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Operating Systems- A Baby Board Book

After about 4-5 hours last night, and early this morning, I finished creating a board book for my 15-month old daughter. Of course, what better topic to choose than that of operating systems? So, I settled with GNU/Linux, UNIX and other operating systems as the main categories for the book, and it turned out great! The goal of the book is to teach her operating systems that she can easily point at. Believe it or not, toddlers catch on fast to this game.

The layout of the book has 3 main categories, with each of their respective operating systems beneath it. Then, the title of each page is the main branch of which many operating systems are based on. For example, in the "GNU/LINUX" category, there is the "Debian" branch, which you will find Knoppix and Ubuntu, among others. I wanted to grab the largest branches of each category, then get the most popular systems that are still in active development from each branch. I wasn't interested in "dead" systems. I also didn't want to repeat operating systems in multiple categories, so I kept it as unique as possible. I did the best I could, although I'm sure I overlooked some more popular systems than what I chose. Here's my breakdown:


  • Debian: CrunchBang, KNOPPIX, Linspire, MEPIS, Ubuntu and XandrOS.
  • Fedora: Blag, CentOS, LinuxXP, Red Hat, TurboLinux and Yellow Dog Linux.
  • Slackware: Austrumi, DeLi Linux, Frugalware, GoblinX, Slax and Vector Linux.
  • Independent: Arch Linux, Gentoo Linux, GoboLinux, Linux From Scratch, Sorcerer and openSUSE.


  • AT&T: AIX, HP-UX, MINIX, OpenSolaris, SCO and SGI IRIX.
  • BSD: DragonFly BSD, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, NetBSD, OpenBSD and PCBSD.


  • Other: Haiku OS, GNU HURD, Plan 9 from Bell Labs, PureDarwin, IBM OS/2 Warp and Microsoft Windows.

Yes, SCO Unix and Microsoft Windows are listed. As either a company or an operating system, they have had a profound effect on the operating system market as a whole. Further, this book isn't about Free operating systems, but as a light educational resource for operating systems in general. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here they are (in the last picture, my daughter is nicknamed "Boo" as she was born on Halloween 2007):

First, the board book. You can find blank board books all over the Internet. The ones that my wife and I have are 5" square with 10 inner pages, an outer cover page and back page, which brings the total to 12 complete pages that you can print and stick to the book. The paper I printed on 8 1/2" x 11" white shipping label sticky paper. After printing, cut the paper as necessary, peel the protective backing from the shipping label and apply it to the book. You can use my template here, if you wish (ODT). I used the GIMP for my image manipulation, and found most of my images off of Distrowatch. There are a few SVG icons used from the Tango icon set, many were Googled, and some made by hand. The font used for the cover and three main categories is "URW Chancery L Italic" and the font on the back cover is "Liberation Mono".

The images are PNG files, and if you wish, can be downloaded here: Front cover, page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7, page 8, page 9, page 10, back cover. All are licensed under the public domain. Individual logos licensed as appropriate by their respective owners.

For those geek readers of my blog, you'll probably notice a couple oddities about the book. First, MEPIS was initially based on SUSE, then Debian and now Ubuntu. It's currently a Debian-like distro, so that's where it sits. CentOS isn't based on Fedora, but Red Hat Enterprise Linux, however, it's such a major Red Hat-like distribution, than I couldn't overlook it. MINIX isn't a AT&T System V derived UNIX, but a UNIX-like system written from scratch. It pulls almost entirely from the System V philosophy, so I put it there. With the BSDs, some will say that Mac OS X isn't a BSD-based UNIX, but a hybrid of many UNIX like technologies, including Mach. Because most of the userspace tools on OS X are pulled from FreeBSD, it seems a good fit. Lastly, I know that OS/2 Warp is no longer in active development, but I was having a hard time filling the "Other" category with six systems. I could have chosen Palm, but I was looking for operating systems that could be installed on a desktop, laptop or server, rather than embedded, mobile or otherwise. Also the "Other" page isn't alphabetical like the others. Oh well.

Now that this book has been realized, I have some other ideas for baby board books that will "geek it up" for my daughter, including programming languages, Internet browsers and protocols (that should be interesting). Feel free to use my template here for my operating systems book, and modify as you see fit. The template file itself is also under the public domain.

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