For those in Education, there are quite a number of specialized Linux distributions that are geared towards education. We take a look at some of the top-notch distros that are available in this space.
First on the list is Edubuntu. As can be inferred from the name, Edubuntu is a variant of the very popular Ubuntu distro which aims to get Ubuntu into classrooms. Edubuntu is probably the most well-known Linux distro that focuses on education. And it deserves this acclaim as the sheer number of programs it comes with. The current Edubuntu 14.04.2 LTS distribution comes at a whopping 2.9 GB size. It provides educational software in bundles as per the grade level that can be installed from the Software Center. Educational software are bundled as Preschool, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Edubuntu is built on top of Ubuntu so installation is as simple as Ubuntu. It also has a lot of diverse applications that will make it quite appealing to those interested in Maths and Science.
UberStudent (The Alternative) (No supported release)
Uberstudent is another popular Linux distro that focuses on education and highly tailored for students in secondary and higher education. Uberstudent is also built on top of Ubuntu (Uberstudent 4.3 is based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS and the installation is as straightforward as installing Ubuntu. It comes with the Xfce desktop environment and desktop environments don’t come any simpler.
Out of the box, Uberstudent comes with a lot of software programs. One advantage this distro has over Edubuntu is the organization of the software. The pre-installed software categorized quite impressively so you can easily find what you are looking for. Uberstudent comes with Zotero reference manager and thus for the researcher, this is just great. Even though Edubuntu looks more polished with its Unity Desktop, Uberstudent with its Xfce desktop is also lighter on your system and works well with even older hardware.
openSUSE-Edu (All your IT needs)
If Edubuntu and Uberstudent are unable to satisfy your requirements, you should definitely check out openSUSE-Edu. openSUSE is another very capable distro for the education niche. It can very much satisfy a school’s requirements from servers to desktops. Even the live DVD contains KIWI-LTSP server which can be enabled quite easily for demonstration purposes. It also comes with a lot of useful applications for students, teachers, IT administrators and even parents. openSUSE comes with different desktop environments including GNOME, GNOME Classic, KDE Plasma, and Mate.
Similar to openSUSE-Edu, Skolelinux seeks to work on all aspects of schools IT requirements. Out of the box, it comes with over 70 applications aimed at schools. It also comes with alternate desktop environments such as LXDE and Mate and the very aesthetic KDE.
KnowSciences is a Knoppix based distro that comes with many powerful free applications for Linux. It is a bootable CD that does not require installation on hard disk to get the best out of it. It comes with multiple Latex software including the very popular Lyx and Texmacs.
The Fedora Education SIG (Edu SIG) seeks to optimize Fedora for use by teachers and students, both within and outside of the context of educational institutions. The distro comes with a lot of educational applications including teacher tools such as Wink for screencasting and Hot Potatoes for lesson creation and many other web applications. It also comes with a lot of applications that target specific age groups such as gcompris(age 2+), sugar(6+) and Celestia (14+). FedoraEdu provides a functional distro that enables and promotes the use of open-source educational software.
You can easily set-up any distro to suit your education needs, but if you want one that works out of the box, you have choices. Edubuntu and Uberstudent are the best Linux distros for Students and Educators. Edubuntu for the number of software packages it comes pre-installed with and Uberstudent for the hassle free organization to the software. openSUSE-Edu will suffice for all aspects of a school’s IT requirements, from servers to desktops. openSUSE-Edu also allows for your choice of a desktop environment and the same can be said of Skolelinux. KnowSciences does not require installation and runs great on a live disc. And then there’s fedoraEdu too, and these are just a few distros that target education.