About two years ago I searched for some educational software for Linux or MacOS X and failed. Jan Materne once pointed me to Gcompris but I forgot about it. This afternoon I spent a few hours installing it and it is great, really.

This software comes packed with more than forty "activities" ranging from wiping semi-transparent fog from images to learn how to move the mouse (which Sarah - four years - enjoyed a lot) to learning games that go well beyond Florian's (eight years) current knowledge. It took some authority to pull the kids from the keyboard.

The website says Gcompris was translated into more than 40 languages and so far I haven't found a flaw in the German translation.

Installing Gcompris on Fedora Core 3 wasn't easy but doable. There are no RPMs so you have to compile from source and it requires sqlite and pysqlite which are not part of stock FC3 and I had to be compiled from sources as well since an rpmfind search came empty.

Installing it on my Mac is going to become a bit more difficult, darminports has been pulling down half the open source universe and compiling it for hours now just to prepare the Gnome environment that is needed. Did I say it is a five your old G3 iBook?

Gcompris' listing at Ofset also points to Childsplay which takes a very similar approach as Gcompris but uses Python and pygame. It was straight forward to install on my Mac but so far refuses to speak any language other than English.

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