Even a 2 Year Old Can Use Linux
by Andrea W. Cordingly, for www.reallylinux.com Op/Ed section
were the "granny" articles, where someone's grandmother presented the
simplicity of Linux and emphatically denied being coached by her son into using
Linux. Albeit rather a quirky form of humor, they made their points, because
the KDE Desktop had indeed matured and was easy to use.
I was also
tolerant when people started writing about Linux for their children, because I
know full and well that many classrooms greatly benefit from the amazing work
put into Linux LTSP and the K-12LTSP projects.
projects prove that there are many great pieces of Open Source work being
In this case few could deny, no matter how skeptical or cynical,
that Linux serves as an invaluable tool for cost effective education.
editor even topped it off by providing evidence that Linux and Open Source are
probably the only way 500 Million youth in India
have a chance to learn, as there is no way the traditional school
buildings, hired teachers, western methods will work when educating so many.
appreciated the stories and articles that showed Linux as easy to use and
beneficial, although sometimes with a reserved cynicism.
But when I
left for a few minutes yesterday to go use the toilet and returned to find my
own 2 year old daughter playing it up on a Centos test machine -- I woke up.
Maybe I had
read too many articles touting the ease of use and value of Linux. Perhaps I
had fallen into the typical "preaching to the choir" group of people that start
yawning of boredom even when they hear about Linux successes.
propose that we in the Open Source community should be anything but bored by
what we are now seeing more and more.
occasion, I took a brief break from hours of work on my Centos test server. My
daughter, Annie, who I long ago labeled the curious kitten, wandered past me in
the hall. I thought nothing of it, since she knew better than to go into
But on this
occasion, she chose to walk right in. When I returned from my quick and
necessary break, I stood at the doorway and witnessed her opening various
menus, starting programs, and even trying out a game.
My son arrived
to identify what I was mumbling about and found the same scene. However, to him
it was business as usual and he walked in to join Annie.
I asked him
when he had learned to use Linux, to which he replied without hesitation,
"Everybody knows Linux."
Annie just kept playing and trying out some other games to see what I had loaded
on the test machine.
say, for the next few minutes I just enjoyed the sight of my two kids fiddling
with Linux, as if they had been using it for years. I couldn't resist taking a
few photos, and then of course it was time to get back to testing.
But in my
amusement, I realized the significance of what had happened to me personally.
that all of those years and countless people helping to promote Linux to
schools had made a big difference.
My son had
learned about Linux from his mom, but he learned to use it from his school.
Linux projects to encourage school use made a huge difference for education
needs and solving budgeting woes. As a result of all these years, major shifts
in the paradigm had begun.
In the same
way, I saw Annie and the way she had so easily and unwaveringly started
fiddling with the desktop as evidence that the once clunky shell environment that
started off Linux had matured to the point in which the GUI was not a stumbling
block but an opportunity to bring even more into the Linux world.
In a very
personal way I had a chance to see that Linux has indeed matured into unequivocally
a most useful and easy to use tool for any age.
never have happened without the countless unnamed heroes who work day to day
with Linux, writing source, making systems run with Linux when no other OS will
do, and truly proving the breadth and depth of GNU/Linux.
thanks to these men and women that real world proof of Linux exists more and
more, in server rooms and home offices everywhere. The next few years will be
some of the most exciting with regard to Linux growth and adoption, and
thankfully a whole new generation will be there to take hold of the dream and
carry it on.
This opinion piece should not be construed as factual information. It contains the opinions and personal experiences of the author at the time of publication and where applicable includes the references to other texts for further research.