Edubuntu 23.04 revives after eight years for thousands of educators and students. Here are the best new features.
Edubuntu is a popular open-source educational operating system based on Ubuntu Linux. It targets students and teachers primarily and aims to be the “classroom Linux distro” with a solid Ubuntu base. The new release, Edubuntu 23.04, comes with exciting new features and updates that make it even more valuable for educators and students. This article will explore the best new features of Edubuntu 23.04.
Before that, a little background of this Ubuntu flavour.
Edubuntu was an official Ubuntu flavour until the Ubuntu 14.04 “release “Trust Tahr” release. The last release of Edubuntu was on April 2014, i.e. Edubuntu 14.04. Since then, it has been discontinued.
A few days back, Erich Eickmeyer, who is the Ubuntu Studio project leader, announced that Edubuntu is officially returning with the 23.04 with a revival plan.
And finally, the daily build images are available to try out before the final release.
Table of Contents
Edubuntu 23.04: Best New Features
User interface changes with modern GNOME
The last release of Edubuntu had Unity desktop by default. Because Ubuntu was focussing on the Unity desktop in 2014. And later, on October 2017, it was replaced by the GNOME desktop, which continues till today.
Edubuntu 23.04 features the default GNOME 44 desktop environment. GNOME 44 brings a lot of under-the-hood improvements and updates. That includes a few long pending changes. For the first time in a decade, you get the thumbnail view in the file picker in GNOME. In addition, Files get image copy to file creation feature and more. You can learn about these in this GNOME 44 feature guide.
So, if you have been coming back to use Edubuntu since 2014, then these are a lot to take in. And the modern GNOME 44 is entirely different from the Unity desktop back in 2014.
That being said, the new interface is designed to provide a better user experience, making navigating the system more accessible for students and teachers.
Look and feel with the new logo
The default GNOME desktop is not much tweaked to minimise the revival effort. So, a new Edubuntu logo debuts following the new Ubuntu logo “circle-of-friends” unveiled last year. The logo itself is a design feat with one person raising a hand showing the education theme.
Edubuntu’s flagship red colour theme is complimented by the Yaru-Red theme. It is consistent across the desktop, including selections, GTK widgets and Plymouth.
Accessibility and settings update
GNOME desktop, by default, is much more improved on the Accessibility front with many settings. In GNOME 44, the entire accessibility settings page is revamped. It is now based on a friendly name instead of a generic list of controls. Edubuntu 23.04 definitely going to provide a good experience with GNOME 44 for students having special needs.
Furthermore, the output and input section on the sound page in settings is shuffled for better clarity.
Education specific applications
The most critical aspect of this distro is the applications specific to education. The default set of applications in Edubuntu 23.04 is well packaged, considering all types of students and their grade levels.
For generic office work, LibreOffice 7.5 is included. Browsing the web is easier with secure Firefox (snap).
Students who need art-related applications can take advantage of the below set of default apps:
- GIMP raster drawing program
- Drawing – simple image editor (similar to MS Paint)
- Tux Paint – drawing program for beginners
- LibreCAD – Free and open-source computer-aided design app
- Inkscape – Vector drawing program
A well set of language and learning tools to help all students across grades. Here’s a list:
- Endeavor – GTK-based to-do manager
- Gobby – an excellent tool for collaborative document editing over a network
- Ulcc – teach children through pictures.
- Khangman and KWordquiz – to learn and teach new words
- PDFMod – PDF editor
- Calibre – e-book management
Furthermore, a few important apps which are specialised and are perfect for specific subjects learning are also included.
- Gramps – genealogical research application
- KGeography – to learn world map
- Fritzing – electronic circuit designer and simulator
A huge collection of science and math applications are already installed by default.
- Atomix – Puzzle game about atoms and molecules
- Chemtool – design chemical diagrams
- Kalzium – Learn periodic table
- Light speed – An OpenGL-based program developed to illustrate the effects of special relativity on the appearance of moving objects
- Rocs – Graph theory simulator
- Stellarium – free and open-source planetarium software
- Step – Interactive physics simulator
- Dia – diagramming application
- Kalgebra – learn algebra interactively
In addition, GNOME Extensions manager is pre-installed in Edubuntu for easy installation for extensions, taking the effort away from educators.
Application controls for students
Since many applications and packages are installed, it’s necessary to have control in place to restrict certain apps for specific users. Edubuntu has a built-in menu editor. Using this utility, you can hide certain apps from the menu that are non-admin users.
Hardware support and core changes
At the core, Edubuntu 23.04 is powered by the latest Linux Kernel 6.2. This brings all modern hardware, CPU, CPU, ports and file system support.
Python 3.11 is included as part of the Ubuntu base to help students to learn this popular programming language.
Performance and related attributes
Since many applications are packages installed by default, the default ISO size is slightly larger. The current ISO size is almost ~6 GB, which is massive. So, deploying this distro requires a larger download and USB stick.
The performance is identical to the base Ubuntu with GNOME. However, as per the number of educational apps you launch, the resource requirement would increase significantly. Also, you need to remember the CPU speed while installing Edubuntu because of math and science apps.
I believe that any modern laptop or desktop lineup (not more than five years old) should work just fine with Edubuntu 23.04.
On the installation side, it uses the old Ubiquity installer from Ubuntu (not the new one), so I believe it would be stable and easy to use.
You can download to try Edubuntu 23.04 beta using the below link. You may try it out in a virtual machine or physical system. Remember that it has some bugs, and some apps show unexpected behaviour.
Edubuntu 23.04 is an excellent distro for educational purposes, and the new features and improvements in this release make it even more valuable for students and teachers. From improved user interface to better language support, Edubuntu 23.04 has something for everyone. Its enhanced collaboration tools, multimedia support, and science/math apps are perfect for classrooms.
We are glad that it’s back!