I happened to notice a posting to the Moblin listserv this weekend that looked interesting. A new developer had begun tackling a project called Moblin4Children. Not surprisingly, this project aims to modify the open source, netbook-centric OS originally developed by Intel for an audience of school children.
The project is very much in its infancy, largely focusing on making the open source Gcompris suite of educational software work well in Moblin. A few blog posts are floating around about the effort, as well and the project has a page on Linux.com. According to the page,
Netbook and Nettop could be the first device a children will play with. Moblin is an emerging OS for these platforms. Why do no think to a Moblin For Children? Help us to design it.
Ignore the grammatical errors; I'm always just grateful when people post anything in English.
You might ask, however, why we would want a version of Moblin for kids when we already have Edubuntu and Ubuntu Netbook Remix. I blogged about Moblin awhile back and noticed a few things that make this project interesting:
What really interested me, aside from these details, was the interface itself. The Moblin UI, with its stackable spaces for various functional groups and automatically hiding toolbars, in my opinion, makes much better use of the minimal screen real estate than Windows does. It’s easy to imagine kid-friendly applications (including the Classmate software stack) in this environment. It’s also easy to be impressed by its speed and responsiveness, making the most of the limited resources of netbooks.
Don't get me wrong; Ubuntu NBR works really well, both for consumers and in educational settings. However, as we see devices start to converge around platforms like Atom, the Moblin OS may take on increasing importance. If that's the case, then let's make sure that the latest generation of electronic devices for kids can run the best open source software designed for fun and education in the primary school set.