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23 October 2011 / erikduval

What would you put on a netbook bound for Mali?

As I mentioned over at Google Plus a week ago,

Family will visit relatives in Mali in 2 wks from now. Looking for good laptop deals to help local kids. (2nd hand is fine!) Re-sharing=awesomness!
We ended up bying a netbook. Now, I have another request: I’m not sure that connectivity will be all that great in Mali, so I’m wondering what I can load on the machine before it leaves for Mali next week.

I’ve thought of project gutenberg. Maybe openoffice. Any other suggestions?



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  1. Wout Dekoster / Oct 23 2011 6:35 pm

    – Open office can be useful.
    – Some small free games
    – pdf reader

  2. erikduval / Oct 23 2011 7:26 pm

    Thx – any suggestions for specific ‘small free games’?

    • Wout Dekoster / Oct 24 2011 11:35 pm

      Well, I think the guys below here were a little bit more complete with their suggestions. 🙂
      Depends on the operating system you are installing; if it’s windows, I would recommend “Super Mario 3: Mario Forever” or something like that, it’s free, lightweight, fun to play and I think you can download it free @Cnet download center.
      Actually I can recommend all the games there, but don’t know if it’s very useful because games aren’t really the first priority for a children’s laptop.
      Maybe an alternative browser to IE, like chrome, firefox or safari is also a good option.

      and as vprot said, keep us in track!

  3. vprot (@vprot) / Oct 23 2011 11:43 pm

    I was really excited to hear about this small project, as I strongly support such actions (giving away computers filled with free software, to people who really need them and they will probably make good use of them). Will the netbook have Windows or any distribution of Linux installed? Supposing that it has a default Windows installation, my list would be as follows:

    – Libre office for productivity (
    – Free antivirus, e.g. Avast! (
    – Free firewall, e.g. ZoneAlarm Free (
    – 7zip: Free file compression tool (
    – Irfanview: free image editing tool (
    – GOM multimedia player: (
    – Skype for free calls/video calls to other computer users (
    – Foxit reader: Free and fast pdf reader (
    – Dropbox, for file syncing/online backup of important files (

    … and the list is ever-growing! Please let us know of the final list of software that you installed in the netbook, as it may be used as a reference for similar future efforts.

    Good luck!

  4. Tasos K / Oct 24 2011 3:52 pm

    Would you opt for gnu/linux? Then edubuntu! Or you could create a live CD or a memory stick if you prefer to stick with Windows.

    Also, depending on children’s age, maybe gCompris, tuxPaint, RoboMind, scratch (, starLogo TNG…


  5. erikduval / Oct 25 2011 7:39 pm

    MANY thanks for all the nice suggestions!

    For now, we’ll stay with windows 7. Am installing the nice suggestions of @vprot and have installed Wout’s suggestion for Mario.

    If we get feedback from the folks in Mali, I will let you know…

  6. Jim / Oct 28 2011 11:07 pm

    Salif Keita, Miriam et Amadou, Ali Farka Touré for you to listen to (great Malian music). And with a netbook you go to the app store and download a music recorder for free. my suggestion: record someone playing the kora (a string instrument). its beautiful

    • erikduval / Oct 29 2011 12:17 am

      That is great music! By now, the laptop is on its way… Hope folks in Mali will be able to use it well. Will keep you all updated if I hear from them…

  7. Stephen Downes / Oct 29 2011 1:54 am


    • erikduval / Oct 29 2011 11:02 am

      Yes, Stephen, I installed and a local French copy of wlkipedia on the netbook… (Bandwidth is limited and expensive in Mali.)

      Hope I will be able to follow up on what they do with it…

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