Looking for ideas and volunteers to create lightweight educational spin


no no no. the question is for the op. i must have clicked on the wrong reply button, pardon me.



I think it is an admirable endeavor. Many of the things you have mentioned are already included as standard in the Manjaro editions currently available. It may also be handy to know the age group of the target users.

If you want a lightweight desktop, I think Mate or LXDE/QT are your best bets. A standalone window manager is probably the lightest of environments but also the most complicated to use for kids.

May I also ask which country you hail from?

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For students doing an English course? Watching movies would definitely help.

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Here is a spanner in the works,
Why on earth would you want to subject a school to a rolling release arch based distro with no support.? require constant maintenance, drops and changes packages at a whim.
You should be looking at Debian for kids with it 5 year support, Debian also has the largest selection of educational software, does not need constant updating.
I don’t think you did any research at all.
On the other side if you want modern that kids do not need any teaching then google chrome is the way to go amazon prime, netflix & tubi are all included and its very android like but

This really is not educational now is it its social media based meaning more Jonny and Jane no friends, to me not a good idea.



@miauriel For the time being I’d recommend avoiding LXQt (even though I help there). That DE is under heavy development and may not be as stable as either XFCE4 or Mate. I recommend sticking with XFCE. It is wonderfully stable, resource light, and easily tweaked.

Edit: As for @mandog’s comment regarding rolling release versus fixed release, it has merit. If I were you, I’d check stick Debian rather than an ubuntu derived OS. And to my mind, the best of those because of the wonderful support, tools, and community, is MX Linux. They are worth a ‘gander’.



I agree Debian would be a better fit assuming you can easily get it running properly on your hardware. I say this because the last few times I have tried to install Debian 9 it has had issues with very common hardware that is not that old. Not recognizing my three year old display is an issue, and getting the resolution wrong on a built in laptop display is just a no go. Never had problems with Debian 8, but 9 is quite frankly a raging hot mess.



Canada. I’m going to suggest that we start with a minimal install of a stable base from either XFCE/Mate/LXQT and package different apps from there. I agree that minimal wise Mate and LXQT would be a great fit, however XFCE is a better fit for minimal to medium weight machines.

Anyone with a better machine can either use the XFCE respin, or be shown another supported/community edition before installing the apps with script.



I did do research, thank you. Manjaro was chosen for a few reasons, although its not set in stone. If the board greenlights a LUG, then it would be supported by the group. If anyone outside feel like helping too, awesome.

As for streaming services, it’d be nice to have this work so kids will start using it as much as they can out of the gate. Thank you for your thoughts though.

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I’ll have a look at MX when I get home. As well, I’ll take LXQt out of the running. Thank you for your insights!



Another spanner in the works,
Desktops I run support for local children in our village in Peru, Linux is not known here, I started with win10 support but it was not viable. So I introduced Linux the youngsters took quite well to it, Next I tried different desktops at 1st it was a disaster, why I spent more time than it was worth resetting every user setting every time users used the damn thing. Then i introduced Gnome 3 as far from windows as possible, well it takes youngsters about 2 mins to adapt, unlike set in their ways adults,the kids love it and although they have a choice Gnome/KDE, KDE never gets used again why they say they are just over-whelmed with kde and play just takes over, With Gnome everything is logic and just works its just a nicer experience for them.
Now i’m a Arch user yes I used Manjaro of the 2 once set-up Arch is the clear winner, faster, lighter, more stable, but i’m not ever going to recommend you use Arch just like Manjaro unless you know the product it will fail.



Its agreed by educators here that kids need instant gratification. My thought here, is that giving a kid an educational laptop only, it may get used for school. However, if we were to give them a laptop with educational tools, yet allow them to use it for things they normally do it much be picked up with more vigor.

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I agree. Kids should have the chance to learn about the tools they are using, and learn how to troubleshoot, and fix their own problems. It shouldn’t be hidden from them, because that teaches nothing. Chromeos (what most schools use) teaches kids how to click a few buttons to go to youtube. Linux would teach kids how to fix issues by themselves, how to work efficiently, and how to improve what they are using.



Have you read The Open Schoolhouse? I think it would be extremely informative reading for you.



Why re-invent the wheel unless you and your kids want to re-invent the wheel then why are you here, use your own/kids ideas.



cool project, have you been looking at jolicloud / joli os they tried something similar, but gave up.

also look at other educational projects on distrowatch

custom browser with parental lock should be considered



There’s a Portuguese distribution called Linux Caixa Mágica. It’s based on Debian with Gnome. It was part of my stepdaughter’s school laptop (given by the government) and I must say it was quite good. This was some years ago, but the distribution is kept updated and has educational projects here and abroad. You might want to take a look. I never installed the distributed version, but the one on my stepdaughter’s laptop had very good tools directly connected to the Educational Administration, with parent controls and everything. Those guys work quite well.

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If you are looking for something light, then the lightest manjaro editions are bspwm, openbox and i3. You cannot get significantly lighter without sacrificing significant amount of beginner friendliness. For masochistically light, see bspwm-minimal.

If you start from scratch and have time to burn, then your best bet might jwm. You can get a quite good and approachable environment for very little resources. If you are interested in the jwm route, you should check out kibojoe linux.

Note that any of these options are have much less automation than full desktops, and require the students to learn things for basic usage. If you want something easier, take Xfce or lxde. Those provide a full desktop for reasonable amount of resources.

Btw, what kind of hardware are we actually talking about? 1Gb ram or less? Or maybe more?

If I was doing this, I would just take lxde edition, trim it down a little bit and add the desired programs. Build the iso with manjaro32. Not very hard to get started, maybe a single evening or a weekend required. The difficult part is the required education and maintenance that comes afterwards.


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