Having Linux loaded on the kids’ PC has been A Good Thing. It offers me a number of “management” advantages over the alternatives (although this may be a function of my lack of the same level of technical knowledge of the other systems).
On Linux I can:
- do (almost) everything on their computer without leaving my own computer (ssh! or occasionally vnc) – this is a particularly important consideration when I am in front of my own computer with one hand holding a sleeping baby;
- see what they’re doing on the computer (ps);
- boot them off games or turn the computer off when they ignore their mother telling them to do something or other (kill);
- change the volume on the computer (alsamixer);
- turn access to certain games or programs (or the whole windowing system) on or off (/etc/inittab);
- install and uninstall programs with ease (and without worrying about having to find the original disks and/or some access code); and
- install lightweight windowing systems to improve performance.
If I wanted to I could also set login scripts to restrict usage to certain times but not, unfortunately, based on whether or not they are still wearing their pyjamas.
It also has beneficial side effects such as plausible deniability of being able to run cheapo non-Linux games (that are accumulated as part of a bundle with something else from time to time); and (related) inability to install non-Linux rubbishware from the web.
By contrast I have no ability to remotely manage them on the windows box that they use from time to time.