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custom operating systemBringing together the best the open source world has to offer to students, Linux distribution UberStudent is a great starting point for the college-attending geek wanting to give Linux a try. It may not be as straight-forward as Ubuntu, but it does aim to bring together a number of needs students have: links to cheap textbooks, simple citation and various media editing tools.

A lot of open source software is written by students, so it stands to reason that there must be a lot of really great software out there for students if you only knew where to look. UberStudent, a Linux distro that aims to be a “learning platform,” brings much of this software into one place. If you’re wondering what kind of student-centric software is out there you might as well give this one a try!

What It Is

UberStudent is a Debian-based Linux distribution with an emphasis on educational apps, though there’s a lot more here than that. Because the distribution takes up an entire DVD, you’ll find a wide variety of packages ranging from video editing to gaming to image manipulation to good old-fashioned academic writing. For a quick overview, check out the official UberStudent presentation.

At the core of the project, it seems, is Firefox plugin Zotero Two Easy Ways To Synchronize Zotero Data Two Easy Ways To Synchronize Zotero Data Read More . This tool, which collects citations, also plugs into UberStudent’s version of Open Office in order to make citations easy. Simply collect the pieces you want to cite in Firefox using Zotero, then use the handy tool to quickly reference your collection.

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An Open Office plugin allows you to quickly insert in-paper citations, and also to automatically generate a bibliography whenever you’re ready. You can even pick which style of citation you’re going for.

Included Software

This alone could save a student a great deal of time, so check it out. But there’s a lot more here.

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There’s no official list of software that I could find, so the best way to find out is to simply boot the Live CD and explore the programs yourself. The highlights include:

I could go on but the list would be longer than the article, so you should really explore the selection yourself and find what’s useful. Download UberStudent yourself to get started. You can choose what software you do and don’t want during the installation process, but I’d recommend just giving the Live CD a spin before you get started.


My biggest complaint with this distribution? There’s so much included software here it can get downright confusing. If this sounds overwhelming to you I suggest you check out Ubuntu instead, and install the programs you think you need.

But if the idea of trying a bunch of student-related programs out is appealing for you, and you’ve got some time to play around with something new, I highly recommend you try this distribution out.

Keep in mind that it seems this distribution is aiming to pay for itself with affiliate links. You’ll find an eMusic link on the desktop, a browser filled with bookmarks, and even a few bookmarks in your applications are aiming to sell you stuff.

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Still, it’s worth wading through all of that to find the gems that are here. If you want to see a good sample of what open source has to offer students I highly suggest you check this out.

Did you find anything cool in Uberstudent, or know of some high-quality open source software for students? Don’t be shy; share in the comments below!

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