AIMS Desktop

Announcing AIMS Desktop 2017.1

The AIMS Desktop team is proud to announce AIMS Desktop 2017.1. This release is based on Debian 9, and through some careful planning, we’re releasing it on the same day as the official Debian 9 release on Saturday, 17 June 2017.

Students testing release candidate Students testing the release candidate at AIMS South Africa

To see what’s new and for a list of known issues, see the release announcement.

This site contains the download links, installation guide and other resources for AIMS Desktop. We plan to continually expand it.

Welcome to AIMS Desktop

AIMS Desktop Picture

AIMS Desktop is a collection of software that allows you to do mathematics and science on your computer easily and efficiently. You need no exising software on your computer, AIMS Desktop installs an entire operating system that you can install standalone, or dual boot with Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS.

It is maintained by AIMS (The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences), a pan-African network of centres of excellence enabling Africa’s talented students to become innovators driving the continent’s scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency.

AIMS Desktop is free for anyone to use for educational, non-profit or commercial purposes. (See: Software Licences for more information)

Refer to the getting started guide for instructions how to get AIMS Desktop up and running.


The AIMS Desktop project is maintained by AIMS South Africa and contributors.

Meet the team.

Photo of Jan

Jan Groenewald

Jan is the IT Manager at AIMS South Africa and have worked on various forms of AIMS Desktop since 2003. He conducted the first deployment of desktops at AIMS using Debian Sarge to Sagemath upstream packaging. Jan maintains AIMS meta-packages and focusses on science software and software used for academic purposes in the system.

Photo of Jonathan

Jonathan Carter

Jonathan works part time at AIMS South Africa and maintains the PPA infrastructure, build scripts, installer packages, this site and settings packages included in AIMS Desktop. Jonathan is currently a Debian Maintainer in the Debian project.

Photo of Kyle

Kyle Robertze

Kyle did an internship at AIMS and have worked on extensions to improve desktop usability, installer improvements and documentation. He’s also a Debian contributor and maintains packages in the Debian archive.

External projects

AIMS Desktop is built on the shoulders of giants. Here are only some of the projects that it is built on:

  • Debian project - A large association of developers who build Debian, a general-purpose operating system environment made up of a large collection of free software.
  • Linux Kernel - The heart of the system that handles all hardware and drivers.
  • Calamares - An independent graphical installer framework.
  • GNOME Desktop Environment - The default desktop environment we ship with AIMS Desktop.
  • Jupyter Notebook - A web application that allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations, and explanatory text.
  • Python - A powerful programming language that’s easy to learn, many programs shipped with AIMS Desktop is written in Python.
  • Sagemath - Mathematics software that builds on many existing projects including NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib, Sympy, Maxima, GAP, FLINT and R.
  • GNU Octave - A (mostly Matlab Ⓡ compatible) high-level language, primarily intended for numerical computations.
  • Tex studio
  • Firefox - A free web browser that aims to protect you on-line.