It was time to give my 7 year old daughter access to her own computer. She only spends about 30 – 60 minutes a day on the computer but it can be a challenge on some days when mom and daughter are vying for time with the family computer. As you already know I’m a big supporter of CentOS. However, I would be the first to admit that CentOS is not very user friendly and certainly not the best Linux distribution for any laptop or desktop computer. I have been hearing a lot of encouraging comments from friends and industry professionals about Ubuntu Linux. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to secure a Windows XP desktop in the hands of a 7 year old, not to mention how costly it can be when you start to add up all the software you need to purchase. I decided to load Ubuntu and give it a quick test run. I was evaluating several different criteria including performance (running some old hardware) and easy of use.
I had installed Ubuntu using the original Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition which required 242 patches/upgrades to be installed after I installed the operating system. I believe Ubuntu has since released a slipstreamed version (8.04.1) with the latest and greatest patches and upgrades since June 2008. The initial install along with the subsequent updates was very painless, I just sat back and let the software do the work.
I was very pleased with the performance and the easy of use of Ubuntu. Now I just needed to find some solution to help make sure that my daughter didn’t mistakenly end up on some shady website. I stumbled across Glubble, a Firefox Add-on which allows you to control which websites your children can visit. Your child can also request access to additional websites which a parent must then authorize.
If you are a parent looking to provide a safe experience for your child while he/she surfs the Internet I would highly recommend Glubble!
I’m in the process of making a computer for my 5 year old cousin. I want to use Edubuntu and dual boot with Windows 95 so she could play some older educational games (that I once played!).
Thanks for recommending Gubble! Her mom was worried about having Internet access on this machine. She currently loves Webkinz and would like to access it on this *new* machine.
** Flash Back **
My first computer was an IBM PS/2 running IBM DOS back in 1991 with a 9600 baud modem. I was 4 years old at the time and was busy emailing Santa via Prodigy. He would actually respond back too! I though this was the coolest thing ever. Unlike the post office, I actually received a response back. I also had a lot of educational software on there as well. I still have the computer and it functions perfectly (minus Internet).
Michael McNamara says
Webkinz is a favorite site for my daughter as well. I should have mentioned that you can run Glubble on Windows as well as Linux, hopefully you figured that out. I used Ubuntu primarily to keep the machine safe from all the virus/trojan/worm stuff out on the Internet. If I had used Windows XP I would have had to secure the heck out of it with all sorts of Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Anti-SPAM, etc.
The only downside I found is that the Linux version of Glubble will not run full-screen. Supposedly this is a known issue that is being looked at by the developers.
I had almost forgot about Prodigy… but 9600 baud was king back then, I can remember working on 300 baud modems. My first computer I ever sat at was a Commodore PET.
Thanks for the comment!