Being Father’s Day today gives me pause to consider Debian Jr., a project for kids. The goal was to make Debian the OS kids prefer to use. I wanted my own kids to grow up enjoying using a system that puts the fewest barriers in the way to learning about how computers work, and to making computers work for them.
It’s nearly six years later now: enough time for my second youngest to grow from a toddler to an eight-year-old girl, for my youngest girl to be born and put to the test the lower limit of our “for kids from 0 to 99” slogan, for our boy in the middle to grow from a preschooler to a preteen, and for the two oldest girls to turn into teenagers. Perhaps by the time we have grandkids, Debian Jr. will finally be “done”.
In that time, our kids have gone from using a VT-420 attached to my Pentium 100, exploring commands using the “magic” tab-key at the bash prompt, playing with words and letters in pico, to playing 3D games and creating artwork in the Gimp on the family Sempron 3300+. And through it all, they’ve remained happy and proud to use Linux, which none of their friends have. They have become, I believe, more firmly grounded and comfortable with computing than they might have been using a system “dumbed down” for kids.
To all the Debian using fathers out there today, Happy Father’s Day! May you and your kids’ lives be enriched as you share in the finest OS in the world.