[sword-devel] Re: Christian Debian distro talk / Report

Michael Riversong mriversong at earthlink.net
Tue Apr 5 07:07:18 MST 2005

Due to a very packed schedule, i haven't sounded off yet on this topic. 
Starting about a year ago, i tried to set up a Christian Linux
distribution.  Knoppix was a primary inspiration.  Basically, i got
stuck on copying ISOs and never managed to break out of that.  So what i
ended up with was a non-bootable but coherent collection of Bible files,
study materials, and of course eSword for Windows users.  The current
version has been distributed privately and locally at a slow pace.

As a teacher at a small Christian school, i know that this would be
extremely useful at other schools.  It is also i think useful for
smuggling into countries where Bible study is restricted, and for
students on tight budgets.

I have been using Knoppix for Kids for about two years now.  It has been
great, even though it will only run on a small portion of our machines
and i haven't been able to make a copy of it.

Here are a few things which definitely should be considered:

System itself should be as compact as possible.  Most Christian schools
are on very low budgets and rely extensively on obsolete donated
equipment.  If something could run on a machine with only 32M RAM at 233
mHz, that would be wonderful.  (I can feel the shudders of some
developers as this is being written.)

System should be quickly and easily bootable, like Knoppix.  I
experimented a bit with Morphix, which was promising but again had
problems with ISO copying.

Include a number of educational game programs!  Most valuable has been
Tux Typer, which is better than anything on the market for PCs in my
experience.  TuxPaint is pretty good, except for difficulties in saving
files under Knoppix.  Tux of Math Command is ok, but runs a little fast
for most students.  KAtomic has been great for 5th and 6th graders. 
gTans has been occasionally used by our elementary students.  Potato Guy
is a real favorite, enjoyed mostly from Kindergarten through 2nd Grade,
but sometimes a pleasant relaxation for older students.

Other favorite games, which don't have much educational value, include:
KBounce, Asteroids, Maelstrom, Tux Racer, Klickety, Same Game, Moon
Buggy(!), and GnomeStones.

We can do without Chromium, Tux Kart, and Quest for Herring.  Those
three often freeze machines, even good ones.  Chromium is downright
hypnotic, and so shouldn't be used for that reason.

Leave out xBill!  It's just plain mean.

AbiWord has been the most useful word processor in our programs.  I
normally use it for drill book typing practice.  It loads quickly, is
flexible with file formats, and tends to work well with many printers.

GnuMeric should be included.  I suspect a few schools might end up using
the system for much more than intended, especially in outlying areas.

Hope these points prove helpful.  If anyone has any questions about
real-world usage in Christian school classrooms, please do ask, either
through this list or privately.  I am currently running two classrooms
with about 30 machines total.  Several of these have various versions of
Linux installed.

On Mon, 2005-04-04 at 11:53, Raphaël Pinson wrote:
> I have googled for Apologetix and all I could find were sites to a
> music band called this way ... I had to search for "Preston Boyington
> Apologetix" to find posts about it, but no website :(
> Did anyone forward this talk to him?
> On a totally different topic, I think it's great you got this talk so
> far, and now it would be good that we begin thinking about what has to
> be done and who is willing to do each part, like planning a bit the
> things ...
> I remind you that a #ichthux IRC chan has been created on Freenode,
> and that you can modify the wiki on http://ichthux.free.fr so as to
> have it prepared for the project.
> God bless you all
> Raphaël

-- Michael Riversong
Noah Webster Christian School
Cheyenne, Wyoming

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