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Re: [school-discuss] Request for New Intro-Duct-Shuns.
I'm Ben Armstrong. I'm not dead yet.
I'm the project lead for Debian Jr., a project with a focus not on
formal learning, but simply on making Debian into an OS that our
children prefer to use. Basically, it is an attempt to connect with
other Debian developers and turn our own experiences having fun
exploring and using Debian with our kids into something useful for
The confounding thing about raising a family of five kids and
homeschooling four of them is that at the end of the day, there isn't a
whole lot of time left for projects outside of keeping the household
running & the family happy and provided for. For years I've had some
great ideas about what Debian Jr. could become, and initially joined the
Schoolforge project to try to establish some connections with
like-minded indviduals so we could push this project forward. But
beyond the initial effort to identify a subset of Debian that is
suitable for kids, not a whole lot else has happened with the Jr.
project, and my participation in Schoolforge has been nominal so far.
In the meantime, a lot has happened in Debian that makes it even easier
to making something useful out of the Jr. project. The CDD (Custom
Debian Distributions) project has been launched, the desktop has
improved, and so forth. So it ought to be possible now to get a lot
further with a lot less effort than when I first embarked on this
In my professional life, I'm a commercial software developer of some
twenty years experience. My work is obliquely related to education, as
I develop software for media resource libraries.
I have a keen interest in the social aspects of software development,
both in the open source world and on the job. I value directly working
with users highly, and spend a fair amount of time helping friends,
family, coworkers and clients all use computers to make their lives
better. I'm frustrated, though, with how much time this can suck up,
and therefore have an incentive to continue to help make Debian as
painless as possible for end-users to use and either self-administer or,
as is more often the case, form long-term relationships with geeks like
me who enjoy taking the time to keep their systems in shape. The
rewards of doing this make it all worthwhile.
Where I'd like to go next with Debian Jr. is to revitalize the project
and bring it up-to-date with the state of the art in the production of
CDDs for the next Debian release, Etch. If this work interests anyone
here, I would encourage you to join our mailing list at
http://lists.debian.org/debian-jr and drop us a note. The website is,
alas, quite out of date, but is still worth a look at: