Saturday, December 25, 2010

Linux Mint 10 setup for Spanish Educational Use

This is an old post:  See this post for my latest build notes see the following...

I decided on Linux Mint 10 Gnome 64 bit for the base distribution to use in formatting better caliber used computers for donation to orphanages in Honduras and elsewhere. I chose computers with over 2 GHz processor, 1 Gig RAM, 128 Mb Video RAM and 40Gb Hard drive as the target of this compilation. For anything under these specs, I will install my LXDE compilation.

Install using the 64 bit LM10 Gnome Install CD. Set the user to Maestra
Upgrade to the DVD edition by clicking on the link after setup is complete. Not all packages downloaded the first time and the upgrade failed, so needed to do this a second time after rebooting. Installed all updates.

Maestra is installed as the principal user with Admin privileges.
Listo will be used as the non privileged child user.

General Changes:
ScreenSaver = change screensaver options so it doesn't lock screen on screensaver
Auto Login = modify system so login happens automatically. From Administration - Login Screen choose to login automatically as the desired user. For setup the Admin user was used. This is changed to the child user after setup is complete.

Number of Desktops = change the number of destops as multiple desktops easily confuse novice linux users
  • Open Administration - Simple CompizConfig Settings
  • Set both Desktop columns and rows to 1
Tricky Programs Installed:

Childsplay: A current problem with Childsplay is loading it to run other language sounds. First step to download the Spanish Language sounds for Childsplay. Open Synaptic manager and select/install the the package "childsplay-alphabet-sounds-es". You need to modify the menu to run the command "LANGUAGE=es childsplay" (caps lock are important) or "childsplay --language=es" to run it with Spanish as the spoken language. Gnome menu items where command options must be run are a bit tricky to create and requires configuration file manipulation since the GUI does not enable this modification.
  1. [sudo mkdir /usr/local/share/applications] creates this directory. This is needed to make shared non-standard menu items. The normal location for menu items is /user/share/applications (without the local). Changing the menu item in the default location does not work well.
  2. [sudo cp /usr/share/applications/childsplay.desktop /usr/local/share/applications/childsplayes.desktop] This copies the menu item file to the local/share directory structure. "something.desktop" files are the configuration files used to launch menu items. The file was copied and renamed to keep the configuration files distinguished.
  3. [sudo nano /usr/local/share/applications/childsplayes.desktop] This opens the new menu item. The following changes are made:
    • Change the name and GenericName to ChildsplayES. This allows quick identification of the correct menu item.
    • Change the Exec line to be one of the above examples. I used "Exec=childsplay --language=es".
    • ctrl-O to write out (save) then ctrl-x to exit.
  4. Logout and log back on for the menu changes to take effect.
  5. Enter the Preferences/Main Menu program and deselect showing the original childsplay.

Dosbox: For playing old dos games and programs. For now, not installing any old DOS games, but am including this program for possible future inclusion of old DOS programs on older computers.

iTalc: classroom computer management software
For now I just installed iTalc client. To use it correctly I would need to setup public and private keys. I will do this for the next remaster. (can be done to each computer after installing as well, just takes more time :)

see my instructions in another blog for iTalc install including public and private key distribution.

Kiwix: I debated whether to include Kiwix or Okawix in this remaster, but decided on Kiwix based mostly on current stability. Both options show promise, but for now Kiwix is a great option for offline Spanish Wikipedia. See my other blog comparing the two.
To Install:
  • [sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kiwixteam/ppa]
  • [sudo apt-get update]
  • [sudo apt-get install kiwix]
Because of the size of the zim file, I am not including it in the remastered image, but will add it to the cloned image.
  • login as itadmin
  • download the Spanish Wikipedia zim from the kiwix web page.
  • move to the /share/wiki directory
  • set owner as follows [sudo chown -R itadmin.users /share/wiki/]
  • give read permission at the group level
  • log in as each user, open the Wikipedia zim file and choose to index it, which must be done for each user and takes some time. This way it will be ready to use on each computer.
  • (from home I am transferring this file from one computer to another using the following command): sudo scp chenier@ /share/wiki/
  • then change permissions as above

Play on Linux: Installed this package to make it easier in case there are Windows programs that are seen as a must have without a good Linux counterpart. They can then be installed afterwards as needed.

Khelpcenter: Install this package so the KDE applications installed have access to their help files. Otherwise Klavaro, et all produce an error when clicking on help.

BibleTime: Need to download books and references after installing.
The first step is to create a shared directory for common media shared between users. See above to complete this.
  • create shared directory as described above
  • open BibleTime then open its book administrator
  • click on the tool to edit installation directories and add /share/bible directories to the install directories
  • Login as all users to add this directory to the installed directories
  • Selected a few bibles from the CrossWire list and installed them to the /share/biblia directory. I did this as itadmin so I did not need to change user ownership rights and with the sticky bits only the itadmin would be able to delete these files.
  • This was giving some trouble, so also logged in as maestra and listo and downloaded bibles and commentaries for each user separately into the default directory of each user.
  • Included the GLOSSARY Ergane "Spanish to English Glossary" This give a quick translation from Spanish to English.

  • installado mas
  • furious ISO mount
  • Filelight
Educational Programs Installed
  • Atomix - game for constructing molecules
  • BibleTime - see install notes above
  • Childsplay - see install notes above
  • El Pequeno Mago (little wizard) - introduction to programming using actions to move a clown... Great program with decent Spanish translation
  • JFraction Lab -
  • KAlgebra -
  • KBruch - practice exercises with fractions
  • KTurtle - introduction to programming using scripts to move a turtle
  • Kalzium - periodic table of elements
  • Kiwix - see install notes above
  • Klavaro - typing tutorial with good Spanish support
  • KmPlot - graphing program
  • Marble - simple off line globe showing countries, capitals and major cities
  • Setllarium - real time star chart
  • Tux Paint - painting program for young chidren
  • Tux Typing - fun typing practice game
  • TuxMath -fun math practice game
Drawing Programs Installed
  • GIMP Image Editor - advanced drawing program
  • Inkscape - vector drawing
  • Dibujos - OpenOffice drawing program
  • Picasa -
  • Scribus - Desktop publishing
System Tools / Internet
  • Oracle VM Virtualbox -
  • Chromium -
Multimedia Programs Installed
  • Picasa - popular photo editing & viewing program
  • Brasero -
  • VLC -
  • the default programs for the rest

Office Programs Installed
  • Chromium - a fast Web browser
  • FreeMind - mind mapping program
  • OpenOffice - full open office suite
Internet Programs Installed
  • included programs: chestnut Dialer
  • Chromium web browser
Games Installed
  • Aisleroit Solitaire - a group of solitaire card games under a common interface
  • Atomix - educational puzzle creating molecules from elements
  • BZFlag - Multiplayer Tank battle game works on somewhat older macines
  • Berusky - Ladybug puzzle game
  • BurgerSpace - classic arcade game
  • Chess (glchess) - faster chess game for slower computer
  • Childsplay (also under Educaton)
  • Emulator DOSBox - see notes above - for running old DOS games
  • Enigma - puzzle game controlling marble with the mouse
  • FloboPuyo - clone of puyopuyo, similar to tetris
  • Freeciv - Civilization game for Linux (installed gtk client)
  • Frozen-Bubble - entertaining marble matching game
  • Gamine - Game for VERY young children teaching mouse usage by sounds and colors
  • gbrainy - logic game in English (prior version was translated) but very good game
  • Gweled - like Diamond Mine
  • glTron - Tron bike game
  • gPlanarity - game of untangling lines
  • LBreakout2 - breakout clone
  • Maelstrom - arcade game like Asteroids
  • Mahjongg (gnome-mahjongg) - classic
  • Mastermind - similar to the classic logic testing board game
  • Mines - just like Mines for other platforms
  • Monsterz - arcade puzzle like Bejeweled
  • Moon-lander - ship landing game
  • Nibbles (gnibbles) - simple worm game my daughter loves
  • OpenTTD - transport tycoon with good Spanish translation
  • Pingus - game like lemmings but with penguins - great Spanish translation
  • Play on Linux - see separate section
  • Quadrapassel - falling block game like Tetris
  • Ri-li - toy train simulator with fun game play and excellent translation
  • Secret Maryo Chronicles (SMC) - platform Super Mario clone
  • Sudoku (gnome-sudoku) - numbers & logic game
  • Suite educativa GCompris - educational games for young children
  • SuperTux-stable - Mario like platform (older version for older hardware)
  • Tremulous - combination RTS & FPS with great reviews and works on older hardware
  • Warzone 2100 - real time strategy with decent translation and works on somewhat dated hardware
  • Wessnoth 1.8 - Turn based strategy (under La Batalla por Wesnoth) translated very nicely and great gameplay on older machines
  • ZaZ - arcade marble game
Young Children - Games and Educational
  • Gamine - a mouse interaction game for very young children
  • gCompris - an educational suite for young children
  • Tuxpaint - an child friendly painting program

Other Programs Installed - Educational & Office
  • Atomix - game for constructing molecules
  • Stellarium - a star viewing application
  • Tuxmath - a child oriented math game
  • Tuxtype - a child oriented typing game -- installed program, then opened program and changed the language option to Spanish
Other Programs Installed - Games
  • Ballz - simple Indy platform game
  • Frozen-Bubble - a fun to play matching marble game