UberStudent announced its first non-beta release this summer and that's potentially great news for academics interested in open source operating systems and learning platforms. Uberstudent is a:
free, user-friendly Linux distribution for learning, doing, and teaching academic success at the higher education and advanced secondary levels. It is supported by a free Moodle-based virtual learning environment...
UberStudent fundamentally redefines what it means to be an operating system for education. At core, it is a cohesive academic success curriculum integrated into an installable, easy-to-use and ready-to-go learning platform.
UberStudent is developed by professional educators around a core skills approach. These are research and writing, study, and self-management skills, essentials to students regardless of their academic major. UberStudent can additionally be extended for specific academic disciplines using its on-board tools to finding and installing additional software.
ProfHacker takes a look at UberStudent:
Those who are committed to the open source philosophy and/or those in the market for a new OS, however, will find much to like here. The price (free) can’t be beat, the OS can run on older equipment (the minimum memory requirement for the full version is 512MB) and I honestly can’t think of any application I’d absolutely need to work with on a regular basis that doesn’t come preinstalled. Though the applications in UberStudent are mostly available for other platforms, it takes far less time and effort to install the entire OS than it would to download and install each application or FireFox extension individually. If you’re in the market for a new OS, this one’s definitely worth a look.
Dedoimedo has an even more complex review illustrated by quite a number of screenshots and an overview of available apps. Though D. found a few glitches, he too has a positive response.
I don't use an open source OS but I'm certainly an open source advocate and open source software underlies much of my daily web experience. Direct use of open source products always seem to involve a learning curve that becomes a stumbling block for me. However, I am drawn to the concept of UberStudent and see it as one likely entry point given the enticing combination of research apps and learning platform.
Furthermore, higher ed is heading towards such integrated systems from multiple angles and, if one doesn't go open source with such critical infrastructure, one will find vendors benefiting from the pricing advantage that comes from lock-in.
Official Site: UberStudent