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.
Linux Software Included in Edubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.
Educational Suite Gcompris
Pairs Theme Editor
Inkscape Vector Graphics Editor
Shotwell Photo Manager
Xaos – Fractal Zoomer
Gobby Collaborative Editor
Liferea Feed Reader
Remmina Remote Desktop Client
Brasero Disc Burner
Rhythmbox Music Player
Gramps Genealogy System
VYM – View Your Mind
Science & Engineering
Linux Software Management Tools in Edubuntu 13.10
Edubuntu 13.10 uses the Ubuntu Software Center, so it’s very easy to add or remove software. Edubuntu 13.10 comes with a lot of great educational software, but there’s plenty more to be found in the Software Center.
Be sure to browse through the Education and Science categories, you’ll find quite a bit there to check out. You can also see Top Rated applications for each category, as well as at the top level of the Software Center. There are also user reviews and star ratings to help you decide whether or not you want to install an application.
To add or remove an application, just click the Install or Remove button.
Problems & Headaches Found in Edubuntu 13.10
One minor problem I had was with the Ubuntu Software Center. It crashed the first time I tried to load it. I started it again and it loaded without any problems.
Aside from that, I didn’t notice any overt problems. Edubuntu 13.10 was very stable and reasonably fast. Please share any problems you’ve had in the comments below for the benefit of other readers. Thanks.
Where To Get Help for Edubuntu 13.10
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the Edubuntu community page, and the Edubuntu documentation page.
If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.
Final Thoughts About Edubuntu 13.10
In some ways Edubuntu 13.10 reminds me of Ubuntu Studio 13.10. Both distros have staked out a particular market, and both do it very well indeed. Edubuntu 13.10 comes with many learning-oriented applications, and there are tons more that can be easily downloaded from the Ubuntu Software Center.
I highly recommend taking a look at Edubuntu 13.10 if you need an educational distribution. It hits all of the sweet spots for that market and should prove tremendously useful for teachers and schools.
Edubuntu 13.10 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.
What’s your take on Edubuntu 13.10? Tell me in the comments below.