Kano OS, a powerful and low budget educational Linux for multiple environments

Kano Operating System

Kano OS is a distribution designed for children, we know that there are already many distros with that purpose, we have written about this topic as we can see here!, but this one is different, it is designed for Raspberry (ARM architecture, like that of mobiles), This distro contains programs designed by their own creators, in turn these are available on Github in case you want to take a look and analyze them, They are released under the GLP V2 license.

Kano for critical educational environments

Not only children who are in cities in environments with purchasing power should have access to technology, although it is true that there are several foundations or NGOs that carry equipment for many obsolete (We speak of Pentium 4 and dual / quad core down) towards rural sites or peripheral cities, those huge towers at some point are going to require maintenance and no one in a town in the middle of nowhere will know how, so the project to close the digital divide will be stalled, the towers contain several parts and to change their function you need someone specialized in the subject (understand how to change a Linux distribution for another, format the equipment, replace or revise the source, etc), this is where Raspberry comes into play Before entering the subject, let's explain that it is a raspberry for those who are not familiar with it.

Wait, what the hell is a raspberry? Raspberry Pi

A Raspberry is a computer in a single circuit (system on a chip or SoC) just like mobile phones, where all the parts are integrated into the board, Ram, Processor, GPU, connectors, etc, which allows it to have a very small size, being in the case of the raspberry only big like a credit card.

For its use, it is only a matter of connecting the peripherals, adding a lifelong SD memory with the preloaded system that will function as a hard disk and a power source similar to the mobile charger. So that its maintenance is quite simple and in the case of wanting to change the operating system, it is enough to change the SD memory, which is quite simple.

Its main physical characteristic is its GPIO port (the one with several small two-row pointed connectors) which allows you to add many functions or use them to connect the board to other peripherals and greatly increase its functions as we can see in the following image, it also has four USB ports, an HDMI, a 3.5mm audio and an Ethernet, come on, a full-fledged computer.

raspberry gpio

The raspberry can not only be used as a small computer for educational use, It is extremely flexible from using it as a multi-system console for retro video games, to a very effective virtual assistant, converting a conventional TV into a smart TV or a drone, among others., its price is also very economical to be a computer with all the letters being around U.S. dollar 35 (May vary a bit)

Kano saves the day

By implementing Kano OS on a raspberry we get rid of the cumbersome old towers, we only need a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor which is infinitely easier to connect for someone new to computers, than to change a ram module or the source of a conventional desktop computer as we can see in the next videoWhere its own creators promote an «all-in-one kit» aimed at having a 7-8 year-old child assemble it by himself following a small instruction bookHowever, it is not necessary to purchase it since just downloading this distribution, putting it in a raspberry and connecting the peripherals you have on hand works the same. so that just by investing in a new computer for a rural school you can have several raspberries running kano OS with almost zero maintenanceIt is only a matter of looking for cheap peripherals or by donation which is much easier than getting a whole computer, come on, someone at home has a functional keyboard just because they bought a mechanical one with RGB led lights for example.

The guts of Kano OS

To begin with, the first time we start Kano OS we are shown a black screen very similar to a terminal, we are asked for some information, then we are presented with an elusive white rabbit that we have to follow to the hole, a clear reference to Alice in the Wonderland of Lewis Carroll and that this time is very reminiscent of Matrix.

The interface is quite reminiscent of the GNOME desktop or Android, being very visually attractive for anyone

kano-interface

If you look closely at the top left there is something called "History mode" which is nothing more than a very attractive way to know the raspberry as well as the programs that make up Kano OS, we are asked to look for the rabbit that we saw at the beginning and it has wreaked havoc in that world.

The design as you can see is similar to the first pokemon and the map (still in development) is a very imaginative recreation of a "living world" of raspberry since it is designed according to the physical parts, so we can visit the HDMI port and talk to those who inhabit it, the ethernet port , SD and similar, the screenshot below is "The station" which is the ethernet port where the characters explain how the information moves through TCP and UDP packets as if they were passengers on a train coming and going

KanoOS story mode

A clear advantage, the community

Kano is not just another distribution and now, is created by a London-based company with continuous and solid collaborative developmentBy using Kano you create an account that you can level up according to the challenges you meet, upload and download exercises done by you or by others of various kinds in an area called "Kano world" that is updated daily and participate in a own forum where there are guides, tutorials, teachers and others.

Kano World

What can you learn or teach with Kano?

All Kano programs have a Guide, so it is very helpful for the little ones

  • You can teach or learn Python and build your own Snake
  • Learn or teach programming logic with Minecraft
  • Learn or teach the using terminal and its commands with a text-based adventure and mystery game like on 40-year-old computers like the ZX spectrum or the Commodore64
  • Create your own version of pong to your liking
  • Create music and work with rgb led matrices to create pixel art or even a clock
  • Create your own projects with Scratch, the introductory programming program for kids created by MIT

Among many other things that are likely to escape me at this time.

If you want to give your son, nephew or grandson who loves technology or you want to encourage him to be curious about it, too It is a perfect gift and much cheaper and more useful than a video game console.


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  1.   Daniel said

    Very good article, how interesting a raspberry is as learning especially in children who like technology. Greetings.

  2.   Eduard lucena said

    A link to the original project would be nice.