worth dicking about with for kids IMO unless they have a specific interest, for a while my daughter ran ubuntu on an old lappy due to ram size but these days we just use windows 10 which can be quite lightweight if you use the right software with it (I'm using a crappy 2ghz Atom laptop right now )
     
  11. ModSquid

    ModSquid Active Member

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    It's an old Celeron 550 @ 2GHz with 2GB RAM and I've chucked a 4GB ReadyBoost card in that doesn't actually seem to have made much difference. The report from the "classroom" (read: dining room) is that the internet is slow and the machine's "averagely" responsive. I'm basically exhausting options before pulling the drive and retiring the machine as a last straw (that's partly why I was asking about StoreMI on another thread as well - in case I use the drive elsewhere).

    It's on Win 7 at the moment but won't even play Pinball FX via Steam, which I was going to put down to crappy internal graphics, but can't see how Pinball and Superfrog are taxing graphically. It's got a couple of malware scanners running in realtime, don't know if that's also causing the issues.

    I've got Win 10 on a small Asus T100 2-in-1 that seems to run okay for "Teacher" (although has slowed down a bit and lost audio since installing Zoom, for some odd reason), so I hear your point about that not being too bad. Kids have no specific interest, I was just under the (probably mistaken) impression it might be a way for the older one to learn about command line operation and such, as a way to introduce her to the idea of coding. Which incidentally, is also what I want the laptop to be able to do.

    I've got most of the spares to teach her to knock up her own Sandy Bridge desktop which could always go in the dining room, but the laptop is more convenient for the home schooling at the moment.
     
  12. sandys

    sandys Well-Known Member

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    Yup you are not playing with much resources there, a lightweight linux might help but I don't think there is any getting away from the fact it is still going to be a poor user experience.
     
  13. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    Plenty of distros will run just fine on that hardware. Definitely stick with the lighter ones but don't worry too much. The one thing that very few distros can get around is slow disk read times, which I imagine will be the biggest bottleneck as a laptop that old will have a slow hard drive. If it's really bad try something like Damn Small Linux or TinyCore as they run entirely in RAM so they'll fly but they're not the 'easiest' of distros.
     
  14. kellyon

    kellyon New Member

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    I also use xubuntu for easy learning. I study programming in college, I found r programming assignment help to save my time and get good grades. These guys helped me to get the highest score in the class.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2020

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