Ubuntu comes in many flavors, and it’s designed for very different kinds of users. Edubuntu 13.10 is an Ubuntu spin for educators. It comes preloaded with quite a selection of education-related applications including some for science and engineering.
While this release does not have much in the way of new features, it’s worth looking at since it differs so much from the other Ubuntu spins. It also adds real value for those who want a distribution focused on learning rather than just a general desktop.
Here’s the official description from the Edubuntu site:
Edubuntu is a grassroots movement, we aim to get Ubuntu into schools, homes and communities and make it easy for users to install and maintain their systems.
We are students, teachers, parents and hackers who believe that learning and knowledge should be available to everyone who wants to improve themselves and the world around them.
Our aim is to put together a system that contains all the best free software available in education and make it easy to install and maintain.
What’s New in Edubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
System Requirements for Ubuntu 13.10
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:
A Pentium 4, 1GHz system is the minimum recommended for a desktop system.
Install Type RAM (minimal) RAM (recommended) Hard Drive No desktop 64 megabytes 256 megabytes 1 gigabyte With Desktop 64 megabytes 512 megabytes 5 gigabytes
Edubuntu 13.10 Download
You can download Edubuntu 13.10 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 2.97 GB, so it’s not one of the smaller Ubuntu downloads. However, it does come with quite a bit of software. You can also get Edubuntu 13.10 in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. I used the 64-bit version for this review.
Edubuntu 13.10 Installation
Edubuntu 13.10 uses the Ubuntu installer. It’s very easy to install though it does take longer for the install to finish than the regular Ubuntu 13.10 distro.
The installer gives you the option of installing the GNOME 3.0 fallback interface, as well as LTSP (the Linux Terminal Server Project). You can also remove educational application packages during the install if you want. This gives educators some flexibility and control over which kinds of learning applications are installed by default.
Once the install begins, you can view slides that provide information about some of the learning applications included with Edubuntu 13.10. If you’ve never used this distro, I recommend looking at the slideshow as it’s a good primer on the applications you’ll be using once the install finishes.
The Edubuntu 13.10 Desktop
The first thing I noticed after the desktop loaded was the odd wallpaper. It’s a few trees, with a purplish sky at sunset or sunrise, I can’t really tell which. Anyway, I say that it’s odd because it doesn’t have anything to do with education.
I generally like wallpaper that fits the theme or the mission of the distribution. But this wallpaper looks forlorn and rather depressing. I think some sort of education-oriented wallpaper that’s a bit more upbeat would work better in future releases.
Edubuntu 13.10 uses Unity for its desktop environment, so it’s quite easy to find your way around if you’ve used Unity in the regular version of Ubuntu. Icons for search, the home folder, Firefox, LibreOffice, the Ubuntu Software Center and System Settings appear by default.
Edubuntu 13.10 comes with more than 30 Dash plugins. Plugins include Audacious, Banshee, Chromium Bookmarks, Facebook, Google Drive, Picasa and lots of others. You can easily disable any plugin by clicking on its icon and then clicking on the Disable button.