Debian Jr.

Email: ?MailTo(debian-jr AT SPAMFREE lists DOT debian DOT org)

Debian Jr. is a project to make Debian an OS that children will enjoy using. More about the project at the official site, http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-jr, our project development site http://alioth.debian.org/projects/debianjr, and the Jr. developer blog, http://syn.theti.ca/articles/tag/jr.

Guiding Principles

We aim to help children and those who care for them to get the most use and enjoyment out of their Debian systems; to help them acquire some of the skills and experiences we have as adults; and to convey to them our values: our love of freedom, our appreciation for software that works well, and our strong sense of community.

That is to say, we do not aim to diminish or limit Debian to "domesticate" it for little people, but to give them the best of what Debian has to offer so they will grow to the point where they no longer need our help.

Behind every child user of Debian, we assume there is at least one older person who uses Debian and helps them with it: a guide, a mentor, a parent, a relative, a friend. So these people are our users too. It would be too easy to treat them as our primary audience. After all, they are the ones reading this web page. They are the ones installing and maintaining the system. However, they also have other places to get support in the broader community of Debian and free software. In thinking about where our energies should be focused, then, we place [:/children first:children first] and their guides second.

Live CD development

At this point the prereleases of the Debian Jr. live CD are strictly for discussion purposes and are not yet intended for end users. That being said, images are available which you can try out if you want to help us make them better. But we are not yet ready to give user support for them.

Test images are temporarily available here:

[http://people.debian.org/~synrg/live-jr]

If you would like to discuss the development of the Jr. live CD, please join #debian-jr on irc.debian.org or drop us a note at debian-jr@lists.debian.org.

A Debian Jr. live CD can also be built using live-helper with the following steps:

svn co svn://svn.debian.org/debian-live/dists/trunk/live-helper
( cd live-helper ; debuild -us -uc )
sudo dpkg -i live-helper*.deb
svn co svn://svn.debian.org/debian-live/configs/junior
sudo make-live --root junior &>make-live.log

Currently the junior config in svn is for a usb key using gnome. You can change this by editing the appropriate variables in junior/config. Other possible values for LIVE_PACKAGES_LIST are "kde-junior" or "xfce-junior", and LIVE_BINARY_IMAGE can be changed to "iso" to generate a CD image.

For more help with live-helper configuration, see ["DebianLive/Configuration"] or join #debian-live on irc.debian.org.

Desktop customization tips

A default Debian desktop is already fairly usable by children of most ages with minimal configuration changes. Of course, like older users, children will want things arranged for their maximum convenience and to suit their tastes. So we encourage you to spend some time with each child user you look after adjusting their account settings and, where possible, helping them to adjust them on their own.

Typical things you might want to change are:

But for the very youngest children, something a bit different from the standard desktop can be set up, if you prefer.


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