I'm always on the lookout for open source software that works well in educational settings. Recently I decided to check out Endless OS[1], a lightweight, Linux-based operating system with a customized desktop environment forked from GNOME 3.

The operating system was developed by Endless Computer to power its inexpensive computers for developing countries where widespread internet availability isn't a given. In 2016, Endless made the OS available[2] for anyone to use, rather than only on its hardware.

Endless OS uses a read-only root file system managed by OSTree[3] and Flatpak[4]. Many of its applications are available offline, so Endless has everything you need to take full advantage of your computer.

Installing Endless OS

The full install of Endless OS is 16GB, but I opted for the minimal 2.26GB download[5]. I used Etcher[6] to create a bootable USB drive with the ISO, then I booted from USB using a spare laptop.

The install was very easy and straightforward. Endless easily found my Intel wireless card along with the other hardware on my three-year-old laptop. In no time, I was prompted to reboot and given the option of connecting my Google, Facebook, Microsoft, or ownCloud accounts, as well as choosing whether to use password protection for my account.


The default desktop includes links to Google Chrome, LibreOffice[7] applications, VLC[8], Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and other popular applications.

Clicking the More Apps link displays an app store with several hundred other applications, broken out by category, that you can install.

I discovered some old favorites among the 35 educational applications in the Learning

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