Why Labdoo Uses Linux


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Labdoo uses the Linux operating system (OS) for several important reasons:

  • One first reason is because Linux is a very high quality software. While software can always be improved, it is well-known among some of the best computer scientists in the world that Linux has consistently delivered some of the finest architectures.
  • Linux is open and free software. This is an incredibly powerful property. This basically means that people can freely use all the software provided by Linux without worrying about licensing violations. It means that you can fire the Ubuntu Software Center and install any of thousands of applications for free. This aspect is really important for schools and students, because it provides freedom to access powerful educational applications.
  • Without Linux, Labdoo would not be possible. Labdoo distributes thousands of laptops around the world and each Labdoo laptop comes with hundreds of free programs, so negotiating a free license for each of them would not be feasible. It is thanks to thousands of programmers and computer scientists around the world who donate their time to create great quality software that at Labdoo we can do our job of distributing educational laptops around the globe.
  • Linux is easy to use. There is a sort of myth that Linux is difficult to use. That's indeed a myth, because hundreds of millions of people use Linux today sometimes without even knowing. The Android operating system is based on Linux, which means that all the Samsung, LG, Nexus and countless phones and tablets that many of us carry are using Linux. Today's Linux operating systems are as simple to use as any other OS like Microsoft's Windows® or Apple's OSX®. The skills learned on a Linux computer (e.g., using spreadsheets, word documents, creating slides, etc.) are all applicable to any other computer system. Further, in a world were more and more we rely on the Internet, the role of the computer interface becomes less relevant. In some cases all that matters is having a browser that connects us to the Internet where we can have access to high quality educational content. This aspect of computers is independent of the operating system.
  • Linux brings the spirit of collaboration. Linux was developed through the collaboration of computer scientists and programmers around the world that wanted to develop a high-quality free operating system for everyone. This concept is tightly related to the values of Labdoo and the belief that together in collaboration we can create great projects to make a better world. In Swahili, the word 'Ubuntu' (the name of the Linux distribution we use at Labdoo) means 'hospitality'. More about the history of Linux can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Linux
  • Linux runs much faster on any computer than Windows does.
  • No virus problem: Linux is nearly invulnerable for virus attacks, but Windows-PCs are not. Often schools report technical problems by virus attacks, a problem which is unknown for Labdoo.
  • Outdated Windows licences: Donated laptops come often with Windows versions, which are not supported or updated any-more. This again is a high risk of security problems.
  • Windows operating systems and office programs costs money, typically several hundreds of dollars. In many countries Windows and MS-Office are copied without a legal license. But if you do not have the resources to pay for an expensive license, you no longer have to violate law, because Linux is freely available for all of us.

If the above is still not convincing enough and if you'd like to install another operating system different than Linux to your Labdoo laptops, you can freely do so. Labdoo does not impose any restrictions on the software you run on the computers provided that you can ensure that the laptops are being used for educational purposes.

If you want to change the operating system (OS) and if the laptop travels internationally, we recommend to install the laptop with the basic, license free (L)Ubuntu, and then you can have the edoovillage install their desired OS locally. A basic OS is needed to travel abroad because the international travel rules require laptops to be able to boot into an OS.

If the laptop does not travel internationally and you want to have your own OS, then it is recommended to deliver the laptop without any OS. Just format the hard drive by using the 'shred' command.

Please make sure all software and OS installed in Labdoo devices are NOT violating any copyrights or laws. As explained above, this is the reason Labdoo.org strongly encourages using open and license-free OS and software such as (L)Ubuntu.

Lubuntu and Windows Equivalences

Here is a table of some programs in Linux/Lubuntu and their equivalent names in Windows. Please notice that Labdoo laptops come with hundreds of additional educational programs and content (ebooks, wikis etc.), which are not included in a Windows operating system. This table provides only some of the programs found in Labdoo laptops that have an equivalent version in Windows systems.

Lubuntu Application Function Windows Software Included in Windows
Xpad Stickies Microsoft OneNote yes
Evince PDF Viewer Adobe Reader no (3rd party app)
LibreOffice Calc / Gnumeric Spreadsheet Microsoft Excel no ($)
LibreOffice Writer / Abiword Docs Microsoft Word no ($)
LibreOffice Impress Slides / Presentations Microsoft Powerpoint no ($)
Simple-scan Scanner no (driver)
Gparted Partition Editor Disk Manager yes
Guvcview / Skype Webcam Utility Skype no (3rd party app)
Scrot Screenshot no (3rd party app)
Hardinfo System info System profiler yes
Mtpaint Image Editing Paint yes
Xfburn CD Burning no (3rd party app)
Pcmanfm File Manager Explorer yes
Gcalculator Calculator Calc yes
Audacious Audio Player Windows Media Player yes
VLC / Gnome-mplayer Video Player Windows Media Player yes
Transmission Torrent no (3rd party app)
Pidgin Instant Messaging Microsoft Lync no
Sylpheed Email Client Outlook yes
Mozilla Firefox Web browser Internet Explorer yes
Leafpad Editor Notepad / Wordpad yes
File-roller (De)Compress files Explorer yes (only ZIP files)
Lxterminal Terminal cmd yes (some features)
Gpicview Image Viewer Windows Media Center yes

Changing the look of Linux

While the look and feel of (L)Ubuntu is very similar to that of any other operating system, it is possible to make it look even more similar. Visit for instance this page for a description of how to make your Linux system look like a Windows one.

Installing multiple operating systems using VirtualBox

If the laptop comes with more than 2 GB RAM, you can consider using Virtualbox, a tool that allows you to install another operating system like Windows next (or on top) of Linux. By doing so, you will be able to run (L)Ubuntu as the host OS and Windows, or other operating systems, as a guest OS at the same time.

You also need to fulfil the same legal and license regulations on the guest OS as mentioned above. The images provided by Labdoo for cloning laptops come with a pre-installed Virtualbox. There is also an installation script to install Virtualbox and its extensions for a Linux OS available.

Download handout as odt or pdf

If you want to explain someone else why at Labdoo we use Linux based software, feel free to share the following handout summarizing the main reasons.

Windows is either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
Apple is either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

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