Qimo – an Operating System designed for kids

From the Qimo home page:

Qimo is a desktop operating system designed for kids. Based on the open source Ubuntu Linux desktop, Qimo comes pre-installed with educational games for children aged 3 and up.

Qimo’s interface has been designed to be intuitive and easy to use, providing large icons for all installed games, so that even the youngest users have no trouble selecting the activity they want.

Qimo needs a minimum of 256MB of memory to run from the CD, or 192MB to install. At least 6 GB of hard drive space is recommended, and a 400MHz or faster CPU. Because of its very minimal system requirements, it’s a fantastic OS to install on that old PC sitting in your closet and put in your childs room.

This tutorial will guide you through installing Qimo, and give a brief overview of the apps that are included, as well as instructions on removing some of the ones you may not want your child to access.

  1. To get started, download the Qimo .iso file. You’ll need to burn this .iso to a CD or DVD (it does fit on a CD). Once completed, insert the CD/DVD into your CD/DVD-ROM and boot up your computer. Make sure that your PC is set to boot from the CD/DVD drive first (before the hard disk or other drive).

    You’ll be presented with the initial Qimo boot screen. Because Qimo is a LiveCD, you can try it before you install it, if you’d like. Select Try Qimo without any change to your computer if you’d like to give it a run before you actually install it. This tutorial will actually walk you through the complete installation process – to do so click the down arrow on your keyboard to highlight Install Qimo and then hit Enter.

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  3. The Qimo installer will begin to load.

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  5. The first step of the installation is to select your language. Do so from the list on the left side of the screen, and then click the Forward button.

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  7. Now select the city closest to you (in your time zone) from the drop-down menu, and click the Forward button.

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  9. Select your keyboard layout from the list in the left column, and again, click the Forward button.

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  11. Now you’ll need to decide how much disk space to allocate to Qimo. Because I’m going to dedicate the entire hard drive to Qimo, I selected Guided – use entire disk. If you don’t want to use your entire hard drive for Qimo, select Manual and use the ‘slider’ to determine how much space Qimo gets vs. any other operating system(s) you may already have installed. When you’re ready, click the Forward button.

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  13. Now you’ll need to create a profile. Enter your name, a user name, password and name for the computer. NOTE: do NOT place a check in the box labeled Log in automatically. Qimo will automatically create a username named “qimo” which is the user that your child will log in with. This username automatically signs in each time Qimo starts – your child doesn’t need to enter a user or pass. The account created on this screen is for you to use to administrate the PC. Click the Forward button to continue.

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  15. That’s it – you’re ready to install Qimo. Click the Install button after you’ve reviewed all the info on the summary page.

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  17. Qimo will now install. This may be a good time to go grab a cup of coffee.
  18. Once the installation has completed, click the Restart now button.
  19. Qimo will now start up.

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  21. Because Qimo automatically logs in with the ‘qimo’ account (the account your child should/will use) you’ll be taken directly to the desktop.

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  23. The “Dock” at the bottom of the screen includes links to the apps your child will use most.
  24. The first app in the Toolbar is Text Editor which is exactly as you’d guess – a text editor. Your kids can create brief notes or use it to write out homework.
  25. The second app in the Toolbar is GCompris, a collection of general educational games that are appropriate for children ages 2 and up.

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  27. Childsplay is a collection of educational games.

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  29. TuxPaint is a very simple Paint program that allows your children to create colorful pictures, posters, cards and letters.

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  31. Tux Math teaches mathematics through a series of fun games.

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  33. Certain programs are off-limits to the ‘qimo’ user (your childs account). When/if they try to run those programs, they’ll get an error message similar to the one displayed in the screenshot below.
  34. However, some programs are not off limits. For example, Firefox can be used by the qimo user. The easiest solution to avoid having your child use programs like Firefox, Transmission (bittorrent), IRC or Instant Messaging, is to keep the PC offline entirely.
  35. To quickly update the system, open a Terminal and enter the command su your-user-name (where your-user-name was the one you selected back in step #7). Enter your password when prompted, and then issue the command sudo apt-get update

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  37. Now enter the command sudo apt-get -f install

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  39. If you’d like to remove programs from qimo entirely, enter the command sudo /usr/sbin/synaptic to launch the Synaptic Package Manager.

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  41. From here you can easily search for and remove any programs that you simply don’t want on the PC.

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  43. You can also administer Qimo by logging out of your current session, and logging back in with the username and password you created in step #7.

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7 thoughts on “Qimo – an Operating System designed for kids”

  1. I have installed Qimo on my mac in parallels and it worked very well, with no problems at all, but my netbook is keep saying “operating system not found”

    It is for ever doing this with particular linux distros. I really need to install this on my netbook for my sister, but it just does not recognise.

    I do not have windows on it any longer, and do not intend to reinstall windows. Even with Windows 8 on the way, the only place that I am going to install windows 8 is in parallels on my mac to try it out, but am unlikely to buy it.

    Any surgestions are highly thanked for.


  2. I have downloaded the ISO 3 times now and the cd will boot the the boot screen but will not go into the live cd nor will it install from the boot screen the boot screen is as far as i can get. I can hit esc at that screen and it will tell me that it can’t find the image file. Is it just a bad download? or a bad burn?

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  4. This site if very helpful just downloaded it today and start doing the live CD. I was wondering do you know how to get the wireless USB netgear WG111 to work for the internet.

  5. Qimo is a really good example of what a simple Linux educational distro should look like. Well done. If you want to make use of an even OLDER computer for educational purposes, check out the FreeDOS-based FUZOMA.

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