chrisw2 wrote:The various SD images, I see as as examples of ways raspbian can be setup and there should be no reason why you and like minded people should not produce a raspbian based SD image (edu-raspbian??, simple-raspbian??) with the educational/simple features you want to promote.
chrisw2, you are correct that the goal of the Raspbian repository, kernel and installer is to stay as close to Debian as possible, but with binaries that are optimized for the Raspberry Pi specific hardware. Hopefully our efforts to date have demonstrated this.
John and I have had a number of conversations over email and IRC and I believe we are of like mind that there is indeed the need for kid friendly RPi distribution that attempts to smooth over as many of the rough edges of Linux as possible. If such an image can be built from the Raspbian base, that would be very pleasing to me. In fact, I'll do what I can to facilitate such an image by making extra non-Debian packages such as MATE available for use. However, any such image will be layered over Raspbian rather than being seen as Raspbian itself so as not to confuse the original intent of Raspbian.
There is a good chance that once the Foundation is finished ironing out the kinks in their Debian Wheezy armel image (the one in beta now), they'll work on creating a Raspbian-based work-alike image that will look nearly identical, but of course have hardfloat and other RPi friendly optimizations. Since some future version of that image will be distributed by the Foundation and land in the hands of children, that is where lobbying for certain user-friendly features would reap the highest dividends. We can make images on our own for Raspbian that include a variety of features, but the reality is any such image will only ever have just a fraction of the mindshare any reference image created by the Foundation will have.
Personally, I really like MATE and I've been using it as my Raspberry Pi desktop since creating the image a week ago. Hopefully someone from the Foundation will try out the Pisces+MATE image I've created and also see it's possibilities. If it would help, I would be fine with helping to create armel versions of the MATE binaries as I know the Foundation is using Debian wheezy as the initial base of their reference image.