Try the OLPC ($100 laptop)
Many thanks to Joel for showing the Games Programming Cluster the OLPC (one Laptop Per Child), also called the XO or the $100 laptop.
The Cluster has been using using game programming to engage children in relevant and authentic learning, it was interested to see Etoys, the programming environment that will ship with the OLPC.
You can try the OLPC software at home. Just go to http://wiki.laptop.org/go/LiveCd and follow the instructions to download a PC bootable CD image:
Trying out the Sugar environment is as simple as 1, 2, 3!
Step 1Download olpc-redhat-stream-sdk-livecd.iso
Step 2Burn the iso image to a blank CD
Step 3Pop CD into your machine and boot.The first cold boot of the CD fails for me but a second warm boot is successful. After filling in your name and selecting "your" colour scheme you should see this:
That's you in the centre of the screen. There is a border, at the bottom are the applications or activities you can launch, at the top are the buttons to show your wireless mesh network, the single dot button shows you and your activities.
I pressed the button at the bottom to launch the Etoys programming environment activity
You can get the screen border back by moving the mouse to the screen corner:
Pressing the single dot button in the top border or pressing F3 shows you and the activities (applications) you have running. (There's probably a doc at http://wiki.laptop.org somewhere that shows the PC keyboard mapping but meanwhile see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Keyboard_Artwork_Library for the OLPC keyboard)
You are at the centre of the screen and in the circle around you are the activities open, in this case just one, Etoys. The selected activity has a drop down menu at the top of the screen that you can use to close an activity. Click on the Etoys activity in the surrounding circle to return to it.
See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sugar_Instructions for more.
PS Bill suggests running on VirtualBox but that looks harder to me.