Wizard's Kid-Safe Livecd
I saw a thread on the pclinuxos forum discussing this new livecd based on PCLinuxOS called Wizard's Kid-Safe Livecd and it sounded a bit interesting. It is a remaster of PCLinuxOS .93 MiniME made for kids of all ages. The re-Master has taken out many applications and added a few, stirred, let rise, and baked at 350 degrees to produce a wonderful distro containing games, educational programs and a nice safe web interface. So now there's an alternative to using the Disney Channel for a babysitter.
Booting the cd results in an autostart of X and an autolog-in of root into a slimmed down KDE 3.5.2 desktop. In addition to KDE 3.5.2, it comes with Xorg 6.9.0. He's added in several extra games as well as several K-games not originally found in KDE.
Upon login one is immediately greeted by the Kid-Safe Welcome! It is a html page with logos linking to sites of interest to children such as libraries, pbs, online books & games and children friendly search engines. It must have taken a while to dig up all those family friendly sites. There must be almost 2 dozen sites listed. The internet connection is enabled at boot by default so surfing the internet is possible, but content is filtered by Dansguardian and squid. It even filtered out much of the content on my site and my google webmail account. I think the settings are quite high, but can be adjusted through the /etc/squid/squid.conf and /etc/dansguardian/dansguardian.conf files.
The desktop is a customized KDE environment. The wallpaper is the kde provided Fulmine outlined by customized panels and launchers. The menu is quite striped down as well. In fact, the "K menu" itself is gone. Instead we have mini-menus or launchers placed on a panel and put at the top of the desktop. There seems to be as many launchers as there are game categories under the regular KDE menu. Fortunately the Run command box link was left in the right-click menu.
In those menus you'll find plenty of games and edutainment apps, but not much else. Kate, Kwrite, and Tuxpaint are included. The list of games is quite extensive, including some 3D. Besides the games that come with KDE, it has many other extra Kgames as well as many others. Some gaming applications include Frozen-Bubble, Racer NL, Tuxpuck, Foobillards, Bumprace, LBreakout2, Neverball and Neverputt, SuperTux, KBoggle, blinken, and many others. In the edutainment department you find Khangman, KLatin, Kletters, Tuxtype, KTouch, Childsplay, KAlgebra, KPercentage, KGeography, KBruch, Earth 3D and Kstars.
With Kid-Safe being built on PCLinuxOS, many of pclos' core features remain. The PCLinuxOS Control Center is present as well as Synaptic. However I was not able to locate the harddrive installer, so I'm not sure how much one would really need the control center or software manager. But if you are in the mind to remaster, mklivecd was still present.
As a livecd this is a wonderful idea for the parent (or grandparent, aunt, uncle, babysitter, etc.) who would like to introduce their young children to a computer or enhance their older children's experience with a little more peace of mind. I think all the included games and educational applications as well as the handy links could not only provide hours of fun, but some learning opportunities to boot. The hardware detection was good, as far as tested. Performance was very good here, but I have a pretty fast machine with plenty of ram. 512mb ram is recommended. The 3D games didn't play very well under Xorg drivers for my nvidia card. But otherwise, I liked it. The layout was logical enough and the look was pretty. I'm not sure I understand the philosophy of or reasons behind the guest account being removed and leaving only the root account, but Kid-Safe doesn't mount any other system at boot or have icons for them. I think this livecd could be a good way to let your kids loose on the computer without worrying they could mess up your beloved install. I know I'll be booting Kid-Safe next time my Little Princess comes to visit.
UPDATE: See this Post.