Goodbye Friends

Hello friends and loved ones,

The time has come for us to announce the retirement of the Qimo project.  We haven’t actively developed in several years, as you know, because life got in the way, as life is wont to do.

When we started the project, there was a need for a simple, unobtrusive interface for very young children or those with learning or developmental disabilities. But technology has a way of moving on, and the things that Qimo did are now done in much more effective and inventive ways.  However, all of the games that were used by Qimo are still available in Ubuntu and other distros, and you can download the wallpaper images from here if you want to use them as backgrounds or whatnot.

We are immensely proud of the work we accomplished with the Qimo4Kids project, and we want to take a moment to thank each of you who helped or contributed in some fashion.  You have provided us a gift we can never repay, and we want you to know how much we appreciate your assistance, your love, and your patience.  We could not have done what we did without the love and support of our family, our friends, and our community.  It’s amazing what open source can do.

Rest assured that while Qimo and his friend Illa are retiring,  the team behind the distro isn’t done developing software for kids! We have registered to compete in the Global Learning X-Prize where we will be developing an Android game to teach literacy skills to children all over the world.  We invite you to come visit us at Raising Phoenicia to check out our newest project.   We are very excited about what the future might hold, and we suspect that Qimo and Illa may make an appearance again in the future.  While the distribution has lived out its time, the characters are very special to us as a team, and we’re not ready to say good bye to them completely.

The Qimo 4 Kids team
Michael, Michelle, and Brian


ZaReason Invenire 1220 Reviewed

A couple of weeks ago, ZaReason sent us a shiny new Invenire 1220 running Qimo 2.0 for a review. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Qimo running on a machine I hadn’t put it on, and the fact that it was like that out of the box was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. Having Qimo available as a pre-install option is not only a great opportunity for Qimo, but an easy way for parents to get a working computer that’s safe and inviting for their kids.

And even if that weren’t enough reason to recommend ZaReason, this Invenire itself is a great machine. It may not look like it was designed for kids, but trust me on this one, it will get their attention and their interest.  The transparent, illuminated window invites questions about what the different pieces are and how they work, sparking a desire to learn and explore that is so very fitting for a Qimo desktop.

Enough talk, let’s see some pictures! Continue reading

Qimo on ZaReason PCs

We were very excited to hear this week that ZaReason has a new PC model geared towards children and young adults, and that you can get it running Qimo 2.0!  Not only that, but Qimo is the default and recommended operating system for this model.  And at $299, it’s perfectly priced for children who are old enough to use an actual computer, but not yet needing (or wanting) a workhorse.

Not that the Invenire 1220 is a lightweight when it comes to hardware, it sports a 1.8 GHz processor, a full gigabyte of memory, and a whopping 500GB hard drive.  It’ll take an awful lot of TuxPaint drawing to fill that much space.

Invenire 1220

For inventors, explorers and all those who love to discover, we built a desktop that gives you a glimpse into the beautiful guts of your machine. Peek through the clear plastic side to see what makes this computer run.

Designed for students of all ages, this desktop is packed with features specific to learning. While many distros run on this machine, if it is being purchased for a younger student we highly recommend that you select Qimo. It features large icons and easy-to-use menus so children can easily learn to navigate on their own. Qimo is useable by children as young as three years, but it remains engaging and versatile for older children as well. If purchasing for an older student or teen, feel free to select Ubuntu or another sophisticated distro.


We’re doubly excited because ZaReason is loaning us one to evaluate ourselves!  Expect a thorough write-up with plenty of pictures once it gets here.

Moving to WordPress

We are in the process of moving the website to WordPress.  This move has been a long time in coming, but the truth is we never really had problems with our previous setup.  We appreciate the donated hosting given to us by TM+R, is has been a terrific resource for us over the past couple of years.

But the time has come to move onto our own servers (or more precisely, instances on Amazon’s EC2 cloud service), and with that we are moving from a Windows web server running Dot Net Nuke to an Ubuntu 10.10 Server running WordPress.  We appreciate your patience with any difficulties that come up because of this move, and we hope to finish the transition as quickly and smoothly as possible.

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ELDER Project in Canada

There is an organization in Canada called the Elder Project, which is setting up computers with free and open source software in schools, and we’re very happy to see that Qimo is a part of that!  Below are a couple of videos from the project showing Qimo being used by a teacher on an overhead projector, and another with it on netbooks for the students.  Good stuff and an incredible project, I encourage anybody in their area to get involved.

Elder Project – The Pikangikum Experience

ELDER Project in Poplar Hill

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Qimo partners with PC Vendors

We have been working with PC vendors to provide computers suitable for children that come with Qimo already installed.

We were first approached by after Scale 8x, and they immediately started offering both a desktop and laptop customized with Qimo at an affordable price.

Just last month we also added Homebuilt PC to our list of vendors, they also offer both a desktop and a netbook running Qimo.

We plan on adding more vendors to our lineup in the near future, so keep an eye out for updates.  If you are are a vendor and are interested in offering Qimo on your own line of PCs, send us an email at

You can find links to these PC vendors, as well as links to purchase printed Qimo CDs and apparel at our Shop Qimo page.

Qimo 2.0 is now available!


After much hard work, and some delay, we are pleased to bring your the second version of our popular Linux Desktop for Kids!

Special Thanks

First off, I’d like to thank Brian Hall for once again providing the amazing artwork that makes Qimo so special and appealing to children of all ages.  I would also like to thank Jonathan Carter for patiently helping me learn how to create Ubuntu packages and get them uploaded into the official repositories (more on that below).

What’s New

We have introduced a new character to Qimo, her name is Illa, a cute and cuddly little polar bear.  Illa (pronounced ‘ee-la’) is an Inuit word that means “friend”, and we know she’ll find her way into the hearts of your kids.  She also has her own wallpaper featuring the artic landscape at dusk, filled with hues of pink and purple with the Auroa Borealis shining in the sky.  Choose from a variety of Qimo and Illa wallpapers to find the one that is just right for your child.

Have more than one child?  With Qimo 2, they can each have their own user account!  The Xubuntu session is still there too, so you can create an account for yourself as well.

If you are already running Ubuntu 10.04, there’s no need do a fresh install to get Qimo.  Now you can add the qimo-session package from the Universe repository using Apt-get or Synaptic and you’ll get all of the games, artwork, and desktop session installed.


We have had one game change in version 2.  Replacing eToys on the launcher is Laby, a very simple and easy game that will teach even the youngest aspiring programmer all the basics.  Tested on an actual 5 year old, Laby has proven to be a very approachable and effective teaching tool that we hope will inspire a new generation of software developers.


Our direct download mirrors are busy updating to the new release.  If you can’t get through to one of them, you can download it via Bittorrent.  Our Download and Shop pages will be updated as we hear from our partners.

Download Torrent

MD5: fcc629f107e8ca8766b15bc6e5c32e5c

SHA1: 3e328b74b2eb9fcc179b2fa93afeccea55b59ca6

Direct downloads are available on our Download page!


We have produced a collection of screenshots from Qimo 2.0, including the desktop, installation process, and each of the included games.  Feel free to use these images when talking about our new release. Please contact for additional information or comments. (5.19 mb)