Teaching Kids/children Linux

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by BeefCake 15, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. BeefCake 15 macrumors 65816

    BeefCake 15

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    Location:
    near Boston, MA
    #1
    I want to start a thread for parents/care givers to share ideas, strategies and advice on how they taught their Kids to use Linux. Seeing that Raspberry Pi is cheaper than a restaurant meal for two in most cases, it's the perfect low risk platform to get the new generation going.

    Share your thoughts, software, hardware, schedules/plans for others to benefit!
     
  2. Osty macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, AU
    #2
    My eldest happily uses Linux on several older machines I have. He uses an iPad too but I think it's my duty as a parent to offer a free (speech and beer) alternative to the Apple/Microsoft world.

    Distro of choice is Ubuntu Mate.

    Hardware is Raspberry Pi 2, and old Samsung netbook and my Acer C720 Chromebook with hacked firmware.

    I prefer Linux to OS X and I use it professionally every day. The only thing keeping my in the Apple ecosystem is Scrivener for my fiction writing and my wife's dependence on iCloud for organising the family.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    I don't see any reason to teach my kids Linux, perhaps if they get more into computers, they seem happy to be using OS X at home, and Windows in School.
     
  4. BeefCake 15 thread starter macrumors 65816

    BeefCake 15

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    Location:
    near Boston, MA
    #4
    The reason I chose Linux as a start before OS X is I'm not planning to buy them $1K computer at a young age but Linux is the closest equivalent can be loaded on a RPi. Schools are not going any where from using Windows unfortunately.
     
  5. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #5
    @BeefCake 15 If price is the sole concern then I recommend that you look at a Chromebook or Chromebox. Raspberry Pi's are great devices, but for a computer for a young child then Chrome is great as it is easy to use and cloud computing is what we are moving more and more towards each day. Furthermore, it makes a great computer to share since it only takes giving each child a free Google account to keep everything separate.
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    I can understand that, my kids seemed to handle using a Mac Mini pretty well, they now (at age 10), use my MBP and are good with it.

    They will need to know windows, so while you may lament the school system from using that platform, the kids are getting skills that will help them down the road
     
  7. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #7
    How will I introduce my son to Unixes and programming?
    The same way I introduce him to any creative subject: By playing with him in an environment where we learn what we need to solve a problem we have, and where we apply what we learn and see results I hope make a positive impression.

    The deeper part of the question: Do you mean teaching them GNU on Linux (or other UNIX based or -derived systems), or do you mean teaching them how to use a GUI on top of a Unix-like environment?
    Thing is, my mother-in-law runs Mint/XFCE like a champ, because her only requirements from a computer are that she'll be able to use a web browser to pay her bills and to search for information, access her mail via an IMAP-capable mail client, and use (very basic features of) a word processor with the capability to print finished documents. I wouldn't call that "knowing" Unix, though.

    What worked for me, back in the early nineties, was to only ever have access to computers where text input in a ROM-based BASIC interpreter or a DOS environment was the only way to start interacting with computers, and being social on a computer meant dialing a text-based BBS using an analog modem. If you were lucky, they had an ANSI color text environment.
    Getting hold of the Debian base system after a few years of that was pure hacking joy, and once I bought a CD set containing RedHat 5.1 with the AfterStep window manager, I couldn't understand why anyone would want to be running Windows 95, NT 4 or Mac OS 7, with their various instabilities that could bring the entire computer down instead of just killing the single program which misbehaved.

    This is an example to get to a point: Things have changed. A lot. Many kids' first interaction with a computer will be with an iPad or iPhone: a beautiful, intuitive touch interface with no reason - not even a possibility - to open a shell and fix what doesn't work the way you want in the system. The absolute majority of kids will never see the point in learning what makes the system tick underneath that gorgeous surface. And of those who do, the majority will never see the point in learning the underlying system beyond using Xcode and its existing libraries. That's what most people get wrong when they figure that "all kids should learn to code" or "all kids should learn proper computing": The lack of necessity also removes the motivation for all but those who would have learnt anyway, given a chance.

    Since I am a hacker in the original sense of the word, my kid regularly sees me connecting to my own or my employer's servers using secure shell, for maintenance work or to improve something or other. I do have an old laptop running text-only FreeBSD for fun, and once he's old enough, he might appreciate the humor of it. But if he has no interest in the technology, I won't force him. Heck, he might even be required to run Microsoft products to be compatible with school requirements one day... :)
     

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