Someone recently turned me on to Ubuntu linux . I went there and ordered their free CD's (they haven't got here yet, but hey, they're free so I'm not complaining!) I also noticed their spinoff project - Edubuntu, an educational version of Linux.
I downloaded their ISO, and Installed it on my Compaq Laptop - one that I have had problems with installing previous versions of Linux on. While I am quite comfortable at compiling my own Kernel, I prefer not to, for a myriad of reasons. But I have to say, that this Linux install was by far the easiest I have ever done in about 10 years of casual linux use. It recognized all of my hardware out of the box and installed easily.As soon as I got it up and running, I tried to figure out how to get it to work for my kids. While a lot of the Open Source Software bundled with Edubuntu was available for other Distros, what got me was some of the subtle touches. The kid friendly UI for example, with its oversized and kid-themed icons, which made them more clickable to little hands. My kids loved the Glibcompris (sp?) games, and the only thing I need to do for them is a them a kid-sized mouse.All in all, I am loving it so far, and might start reccomending it to friends - after all, you can take an old PC, throw this on it, and it can entertain your kids for a while. Besides, all schools now have Windows PCs in their computer labs. At least your kids will get the best of both worlds. And because it is Linux, there are other things that I can teach him - for example, I think after I buy a kid-sized mouse, I will teach my four year-old how to write shell scripts. (So what if he doesn't quite know how to read yet :)).
Read more at www.edubuntu.org/