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Shortly after receiving a comment on my other blog (Brazilian Portuguese only) from Armando Silva about an educational Live CD, my curiosity got the best of me and I just had to check it out.

The first thing I did was point my browser to the Brazilian GCompris site and I was imediately impressed by their stated objectives of promoting the translation and documentation of education software in Brazil

A few more paragraphs later I found out that Armando Silva himself was responsible for this Live CD, based on Knoppix with components from Kanotix e Sidux.  The CD is filled with educational applications, such as:

  • Gcompris 8.3 beta3
  • Some of the KDE-Edu applications
  • Childsplay
  • TuxMath
  • TuxType

The CD also has other windows managers such as KDE, Enlightenment and Fluxbox, as well as aMSN, Subversion, Gaim, Iceweasel (Firefox) in 50 languages, support for a great number of languages and sports the kernel 2.6.20-4 compiled for the i386 with many additional drivers.

Salivating in antecipation, I opened up my VirtualBox amd created a new partition and image with 256 MB of RAM.

Boot up screen for the Educational GCompris Live CD

I was very impressed with the options: KDE, Enlightenment 17 and Fluxbox, all Live! I didn’t hesitate and chose Enlightenment. The boot process is all animated with a very pleasant voice explaining what was being done, while a funny looking penguin waddled across the screen.

Educational GCompris Live CD with Enlightenment

The other cool thing was the variety of applications available, and even running it inside VirtualBox with a meager 256 MB of RAM, I had no problems running any of the games… and boy, have they got educational games!!!

Simon says...

I played with at least 5 games (and the person who is really going to test drive it is Yv, my oldest, who was fast asleep when I decided to do this) and I laughed my self silly playing the game above, a game that was fairly popular many decades ago in Brazil.  I also remembered an old Atari game (which unfortunately I don’t remember the name… something raider?) where you had to stop lightening bolts from touching down the ground… But in this game, you had mathematical questions scrolling down the screen and you had to stop them by typing the correct solution.

Solve the mathematical problems

There was also a Microsoft Paint clone that looked very interesting. I then tried a program that teaches you how to type.  The game has several levels but I only tried the first one, where you have to help Tux eat as many fishes by typing the corresponding letter falling down the screen.

Typing game

After a little while I decided to stop my exploratio and wait until tomorrow so Yv has a chance to find out new stuff too. I can already see her face brighten with excitement when she sees some of this stuff!

Now, a little bit of trivia for you:  Does anyone know the meaning of the picture below, showing off KGeography?

A little bit of geography

Overall, I was extremelly pleased with this initiative, and I urge those with kids or have little brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and want to support a great open source project, download your copy today! And if you speak Portuguese or just want to find out how you can help out, contact the guys behind GCompris Brasil (I’ll be glad to help out if you have any trouble with the language barrier) and check out how to help them!


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