I infer from the article, specifically the phrase "tech gene," that he wants his child to have a computer so that he can learn how to use it / tinker / maybe even write a simple program. Use the computer for creative/technical purposes, not merely to consume online entertainment media (youtube / netflix / porn / etc...).
When my dad got our first computer (a 22 MHz 486SX /w a 1x CD-ROM drive), obviously we didn't have an internet connection. So I learned how to draw pictures for my parents with MS paint, how to program simple games in Microsoft Q-BASIC, how to write a story in MS Write, and generally how to accomplish different tasks with the computer on my own. I think computers have come a long way these days, but unfortunately things like modern web browsers, streaming video, and highly interactive user interfaces have obscured the value of just learning basic computer literacy (and yes, I include the ability to write a simple program or shell script part of basic literacy).
Therefore, I agree with jhigh, that loading some Linux flavor would be the best bet. Its user-friendly enough that loading new programs and games is trivial (therefore not frustrating), but still allows the user exposure to the more inner workings of an OS, via the shell, if one so chooses.