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Monday 18 February 2013

A new installer for DoudouLinux

The latest development release 2013-02 is shipping with a totally new installer that can perform a real installation of DoudouLinux onto disk, USB disks included. This was a feature really wanted since the current stable release 1.x can only perform a copy of the Live system onto disk while wiping its entire content. Our new installer can do repartitioning and multi-boot, it is indeed a fork of the Linux Mint installer (thanks Mint!) with many improvements to fit our needs. Of course it will be part of the next stable release 2.0 due to April/May. In the meanwhile, we propose you to give it a try[1]. and tell us your feelings :).

What the installer does

Unlike the fake installer of 1.x, this installer will create a real Linux system, fully modifiable and with the Live stuffs removed. As a result, it requires a bit more space than the 1.x version to be installed, around 3 GB instead of 1.1 GB, the size of the development version DVD. The installer lets you set the following parameters:

  • System language
  • Timezone
  • Keyboard layout and model
  • Main user, with sudo privileges
  • Selection of disk to install onto
  • Selection of disk partitions or automatic partitioning
  • Manual repartitioning if needed
  • Hardware clock set to UTC or not
  • Grub2 bootloader installation

All of that is performed from within a nice graphic interface as you'll see below on the screenshots. One of the improvements we brought is a wizard mode for people who want to entirely wipe their disk but don't want to bother with partitions. In this case, once the disk is selected, it is automatically repartitioned into 3 partitions: root, home and swap. Unlike many automatic partitioning tools (or mainstream OS'es :p), we want users to be able to reinstall their system without loosing their data!

The installation process itself consists in copying the files from the Live system to the target partitions. It lasts about 5 minutes on a quite old laptop (2005), running DoudouLinux from a Live USB key. After files have been copied, the installer chroots into the new system to perform final adjustments (applying settings, creating the user, removing the installer, setting the network configuration, etc.). The system is then ready to be restarted. No network connection is required during the installation, this was a requirement for countries in which Internet is quite rare.

Using the installer

So now let's use this new installer :). First of all you need the development version 2013-02 of DoudouLinux. It is very stable but may be still lacking of translations. As DoudouLinux is intended for children while providing as much safety as possible for parents, the installer is not easily accessible with the mouse or at boot. It is then not available as an icon or a menu entry, you have to start the console in the most advanced activity “Whole DoudouLinux” and type:

$ sudo live-installer

After few seconds, the first screen is displayed, this is the system language setting:

Installer – language settings

Just choose your country and go to next screen, the timezone setting:

Installer – timezone selection

You can either click on the map or select your timezone in the dropping menu, so quite easy too. Once you're done, next screen will let you set your keyboard:

Installer – keyboard settings

This is a bit more complicated since there are many possible keyboard variants. First choose your country, this will change the list of keyboard variants on the other side of the selection box. Then select a variant, this will update the keyboard keys on the graphical keyboard representation. Some variants don't change the main key associations (lowercase and uppercase letters, drawn in white and green) but just the alternate keys (in blue), obtained while pressing the AltGr key. In this case you have to choose the layout that looks the most practical for you.

Finally you may also want to select a particular keyboard model in the list on the bottom of the screen. While choosing a wrong model should not prevent you from using your keyboard, choosing the correct one may let you access particular features of your keyboard. Let the default choice if you don't want to bother with this parameter.

Once you're done, go to next step, the user information:

Installer – user information

The installer will remove administrative rights from the DoudouLinux activities (except for settings like the audio output or printers). As a result, a user has to be created to be given these rights, this is the purpose of this screen. Although the user's photo and full name are not really used in DoudouLinux, you should probably use information related to you! You can then change the user name for a shorter nickname if the computed one is not of your taste. It is indeed the name that you will use to login and get the sudo administrative rights. You also have to type a password twice; there is no complexity check for the password so try to use a password that is not too much trivial! Finally you may want to change the computer name, especially if you already have several computers on your (local) network. This is not mandatory however.

Now the installer has most of the required information, it's time to choose the disk onto which DoudouLinux will be installed:

Installer – disk selection

The installer knows how much minimal space is required for DoudouLinux (around 4 GB), so if you're willing to install it onto too small an USB key, the key will simply not be displayed in the list! We have added as much disk information as possible to let you precisely identify your disks in case several ones are available. Once you're done, it's time to decide whether you want to perform an automatic partitioning or if you want to do it by yourself:

Installer – partitioning mode

Note that the installer is designed to be also able to use the remaining free space on disk for new partitions, but we suspect this feature to not work in many case because extended partitions are not managed yet (yes, we haven't tested this feature!). Unless you really want to help us improve the installer, you should probably select either the first entry (wiping the entire disk) or the latest one (manual partitioning). Anyway the second entry is not selectable if the installer hasn't detected enough free space on your disk, which should be the most frequent case.

If you choose to entirely wipe out your disk with automatic partitioning, moving to next step will require the deletion of all the existing partitions, which also means destroying all your data. As there is no backup tool, confirmation is asked twice, here is the first confirmation dialog:

Installer – repartitioning confirmation

If you confirm a second time, the disk partitions are immediately modified and you are lead to the advanced settings screen described later. If you finally choose manual partitioning, the disk partitions will be displayed:

Installer – manual partitioning

As the help text tells, you should probably select at least 3 partitions: the system root, the user's data /home and a swap partition. If you need to reorganize your partitions, click the button “Edit partitions”, this will launch GParted, a partition editor that is able to create, remove, copy, move, shrink or extend partitions. Once you're done, close GParted and click the button “Update” so that the installer rebuilds your partition map. Please note that editing partitions may lead to data loss, you may want to backup your data before, which the installer cannot do.

So now let's go to the latest settings screen, the advanced settings that is also displayed just after automatic partitioning has been confirmed twice:

Installer – advanced settings

The first parameter is the hardware clock that can use UTC or local time. As it depends on a system that could be already (or have ever been) installed on the computer, we have chosen to let users decide. The effect of switching to UTC or not is seen in the text below the checkbox, this should then be easy to find the correct value. The second parameter is the bootloader installation. As this is quite technical, we've added a long explanation text. However the default choice is to install the bootloader onto the disk onto which DoudouLinux is to be installed. This should be the best choice in most cases, as long as you're not willing to have several Linux systems installed.

Now it's time to start the installation process. A summary of your choices is displayed before confirmation:

Installer – installation summary

If you agree with it, installation will start. When it is done, a dialog box will propose you to restart your computer and enjoy your newly installed DoudouLinux :).

So now try it by yourself and tell us more about it!

Notes

[1] If the 2013-02 is not out yet, check the dailybuild page.

Saturday 30 June 2012

Summertime and new builds

“Summertime, and the livin' is easy” (G. Gershwin), especially with DoudouLinux as you now know since this is our main goal ;). We've just uploaded several new dailybuilds to let you test our new features with your children during the long summer break. Here are some screenshots and screencasts:

New interface (2012-04)

MIDI piano keyboard + USB loudspeakers

Fichier vidéo intégré

(download in OGG format, 1.5MB)

You can download the dailybuilds from our Dailybuild download section. The file names follow the pattern doudoulinux-2012-06-*, LiveCD and LiveUSB images are available. We provide these builds in English, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish. An ARM™ version for Genesi Efika is available as well, in English and French only:

  • FR Image : Azerty (Belgian) and French language default configuration.
  • EN Image : Qwerty (US) and English language default configuration.

NB: root password is still efika in ARM™ builds ;-).

Our development version is still under intense work. The main new features are the following:

  • new application Piano Booster, to teach playing the piano
  • audio output selector can now identify HDMI audio outputs
  • automatically connects MIDI piano keyboards to Timidity at hotplug
  • automatically changes the audio output when an USB audio card is (un)plugged
  • automatically changes the monitor/screen when (un)plugged
  • automatically manages removable disks (the file manager is simply shown)
  • updated application icons translation
  • now sends DBus notifications when applications are started/quited

And the main bug fixes are the following:

  • fixed charge_full can be named energy_full on laptops
  • fixed screen brightness changed twice when keys are already mapped in hardware
  • fixed OSD not shown in GDM
  • fixed unable to quit session if the exit button is removed from launcher
  • fixed Timidity not restarted when audio output is changed
  • fixed GHelp issue (solves #462)

Although we still haven't brought all the feature we would like, we are getting closer to the final release that will replace our current stable release named Gondwana. The feature we are really lacking is a real and easy installer that doesn't require to be already installed on the LiveCD. You can help if you want to :). For this reason, the development version will not be turned into the next stable release before September, instead of June as planned initially.

Enjoy :]

Sunday 13 May 2012

The ANIS Association about DoudouLinux

At the REWICS 2012 (fr), the DoudouLinux association met people from the region of Lille (France) and more specifically the ANIS association (fr).

This one, active in development and promotion about citizens and uses for new information technologies (including the open source, free software and responsible web) but also in the re-use of equipment in the Northern Pas-de-Calais Department, published an article on DoudouLinux.

So ANIS talks about Doudoulinux (fr) ; the article has also been taken on Facebook (fr) (dated 08/05/2012) and Twitter (fr).

Various refurbishers have also been informed by the ANIS association.

Doudoulinux association thanks especially Julie Bailleul ((139 rue des Arts 59100 Roubaix - 03 20 28 48 68 - jbailleul@anis.asso.fr) and her current staff at the REWICS for their initiative.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Unique-launch: launch each application once, no more

A current issue with young children is that they often click application launchers several times until the application shows. Depending on the overall system speed, this may lead to 3, 4 or 5 instances of the same application launched in the end… Although desktop environments usually change the mouse cursor while an application is being launched, this is not the case of LXDE sessions, from which advanced DoudouLinux sessions derive, and this may not be sufficient anyway because the meaning of such change is not so obvious for someone who discovers computers.

For these reasons we wanted for DoudouLinux a tool that:

  • avoids applications to be launched more than one time
  • clearly shows that the application is being launched using a notification message
  • brings focus to a previously launched application when it is launched once more, may the application be iconified or wound

To achieve this, we developed a dedicated tool named unique-launch. You can install it using its Debian package.

The result is shown in the screencast below. The user clicks several times to launch an application, but only one instance is actually launched. Later he toggles the window to its wound status (only the title bar is drawn). Clicking the application icon unwinds the application and brings focus to it. This avoids the user doesn't understand why clicking the launch icon doesn't do anything if he forgot the application has been wound.

Fichier vidéo intégré

(download in OGG format, 1.5MB)

All these improvements will be made available in our future stable release, the successor of Gondwana. In the meanwhile, dailybuilds are available for evaluation, their names are of the form doudoulinux-yyyy-mm-dd-ll.iso. We invite everyone to test and give feedback!

Sunday 22 April 2012

UI improvements: new panel design

We are still working on improving the DoudouLinux user interface (UI). The previous work has been focusing on the desktop, made of the LxLauncher tabs. Now we're focusing on the panel LxPanel for a better integration and a better user experience. Several improvements have been achieved:

  • look & feel integrated with the desktop
  • redesign of many network-manager icons because they couldn't be enlarged
  • code backported from the volume plugin to the alsavolume plugin to get a changing volume icon, depending on the volume value
  • nicer icons for the volume icon
  • fixed font size in clock, not correctly following the panel size
  • improved battery look & feel, it still requires some work though
  • the panel can now be covered by application windows

A dailybuild will be soon available in several languages to get feedback from our community. The result of this work is as follows:

New interface (2012-04)

If you're wondering what is the role of the country flag in the panel: this is the keyboard layout. Finally another screenshot with an application window:

New interface, with calculator (2012-04)

Other UI improvements are on the go and will be soon detailed in new posts :). Stay tuned!

Monday 9 April 2012

New DouDouLinux for ARM™ Released

It's time to make a new pre-release of DoudouLinux for ARM™.

Our builds are now available in Efika MX Community Software.

Some news are :

  • a new boot splash screen.
  • a new desktop
  • a new auto maximize feature
  • bug fixes

Still under heavy development you may get some bugs, please report them on our site DoudouLinux project life

And if you still want to contribute, you're welcome to join our community, read more on DoudouLinux - The computer they prefer!

SplashScreen

Soon available in couple of hours at the Daily Builds Download page.

sYs...

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Some news in preview

The new stable version of DoudouLinux is not completely achieved yet but we are happy to present some changes that will be brought to the next stable version of DoudouLinux, which is expected for mid 2012.

DuckDuckGo

The DoudouLinux project wants to be as open and free (freedom) as possible. He also wants to propose a computing experience that is free of advertisement and spywares, may they come from installed software or from visited web pages. But it is sometimes difficult to get rid of few habits… or companies.

Therefore, we are very proud to announce that the Google Co. won't be able to collect and resell our children data anymore! Indeed, the growing spying practices of this great company should be soon bypassed by the use of DuckDuckGo as the default DoudouLinux search engine.

Its speed, its simplicity and its image have been noticed by the project manager who proposed it to the team for integration into the project.

New presentation

The menu LxLauncher (it is the main menu in “Whole DoudouLinux” and “Mini DoudouLinux”) has been reworked. The goal is the accessibility for young children who can't read, plus aesthetic. Henceforth, they will recognize the icons more easily and intuitively: icons have been changed and enlarged.

Look at the screenshot below to see how this new look & feel will be.

New LXLauncher

A new name

Gondwana is the name of the current stable version but… what will be the name of the next stable version? After the letter “G” is the letter “H” and (perhaps) should Hyperborea be a good name for the next DoudouLinux?

Any other idea? Feel free to submit them in comments or on our mailing lists.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Doudoulinux in Linux Pratique Essentiel

Some times ago, we, Xavier, Jean-Michel and Elisa had the idea to make DoudouLinux known to a larger number of people, Boeotian or neophytes of the free and open source world, thanks to Linux-related paper magazines. We have chosen a FLOSS magazine, not technically-oriented and speaking about accessible topics. Our choice has then set on the Diamonds Editions magazines and more particularly on their magazine Linux Pratique Essentiel.

So we started a text document editable by several people simultaneously on etherpad.org and carried out the task and the work. After several days of collaboration we got an article that sounds correct.

The "draft" has then been sent to the magazine editor and was accepted after some minor modifications (mainly screenshots). Today we are very happy to announce that it has been published, with 4 full pages dedicated to Doudoulinux. You can see an overview of the magazine at the following address: Diamonds Editions.

The article is paid and all the collected funds will be given back to our association!

The magazine is distributed in several French-speaking countries (France, Belgium, etc.) and can be ordered in other European countries. It will be available in bookshops in April, we hope that you will enjoy reading it :). Feel free to send us feedback.

Sunday 11 March 2012

New development version available for testing

We are glad to announce that our next development version, number 2012-02, is available for testing from our dailybuild section. Note that you'll also find in this dailybuild section several 486 builds of the stable release, for the oldest computers (our official builds target the 686 architecture). The changes in version 2012-02 are detailed in a recent post on our mailing list. Here is the summary:

  • Deep code refactoring under the skin due to the ARM™ port. As a result installing DoudouLinux on a computer is now just a matter of installing our ultimate meta-package doudoulinux-desktop-environment (blog post to come soon on this topic).
  • Lots of new applications and games, see the updated page New applications. This is not the final application set that will end in our next stable release planned for mid 2012.
  • Improved look & feel compared to the previous development version (window decorations, theme, icons, cursor, buttons, panel layout, etc.). The position of all buttons on window title bars have moved to the left on LTR languages since many OS'es now do this.
  • Size of icons in advanced activities is now computed at boot to occupy around half the screen area (see the related post on this blog).
  • Graphical layout is now adapted to LTR/RTL languages at boot and session start. This is required for ARM™ and a future multi-language DVD.
  • Added playlists for online music and videos using contents from archive.org (browse directories in activity Whole DoudouLinux).
  • Improved system security: now only DoudouLinux activities don't require a password to be started, instead of all users!
  • Several fixes, among those Network-manager unable to store Wifi passphrases and system tools requiring admin password to work, eg. new printer.

We invite everyone to test this version then report issues and suggestions, so download and enjoy!

NB: the development release should be officially published within a week.

Thursday 9 February 2012

FOSDEM 2012

Despite the efforts of the team to be present at the FOSDEM (Free Open Source Developers European Meeting) we have not succeeded this difficult last minute task.

Fortunately thanks to our drawers, we put up twenty colored A4 posters in the 4 buildings of the FOSDEM. This helped make our project known.

Poster FOSDEM (Fred version)
The poster put in the FOSDEM building (by Fred)

Thanks to this, more than 4000 visitors, contributors, volunteers and developers have directly or indirectly received information about the project.

Poster DoudouLinux at the Mozilla stand
A poster of DoudouLinux put in background of one of the most visited stands in the FOSDEM : the Mozilla stand. (Credits : C. Gesché - Moosh.be)

We hope our group is going to grow. Therefore we are recruiting volunteers, developers, graphic designers and other “FLOSS people”. Come and help us too !

Wednesday 25 January 2012

DoudouLinux demo in a Belgian school

The 16th January took place in Brussels the first presentation of DoudouLinux in a Belgian school, at the public school number 13.

A particularity of this school is its exceptional architecture which can welcome more than 1000 pupils with a nursery school division of 100 children. At Belgium level, it is a large capacity institution with high cultural mix, mostly coming from the European Union.

Taking the opportunity of the teachers lunch break, two local representatives of the newly created DoudouLinux association (known as Xavier and Frédéric) presented DoudouLinux to a targeted audience: 7 teachers of the nursery school and its director.

Xavier is presenting DoudouLinux

Equipped with three computers (two of them for demonstration, the latest one running the slide show), bringing improvised “Welcome packs” for each teacher, Xavier and Frédéric began by giving a maximum of information about the spirit of the project and its technical details. The packs contain the French Wikipedia article printed, a non-official leaflet and a CD-ROM of the latest version of DoudouLinux Gondwana.

We have to confess that the audience was a bit cold at first, showing few interest into the small technical details and free culture.

After this brief introduction, putting technical topics aside regained the attention of the teachers. Xavier and Frédéric went on with a question-answer play. They had to improvise primarily on DoudouLinux components: games, educational suites but also the various components, customization of the operating system and emphasis on security (“live-CD” among other things)…

DoudouLinux, a teacher on the computer

The demonstration ended after 45 minutes with a “live demo” of Gondwana. Teachers tried out the DoudouLinux environment by taking place in front of both computers. Finally they all seemed pretty convinced (personal impressions of Frédéric and Xavier).

What’s up next? The future is not waiting to see: an appointment is to be set in order to “deliver” 3 computers with DoudouLinux (installation on hard disk) and we are looking forward to getting feedback from teachers who received the “Welcome pack”.

This, of course, will be the topic of another post.

Sunday 15 January 2012

LxLauncher: automatic icon size for a nicer interface

One issue we had in mind for a while is the fixed size of icons in LxLauncher. Depending on screen resolution, this size can be fitting well (small resolutions) or really too small (large resolutions). In the later case, the interface of advanced activities like “Whole DoudouLinux” and “Mini DoudouLinux” can look very empty, just as the screenshot that is unfortunately available on our DistroWatch page.

With automatic icon size computation, we are now able to get a similar rendering on various screen resolutions as shown on the photo composition below. In this case, screen resolutions are 1280×800 (HP), 1280×1024 (CRT display), 1024×768 (Dell) and 1024×600 (Genesi), leading to screen size ratios 5÷4, 4÷3 or between 16÷10 and 16÷9. If you want to give it a try, just download one of our recent dailybuilds, in English or French only.

Automatic icon size for LxLauncher

We hope then to not see this kind of screenshot anymore:

LxLauncher without automatic icon size

Now few words about the way we achieved it.

In Debian Squeeze, the LxLauncher version, v0.2.1, features icon size tuning in a configuration file, /etc/xdg/lxlauncher/settings.conf. This is an easy way to change the icon size but, of course, requires user action. This is why we've developed a shell script that is called during GDM initialization to adapt the icon size to the actual screen resolution. The algorithm is the following:

  1. compute screen surface in pixels-square
  2. compute the width of icons to have a given number of them in a given portion of the screen (45% in our script)
  3. compute the rounded number of icons per row using the previous width
  4. compute the final icon width using screen width and number of icons per row

This script is available on our SVN server. Its algorithm is designed to be independent of screen orientation since it does not uses the screen width to compute the icon size but the screen surface. We hope then to be able to run DoudouLinux on any device in the future, from the smallest handheld devices to the largest TV screens :).

Finally, what about the stable DoudouLinux release Gondwana? Well it is shipping with LxLauncher v0.2.0 which does not allow to set icon size (it is hard-coded). Nevertheless trials have been performed to backport icon size setting from 0.2.1 and it seems to work! We should then release the latest update of Gondwana, v1.2, with this new feature :).

Thursday 12 January 2012

DoudouLinux environment on Genesi Efika: we did it!

We're very glad to announce that our work to have DoudouLinux running on ARM™ devices has much progressed during the past few weeks. As shown on the photo below, we're now able to run the full DoudouLinux environment on the Efika MX smartbooks that Genesi graciously offered our project. Although not everything is perfect right now, this is an important step forward on our way to ARM™. We're now planning to upload a first Genesi/Efika disk image quite soon, to let enthusiastic people test and hopefully enjoy :).

DoudouLinux on Genesi/Efika

This work has been achieved by DrEagle for the Debian ARM™ base image and Jean-Michel (me) for the packaging of DoudouLinux tricks that turn a light installation of Debian Squeeze armel into a DoudouLinux environment. DrEagle has worked on writing a generic disk image generation process in order to be able to address any ARM™ hardware in the future. He first focused on producing a standard Debian image and he's now moving on to producing an armel DoudouLinux image directly. In the meanwhile I focused on splitting the DoudouLinux environment tricks into generic tricks and live-specific tricks[1], then put them into standard Debian packages. As a result, installing our latest custom packages should be enough to turn any Debian or Debian-like machine into a DoudouLinux computer, whatever the target architecture (no real test has been performed though ;) ). A dedicated post will be written soon.

Now next steps are the following:

  1. Setup a buildd package server in order to ease our work of releasing binary packages for 4 architectures and 3 distribution code names.
  2. Move from the slow armel port to the faster armhf port[2].
  3. Terminate the migration of the live environment tricks into Debian packages.
  4. Build images for other ARM™ hardware, especially the new Genesi hardware to come.
  5. Prepare our next official, stable release that will be the base for a first official ARM™ release.
  6. Test and debug – not too much we hope!

As you can see there is still quite a long way to go but we've shown that this is not wishes only but rather a matter of perseverance and hardware availability. Of course we're very thankful to Genesi to have supported us in our early ARM™ development stages. We're now eager to test DoudouLinux on the very latest ARM™ hardware available :). Stay tuned!

Notes

[1] Recall that DoudouLinux was basically designed to be a LiveCD, not a standard Linux system.

[2] We have to confess that currently the armel port combined with the quite low graphic performances of the old generation of ARM™ smartbooks doesn't allow all the DoudouLinux applications to run smoothly. While there is still uncertainty for real 3D games like SuperTuxKart, we believe that armhf on the latest generation of hardware should lead to a really attractive environment for children and… parents!

Friday 25 November 2011

Automatic login now available

The default behavior of DoudouLinux is to show the menu of activities (see below) after the system has started and as soon as any activity is leaved. This is good for small children because the activities menu offers activities in the increasing order of difficulties, from top to bottom. However, for older children, the first activities are or will quickly become of poor interest. This is why the list of activities shown – but not their order – can be changed with the activities menu editor .

Activities menu (small)

However the oldest children may still have no interest at all in seeing a menu of activities, since they will surely login into “Whole DoudouLinux”. The new version of the activities menu editor can now do this. The trick is quite simple: if only one activity is selected in the menu, DoudouLinux will not show the activities menu but instead will enter this activity directly. Activities menu settings are recorded in the directory /home/etc/, which means that any data persistence (user data or user+system) is sufficient to make settings survive a reboot or a shutdown.

This new version of the activities menu editor will be available with next releases: the coming development release numbered 2011-11 and the planned official release update Gondwana 1.2, due to mid January.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Efika MX SmartBook

Here they are,

3 Genesi Efika MX SMARTBOOK for the DouDouLinux Dev Team.

IMG_0114.JPG

Thanks again to Genesi for supporting us in this challenge.

IMG_0117.JPG

Just needed some work now from the dev team to make the first DouDouLinux release available on ARM.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Genesi supports DoudouLinux ARM™ port

Genesi logo We are very glad to announce that Genesi, which makes computing products using ARM™ and Power Architecture™ technology, has accepted our project DoudouLinux in its latest sponsorship program around the i.MX53 chip from Freescale. The team will benefit from Genesi hardware, graciously donated to help us port DoudouLinux on ARM™. Moreover, as Genesi is already running Debian on its ARM™ devices, this collaboration will undoubtedly speedup our work :).

This first partnership is just the beginning of our move to ARM™ architecture. As this platform is quickly increasing in popularity, we have understood during the early stages of the project that we could not miss this opportunity to provide children all around the world with adapted, efficient, easy, pleasant and… free software. Of course any volunteer willing to help the project is welcome! We are impatient to have DoudouLinux on ARM™: the more developers we are, the faster it will occur.

Stay tuned!

Thursday 30 December 2010

DoudouLinux logo designed

A first DoudouLinux logo has been designed from the website artwork. It is available as PNG files as well as SVG source file. To draw it we used Inkscape 0.46 and draws from the Open Clipart Library, just as we did for our website. Pages and news will be published soon on our website to inform our visitors that they can now use it to promote our project.

logo-100x48.png

logo-150x72.png

logo-200x96.png

logo-300x144.png

logo-400x192.png

Thursday 21 October 2010

Parental controls: web content filtering activated

One feature that has been often said as being missing in DoudouLinux is parental controls. This is true, a web browser is shipped within DoudouLinux but no parental control was implemented to prevent children to visit “naughty” pages until recently. Of course this was not desirable for a system targeted at children and even small children. Filtering does not pretend to replace parents with software(!) but this is an additional security, simply because you cannot always be beside your children on the computer (and he doesn't want you to surely!).

Well, let's talk about technique now… There are different components in parental controls. Here we only focussed on web filtering. Other components, such as authorized hours of use, will be evaluated later. For web filtering we opted for the famous DansGuardian web content filtering solution. This tool provides two ways of avoiding naughty sites: a classical black list and a less classical real-time content filtering. The second is really an interesting feature: it can block a Google search which would otherwise give “naughty” results. The following screen capture shows a blocked Google search for the word “sex”. Yes this would give mainly naughty results…

DansGuardian error page (French)

However recent tests showed that DansGuardian is not perfect yet - so do not leave your children all day long on the Internet ;). We think that this is due to localization of black lists and keyword lists. Our translation team will then have to do some work to show if localization is really the source of malfunctioning or not.

Concerning the mechanics, a French article provides very good information on how to make DansGuardian run along with Squid, some proxy software. Using both tools and some firewalling rules in IPtables, we get a system in which web page requests cannot avoid DansGuardian[1]. However we had to do some more tuning to ensure that both Squid and DansGuardian are always started after network is actually setup. Without taking care, web access would not work at all whenever the network cable is plugged after DoudouLinux is fully working.

Notes

[1] except if a website is not using the standard port 80, but this never happens…

Saturday 9 October 2010

Daily builds available!

We have created a new download section named “Daily build”. There is a section for LiveCD images and section for USB key images. Please note that these files cannot be downloaded from the standard download web page because these files are uploaded onto the server for testing purposes only. As usual, this does not mean that they do not work correctly at all!

Unlike what its name suggests, we do not intend to build a DoudouLinux version every night in this directory for obvious upload bandwidth reasons. Instead you may find sometimes versions that are being developed and made available during several days (say at least 7 days). The page Release notes provide information about what has been changed from the latest official build (currently the 2010-08).

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Nouvelles interfaces pour la souris et la sortie son

Les premières interfaces dignes de ce nom ont été écrites pour l'outil de réglage de la souris et celui de réglage de la sortie son. Du point de vue fonctionnel c'est pareil qu'avant, mais du point de vue esthétisme, on pense avoir quand même fait beaucoup mieux ! Quelques heures à s'arracher les cheveux pour se perfectionner un peu en PyGtk et voilà le résultat :

mouse-setting.png

set-alsa-output.png

Bon maintenant il n'y a plus qu'à patienter pour que ce soit sur les CD. Ou sinon faites un tour dans notre dépôt de code source. Les mises à jour des paquets Debian devraient aussi finir par arriver, avant les nouvelles versions des CD !

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