Linux distributions and tools for education


Whether you are a total beginner, novice or experienced Linux user or administrator, there is always space for improvement and for learning new things around the Linux operating system. By expanding your Linux knowledge, you invest more broadly in computer operating system technology learning, which can be applied in any other operating system.

This article provides an overview of Linux distributions and tools for education, both for learning Linux itself as an operating system as well as using Linux as the basis for teaching students on a variety of topics.


You can download the installation image from

MentOS (Mentoring Operating System) is an open source educational operating system. The goal of MentOS is to provide a project environment that is realistic enough to show how a real Operating System work, yet simple enough that students can understand and modify it in significant ways. MentOS aims to have the same Linux’s data structures and algorithms. It has a well-documented source code, and you can compile it on your laptop in a few seconds.

MentOS implements the following Linux operating system features.

Processes and Events

  • Memory protection (User vs Kernel);
  • Processes;
  • Scheduler (synchronous and asynchronous);
  • Interrupts and Exceptions;
  • Signals;
  • Timers and RTC;
  • Wait-queues;
  • System Calls;
  • Multi-core;


  • Paging;
  • Buddy System;
  • Slab Allocation;
  • Zone Allocator;
  • Cache Allocator;
  • Heap;
  • Virtual Addressing;


  • Virtual Filesystem (VFS);
  • Initramfs;
  • EXT2;
  • Procfs;


  • Programmable Interrupt Controller (PIC) drivers;
  • Keyboard drivers (IT/ENG layouts);
  • Video drivers;
  • VGA drivers;

Linux Kernel Archives

What better location to learn from than that of the official Linux Kernel Archives page?

Linux From Scratch

Currently, the Linux From Scratch organization consists of the following subprojects, all of which are worth reviewing.

  • LFS :: Linux From Scratch is the main book, the base from which all other projects are derived.
  • BLFS :: Beyond Linux From Scratch helps you extend your finished LFS installation into a more customized and usable system.
  • ALFS :: Automated Linux From Scratch provides tools for automating and managing LFS and BLFS builds.
  • Hints :: The Hints project is a collection of documents that explain how to enhance your LFS system in ways that are not included in the LFS or BLFS books.
  • Patches :: The Patches project serves as a central repository for all patches useful to an LFS user.
  • LFS Editor’s Guide :: A document that describes the LFS development process.
  • Museum :: Copies of ancient LFS and BLFS versions.


You can download the installation image at This is a simple to use Linux distribution aimed primarily at primary school students, who are new to learning how to use a computer for educational purposes.

Sugar on a stick (SOAS)

Sugar on a Stick is a Fedora®Spin operating system featuring the award-winning Sugar Learning Platform.

Sugar on a Stick will run on the following systems:

  • any 64-bit Notebook, Laptop, or Desktop computer, with a minimum of 1GB RAM, that can run Linux, Windows or macOS, using a USB thumbdrive or stick, as a Live USB,
  • a 32-bit computer with the TOAST version of Sugar (Trisquel on a Sugar Toast). See Trisquel On A Sugar Toast.
  • a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, using a microSD card, or;
  • any computer as a virtual machine.

Download the latest Sugar on a Stick .iso file from

Ubuntu Linux

With various flavors to choose from for any taste and learning level, Ubuntu is one of the most widespread and easy to use distributions available.

Kali Linux

Use Kali Linux if you need to focus on network/security training. You can download Kali Linux from:

Getting started with the Linux CLI

The Linux Ubuntu community has created a handy tutorial for getting started with Linux CLI:

Getting started with the Linux GUI components

For an introductory presentation of the Linux GUI components, namely window managers, display managers, desktop environments and display servers, you can review the following article:

Software for education

If you are a parent or primary/secondary school teacher, you may find the following compilation of education software useful, when using Linux in your education projects.