I noticed a lot of Red Hat/Fedora books that looked useful on the shelves in Indonesian bookstores when I was there doing tsunami related work last year. I think both OSes would be hard to teach to people who had never been allowed to use a computer before, but I think that linux will be useful in teaching more fundamantal internet skills - creating websites, doing e-mail with text-based MUAs like PINE, using shell accounts.
I was lucky to get provisioned with one of the laptops that IBM gave away after the tsunami, and was able to write up project proposals that got funded and work with images and create websites about the project I started, and keep my e-mail inboxes from always being overquota, but I was a little bothered seeing many of those useful tools used for entertainment in the midst of a tricky disaster recovery situation. Indonesian Red Cross volunteers used a neat satellite based remote site in Teunom mostly for viewing porn, and it was not maintained and usable for random people who showed up (like me) that often had critical information about the situation in sorrounding districts. IBM distributed laptops that were useless witout downloading a lot of free software, so having time and access to download OpenOffice and Adobe Reader was critical.
I guess I see these laptops mostly as being useful in humanitarian emergencies, because that is my experience, but I cannot imagine growing up in that grinding poverty, with the occasional flash website to view for my edification.