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New OLPC Laptop 1.5 Dual-Boots Sugar, Gnome Desktop

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the but-gnome-is-for-children dept.

Debian 81

griffjon writes "The new hardware release (you can read about the upgrade here) also comes with a dual-boot option. Start rejoicing now; it's not XP or Sugar (the native, education-centric OS) — it's Sugar or Gnome. And of course there are other homebrew distributions like Xtra Ordinary, built off of Debian."

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Chrome OS (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29531235)

The boot time on both seem a little slow however. Would be nice if they also build really minimalistic OS that supports just browsing - kind of like Chrome OS. Maybe it gets integrated in the future versions? Would make a good sense with OLPC.

Re:Chrome OS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29531291)

I bet a lot of OLPCs go to Africa. When the delivery dude gets to Africa, does he ever say "WOW! Look at all the niggers!!"

Re:Chrome OS (2, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 5 years ago | (#29531321)

It would be even nicer to see a minimalistic OS that supports basic internet connectivity, and also acts as a virtualbox container so that I can run something more robust inside an image

Re:Chrome OS (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29531615)

I don't think you realize how slow this computer is. Having used one (actually, I own one), I think it would choke on any kind of virtualization. It has enough trouble doing normal tasks in Sugar, let alone something "more robust".

Re:Chrome OS (1)

griffjon (14945) | about 5 years ago | (#29539419)

To be fair, the new hardware is a huge improvement - still not up to virtualization, but I don't think that's a reasonable task to expect out of a machine meant primarily to be rugged and cheap.

Also, if you haven't updated your software to the latest build, you're missing out on a lot of performance tweaks. You might also consider overclocking it to 500mhz - you can find detailed instructions on the OLPCNews forums.

Re:Chrome OS (0, Offtopic)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 5 years ago | (#29531805)

re your sig, the famous economist herbert simon once remarked, possibly sarcastically, that something that can't go on forever won't.
I agree that economists are little more then PR guys for whoever pays them, but that doesn't mean they are guilty of what your sig says

Re:Chrome OS (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 years ago | (#29534029)

What is true of ecpnomists is that if you lined them all up head-to-toe, they'd still point in different directions.

Re:Chrome OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29534775)

is this like president truman's remark, i wish i had a one armed economist, so he couldn't always say, on the other hand....

Re:Chrome OS (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | about 5 years ago | (#29532821)

Yes and it would be nicer if they included a minimal O/S that can cook me breakfast and give me a handjob. You do realize that the whole point of these machines is to be as stripped down and inexpensive as possible, as well as being simple enough for children. Pining for something more robust is wishing the machine to be something other than what it is intended to be.

Re:Chrome OS (1)

wall0159 (881759) | about 5 years ago | (#29532143)

...except that the OLPC is about learning and participatory culture -- not the passive consumption of media (there are already many devices for that!)

Re:Chrome OS (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 5 years ago | (#29532155)

NO!

Why the FUCK would I want some "Symbian" or "Windows Miniscule" or whatnot on a LAPTOP?

Bloody hell, EeePC runs NetBeans very nicely indeed.

Is there a better option? (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#29531279)

I'm really not complaining too much about Gnome; my wife finds it easy enough to navigate. However, it's still got its problems, and Sugar turned out to be a mess.

Re:Is there a better option? (2, Informative)

RoboRay (735839) | about 5 years ago | (#29532503)

I've been tinkering with the lightweight XFCE desktop on my XO and it seems to be a pretty good fit for the hardware. I'm still experimenting with various packages (using it as a learning experience, as I knew basically nothing about linux before starting this project) but I've got most things working. The only real snag seems to be unreliable connections to WPA-protected wireless networks. Several methods and WIFI managers are mentioned in the various wikis and blogs covering XFCE on the XO, but there seems to be no really good, reliable solution.

Luckily, I have several neighbors that don't bother to secure their networks and the XO doesn't really need to access my network shares. ;)

Re:Is there a better option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29542837)

The only real snag seems to be unreliable connections to WPA-protected wireless networks. Several methods and WIFI managers are mentioned in the various wikis and blogs covering XFCE on the XO, but there seems to be no really good, reliable solution.

I've been using teapot's Ubuntu Intrepid for XO [olpcnews.com] since January. It uses XFCE and handles WPA just fine; both my WPA2 PSK at home and the WPA Enterprise at campus are working perfectly.

Re:Is there a better option? (1)

RoboRay (735839) | about 5 years ago | (#29543185)

Yeah, there are some Ubuntu and other systems that work fine on the XO, but they require booting from USB or an SD card. I want to run the OS off the internal flash, as I swap SD cards depending on what data I need access to, and don't want a USB stick hanging off the side of the machine all the time.

XFCE (or another desktop) on the OLPC-provided Fedora is the only way I'm aware of to do that.

Re:Is there a better option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29536603)

I'm really not complaining too much about Gnome; my wife finds it easy enough to navigate. However, it's still got its problems, and Sugar turned out to be a mess.

Sugar is quite brilliant, not a mess. Sugar is a lot easier to use than Gnome, especially for the target audience. I think you are just projecting.

Re:Is there a better option? (1)

RoboRay (735839) | about 5 years ago | (#29599551)

Update: I've been fooling around with DebXO for the last couple of days. It is installable to the built-in 1GB flash or can be run from SD, and offers a variety of desktop choices. If you're looking for an alternative OS for the OLPC, this is worth trying.

I installed DebXO with XFCE to the internal flash, added Iceweasel and DOS-Box (for some old favorite games) and am loving it. The wireless networking works perfectly, unlike the crap I was suffering from using XFCE on the standard OLPC OS.

It is missing some functionally, but the essentials are there. Hopefully, development will continue and make this even better.

Re:Is there a better option? (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#29599793)

I'll have to give this a spin. Thanks for the heads up!

Why not OS X? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29531289)

OS X would have been a much better choice for this device. Putting Linux on it has pretty much killed the project.

Re:Why not OS X? (-1, Flamebait)

Smivs (1197859) | about 5 years ago | (#29531839)

Putting Linux on it has pretty much killed the project.

No, not putting Windoze on it has made it, shall we say, unpopular in some quarters.

How is that a "dual-boot" config? (4, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | about 5 years ago | (#29531295)

From TFA, it sounds like you just have a choice between desktop environments. . . like you can do in every other Linux distro . . . Not that dual-booting two separate OSes makes much sense (as a default shipping option, anyway).

Re:How is that a "dual-boot" config? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 5 years ago | (#29531583)

I sure hope they don't actually mean the "booting" part. If you have to reboot to switch GUI environments I'm very not impressed.

Re:How is that a "dual-boot" config? (2, Insightful)

WinterSolstice (223271) | about 5 years ago | (#29532301)

Agreed. Also, as per the GP - Why on earth would someone confuse either Sugar or Gnome with an OS?

Really people - get outside the GUI on occasion...

Re:How is that a "dual-boot" config? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 5 years ago | (#29532931)

Well, that one is understandable. I still hear someone say their OS is Microsoft Office on occasion.

Re:How is that a "dual-boot" config? (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | about 5 years ago | (#29533029)

Hopefully not the people posting to Slashdot!

Re:How is that a "dual-boot" config? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 years ago | (#29535495)

Their Office Suite?

Re:How is that a "dual-boot" config? (1)

Ben Hutchings (4651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623849)

I briefly played with one last week. It booted into GNOME, which had a desktop icon to start Sugar. There may well be a facility to do this the other way round.

Re:How is that a "dual-boot" config? (1)

anglophobe_0 (1383785) | about 5 years ago | (#29531765)

Seriously, either the poster or whoever's deciding to dual-boot it is making a mistake in my estimation.

Memory Image boot - why not (4, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | about 5 years ago | (#29531303)

The hardware is fixed. I don't see why boot can't be just load/uncompress an active image.

A backwards step (5, Insightful)

hande1 (1619561) | about 5 years ago | (#29531383)

All the innovation is slowly being peeled back. Look at the OLPC now and you see a stripped back, diluted netbook. The VIA C7-M architecture is about 4-5 years old. To say the core of this hardware is pushing the boundaries is laughable. Once upon a time the OLPC team would take a leap and risk their necks on an interesting HW choice - now they're tied to X86 so they can suckle off MS. I sincerely hope that V2 brings the design back to its low power roots by embracing ARM although the way Negroponte is shacking up with the Windows brigade does not look hopeful. Kids don't need 720p playback (The screen for one isn't suitable). Looking at the OLPC now just makes me sad, and a little angry that this revision is going to be lauded so much. My Dell Mini 10 is more innovative...

Re:A backwards step (1)

bwthomas (796211) | about 5 years ago | (#29531607)

Amen. Did anyone read the interview about how they went about the monitor design for the original OLPC? That alone was a testament to what good engineering with a goal can accomplish.

[ ... looks for link ... ]

pfft, can't find it. Look it up though, it's well worth it.

Re:A backwards step (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 5 years ago | (#29532785)

I was in awe about it. I had hopes for the ultimate field notebook finally being designed; netbook with crazy in voltage regulation, solar recharge capability, hand crank capability, minimal os almost no power use...The XO was crude but it had incredible potential. The mesh networking alone, if they could get adoption...insane!

If I had more time I'd fork off the project and work on this. Pricepoint $600 or so, a netbook intended for field work. Insane recharge capabilities, crazy networking, sun viewable screen, durable, super light (something the XO fails), etc.

I'd totally buy one. I'm looking forward to when we start seein ghigher end netbooks (perhaps when Apple or Thinkpad* comes out with one), where the focus is on quality and power in a small, light, durable package, rather than the cheapest computer possible.

*Lenovo does make netbooks under ideapad, but as anyone who has bought IBM knows, thinkpad and ideapad are a world apart in quality.

Alternative Viewpoint (3, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | about 5 years ago | (#29531693)

I believe the Negroponte's goal is to get computers into the hands of students in developing countries. Not to promote open source software. Now, I know from experience that open source software is significantly less expensive on a per seat basis, builds local skills and support, and offers flexibility you just can't get from other options. The problem is the customer doesn't. I've seen too many school board members and district technology heads married to Microsoft and Apple and whoever else with a marketing budget that walks through the door. All Negroponte is doing is adjusting to his customers to get the hardware through the door. Now I'd prefer he use his bully pulpit to drive the cost savings and flexibility open source provides, but they've chosen not to. The technology is easy, the politics are hard.

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (5, Insightful)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | about 5 years ago | (#29531861)

Now, I know from experience that open source software is significantly less expensive on a per seat basis, builds local skills and support, and offers flexibility you just can't get from other options.

That is not the main point.

The main point is that by using Free software, OLPC will get millions of children exposed to the idea that computers are tweakable -- that it is okay to look under the hood of your computer. By using proprietary software, OLPC will get millions of children exposed to the notion that computers are frozen, that you're allowed to look but not to touch.

The choice is political, not economic.

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (4, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | about 5 years ago | (#29532469)

proprietary software on such a learning tool keeps it a mystery and probably will keep them afraid to do even simple things for fear of it locking up or breaking and requiring someone else to reinstall the software. Then, it's poof, magically fixed by a reinstallation and the feeling that you shouldn't do whatever you did to "cause this" again.

LoB

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 years ago | (#29532899)

Seriously, installing a dedicated version of Linux is any easier than installing a dedicated version of Windows (or any other OS)? None of these should require any user interference on the OLPC, so what would be the difference to the end-user?

Sure, open source may be easier to maintain by it's developers. But out there in the field that doesn't make any difference.

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (2, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | about 5 years ago | (#29534537)

because the idea for the OLPC software was to have the "desktop" get out of the way ASAP and let the application/Activity software be the learning tool. They built it so that instead of a file manager an a dozen ways of finding or saving files they built a queue called a Journal. It's designed as a learning tool not to learn the OS but to learn what the Activities are designed to teach. This also goes along way toward simplifying much of the software too.

When you throw Windows on there you've got a half dozen ways just top find a file to open it and the same goes for ways to create and figure out where to save the files to. And on top of that you've got all the other software Microsoft thinks they should have on there which has nothing to do with learning how to learn. Touch any of those things when you're not supposed to and you've got a kid crying because his/her computer doesn't work the way he/she was shown it was supposed to work.

Back to the OLPC method and you'll also have kids becoming skilled at the simple get-out-of-the-way "desktop" as they've spent 3 or so years using it and the few who take to software development have a good chance of learning how to tweak and fix stuff. Simple things but it's all there for them and it's kept to a very task specific/oriented design.

FYI, Microsoft fears that any kind of success with a computer slightly resembling a regular computer is a threat to Windows and a threat to lose people to being locked into only knowing Windows. After all, when you saw Microsoft's example of XP on the OLPC, they NEVER showed any of the open source OLPC SUGAR Activities or any of the eToys. It was all about getting kids to learn the Windows desktop and all the junk which goes with that even when we are talking about children. Primary grade level school children. They would probably end up spending their entire first year with the device just learning MS Explorer, My Computer, My Documents, 'File-Save', 'Save-As' and all the "Do you really want to do XXXXX?" dialog boxes.

LoB

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 5 years ago | (#29536553)

The OLPC project is proving to be a very successful project but not necessarily in the way envisaged. It launched the netbook concept which in turn is evolving into smartbooks. Those smartbooks running FOSS of which the help of competitive pressure will drive lower prices and basically point them within reach of school children the world over, not just third world countries but first and second world as well.

Why, FOSS, because you are training a future work force and that work force should absolutely be trained on software that doesn't increase their foreign debt. It would be bloody stupid, to stick countries that can't afford it with billions of dollars per year in licence fees for closed source proprietary applications, operating systems and servers, I know corporate greed has absolutely no moral bounds but they doesn't stop us a individuals from imposing those moral bounds on those corporations.

Now coming from a first world country I would be just as critical of my government should they choose a solution that drives foreign debt, there is absolutely no point in establishing a digital education system that inevitably leads to tens of billions of dollars of foreign debt, you are not solving anything you are creating another problem. Ideology, 'NO', pure and simple economics, adopt FOSS in school, train a workforce in FOSS and, not only have you escaped all those pointless licence fees for fiften years but, you create a commercial environment that won't create a drag on the digital GDP you don't force retraining in order to save money and you guarantee free and open access to the stored data over the long term. I won't even touch being held to digital hostage by a single foreign corporation and any profit based decisions they choose to make regardless to the impact upon the consumer or those countries bound to their software.

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 5 years ago | (#29538463)

proprietary software on such a learning tool keeps it a mystery and probably will keep them afraid to do even simple things for fear of it locking up or breaking and requiring someone else to reinstall the software. Then, it's poof, magically fixed by a reinstallation and the feeling that you shouldn't do whatever you did to "cause this" again.

A lot of people, not a few of them in third world, know how to keep Windows boxes running for years without needing to keeping nuking them and reinstalling.

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 5 years ago | (#29544353)

so are you saying that they will start working for the schools to help support Windows on the children's devices? Or are you trying to show that some people know how to keep their Windows based computers running?

I know alot of people in this country who know how to fix windows and keep it running for a few years. But, I know more who don't and have to rely on someone else to help them. I've also seen many of them pay out about $250 each time to have Windows "fixed", others have just purchased new computer when theirs "got slow". A couple of times I was told that they were told their hard drive was bad and in atleast one of those cases, I verified this wasn't the case beforehand but the husband wanted to trust his "computer expert" instead of me. I told him he just needed to reinstall Windows.

The point is, on an embedded learning device like the OLPC was/is trying to be, getting a general purpose user interface, like Windows, out of the way is far better and using a more robust OS like Linux under it make far more sense and cents.

LoB

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (3, Insightful)

trybywrench (584843) | about 5 years ago | (#29531867)

if i had mod points i'd mod you up solely for your last sentence. In addition to the politics, never underestimate the logistics problems. I bet only 10% of the over all project is actually engineering and software.

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (5, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | about 5 years ago | (#29531903)

I believe the Negroponte's goal is to get computers into the hands of students in developing countries. Not to promote open source software.

One of the original goals/specifications was to have the entire platform be open source. This wasn't to save money. This was to allow those students to use the entire platform as a learning tool. They would be able to tinker with the guts if they wanted to. And they wouldn't be beholden to any particular company to roll out a new update/patch/localization/whatever.

Re:Alternative Viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29532699)

If their mission statement is to get laptops in the hands of kids in the third world, and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation/microsoft offered a donation of $1,000,000,000 conditional on making the switch: they would have been stuck in founders syndrome/liable to legal action by the investors(AKA: a $10 donation from microsoft immediately prior to the real offer) if they had gone the open source route and turned down the oppurtunity to make massive progress towards their mission statement.

Three Million Windows XO Laptops To Rural India (1)

westlake (615356) | about 5 years ago | (#29544759)

I believe the Negroponte's goal is to get computers into the hands of students in developing countries. Not to promote open source software. Now, I know from experience that open source software is significantly less expensive on a per seat basis... All Negroponte is doing is adjusting to his customers to get the hardware through the door. Now I'd prefer he use his bully pulpit to drive the cost savings and flexibility open source provides, but they've chosen not to. The technology is easy, the politics are hard.

The customer was the third world education minister - and he didn't like the product. Summary of Laptop Orders [wikipedia.org]

The demand for Windows and Office came from the bottom up.

A US-based non profit organization called One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is planning to distribute three million XO laptops, each costing Rupees 11000, among children entering schools by the end of 2009.

It has already distributed 1000 laptops in 20 schools in UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on an experimental basis.

Its ultimate mission is to ensure that all school children, aged between five and 12, are able to effectively engage with their own personal laptop.

Each XO PC comes with Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office pre-loaded, besides many other features.

Satish Jha, President and C.E.O, OLPC India, said the project is funded by a number of sponsor organizations, including AMD, Bright star Corporation, eBay, Google, Marvell, News Corporation, Microsoft, SES, Nortel Networks, and Red Hat.

Each company has donated two million dollars. Microsoft is contributing through its features that are fitted into the XOs

The OLPC has set up its India office in New Delhi.

US-based outfit to distribute three million laptops to poor Indian rural kids [oneindia.in] [Reuters July 10]

The largest single deployment of the the XO ever.

Ten times that of anything which came before - it triples the XO's installed base - and it is the first significant deployment of the XO in Asia.

These are hugely significant landmarks.

But not a word, not a breath, of the story seems to have penetrated Slashdot.

Re:A backwards step (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 years ago | (#29532835)

First thing in my mind was "Oh, they've upgraded the OLPC, wonder how much cheaper they made the hardware". Turns out they just made it more expensive and therefore less likely to be used for it's intended purpose.

Who of the intended audience requires dual-boot, and how many of them want to see a CLI? They need the the most goddamned user-friendly and non-technical interface you can think of, and they need to have it for half of what anybody here on Slashdot would find "dirt cheap".

Re:A backwards step (3, Informative)

schwaang (667808) | about 5 years ago | (#29533227)

I don't know about "backwards", the XO-1.5 is a just "harware refresh" of the XO-1, giving it more speed, more RAM, and more flash memory, while fixing some of the bugs. Nothing is rolled back, the original innovations (some of which have not yet been matched even by your Mini 10's generation of netbooks) are still there.

Meanwhile, aspects of XO-2's design (two hinged touchscreens) have been widely copied by MS's Courier and others for their next generations of netbooks/tablets.

For those interested in the hardware differences, here's the XO-1 motherboard [laptop.org] and the XO-1.5 motherboard [laptop.org] .

To summarize the differences from eyeballing the diagrams:
- CPU is upgraded from 400MHz AMD Geode to 1GHz Via C7.
- The corresponding AMD southbridge is replaced w/ Via VX855
- RAM is upgraded from 256MB DDR to 1GB DDR2
- flash is upgraded from 1GB soldered-on to 4GB microSD in a slot (i.e. replaceable, interesting!)
- WLAN is changed from a soldered-on Marvell part to a daughtercard (currently still a Marvell part IIRC).
- the Marvell CaFe chip is apparently gone. This provided NAND FLASH and SD interfaces and some camera functions?
- audio seems to be upgraded

Some stuff that's the same:
- The display controller (Hymax HX8837), that lets the display remain live with the processor suspended.
- The embedded controller (KB3700)
- external SD slot (though not controlled by CaFe anymore)

Not sure:
- battery and charging circuit
- other power supply design

Re:A backwards step (1)

hande1 (1619561) | about 5 years ago | (#29533909)

It's a massive backwards step in power consumption for one - and a muddled mess of user focus.

I don't understand how moving to an underpowered generic piss-poor central hardware framework does not constitute a step backwards.

Geode was a crime of necessity that fit the schema at the time. We've moved on, and the options WERE out there this time. If Geode was a crime, then C7-M is a travesty.

Re:A backwards step (1)

schwaang (667808) | about 5 years ago | (#29535645)

It's a massive backwards step in power consumption for one

Do we know that? The Via part implements frequency scaling, did the Geode? (I don't think so.) I'd like to see some numbers on power consumption of the XO-1 vs. XO-1.5 for similar usage patterns.

[Also, it's my understanding that hardware issues prevented OLPC from implementing the micro-sleep idea that would have something like doubled battery life. If this refresh fixes the hw issue and they implement it, that might pay off handsomely.]

- and a muddled mess of user focus.

Sorry, I just don't know what that means in rational terms.

From what you've said I suspect that you're peaved that they stuck with x86 because you think it's all about supporting Microsoft and sacrificing the efficiency they could have gotten with ARM. To whatever extent that maintaining x86 compatibility is a sacrifice (quantify, please?), it has to be weighed against what Negroponte said about sales not happening because countries were hesitant to buy something that could not at least in theory run Windows.

But for all I know, they made this choice because it's a mass-produced (i.e. inexpensive) part continuing to ride Moore's Law and that isn't EOL like Geode, and has the horsepower to run the software that frankly was never optimized well for the Geode.

Either way, it's a sideways move at worst, I don't understand this weeping and gnashing of teeth over making a product that will be more effective at helping kids learn.

Re:A backwards step (1)

Ben Hutchings (4651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623869)

The flash change is in some ways a downgrade, because wear-leveling is now done by firmware in the flash controller rather than in the filesystem (which was JFFS2). Although JFFS2 probably doesn't scale to 4GB, ubifs might.

Re:A backwards step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29536653)

All the innovation is slowly being peeled back. Look at the OLPC now and you see a stripped back, diluted netbook.

The VIA C7-M architecture is about 4-5 years old. To say the core of this hardware is pushing the boundaries is laughable. Once upon a time the OLPC team would take a leap and risk their necks on an interesting HW choice - now they're tied to X86 so they can suckle off MS.

I sincerely hope that V2 brings the design back to its low power roots by embracing ARM although the way Negroponte is shacking up with the Windows brigade does not look hopeful.

Kids don't need 720p playback (The screen for one isn't suitable).

Looking at the OLPC now just makes me sad, and a little angry that this revision is going to be lauded so much. My Dell Mini 10 is more innovative...

Why was this drivel marked insightful?
Negroponte is not shacking up with the Windows brigade. You have been mis-infomed by MS and its minions. The XO 1.5 is an interim measure before the XO 2 which is supposed to be ARM based. Suitable ARM SOCs are coming on the market and need to be assessed before hardware design of the XO 2 can be completed.

And what is this nonsense about the screen.
Without the XO your Dell Mini would not exist. OLPC created the market. Your Dell Mini is no where as durable as an XO.

Re:A backwards step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29538021)

OLPC is not supposed to be cutting-edge, it's supposed to be cheap.

Re:A backwards step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29543839)

OLP what? Oh, I see... I'm sorry, I think that boat has sailed. Maybe next time.

WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29531455)

Windows 7 has been re-engineered for netbooks, I got it to run on my 486 DX II no problem. I guess the education community decided to discriminate Microsoft after they give out so much in cheap software (i.e. $19 for EIGHT windows 7 serial keys via MSDNAA)

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29531873)

No idea why. I got it to run on a 8088 netbook with 4MB RAM and 1.2 Windows experience rating

BTW to get MSDNAA you need to go through ACM.org or IEEE.org and get a student account.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

RichMan (8097) | about 5 years ago | (#29533583)

You obviously missed the part about "being able to tinker with everything".
The windows 7 source code is not available to be tinkered with.

So windows 7 and really any proprietary software does not meet the basic mission requirements.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | about 5 years ago | (#29533899)

You can tinker with software without having access to the source. Game modders are a fine example...

Highly customizable software like Apache is software that most people won't ever compile themselves.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

Tweenk (1274968) | about 5 years ago | (#29534033)

It is not about being able to customize (like game mods), it is about being able to learn. If you don't have source code, you have no real way of learning how software works.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | about 5 years ago | (#29535531)

Sure you do. You just can't learn how real programmers made it.

But even before I learned how to code stuff, I could spot game bugs and guess what the reason was for their existence.

Same for UI glitches. And for older games, AI glitches.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

Vexorian (959249) | about 5 years ago | (#29535635)

Mein gott... No, even the most advanced modding = basically just working around tons of black boxes. OLPC's vision = constructivism through completely transparent code. You can't even compare them. Sorry. For education, modding would be just a joke in comparison to what the OLPC is looking for.

Though maybe modding is a better way to "train" kids rather than making them learn. Modding will train them for a world in which real programming, real freedom and real rule-setting is made by some faceless council of more 'special people', and you just get the black box version in which you have to comply with everything they say while trying to work around everything. At the end of the day you truly have no idea how things work, you just know that if you do X , Y happens. You are given the impression you can express yourself, but you actually can't do it beyond the closed canvas imposed by the random council... You are free to do as much as you stay inside the box. Great training.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | about 5 years ago | (#29536035)

I'm thinking back to when I played Kotor. The virtual memory usage would rise into the gigabytes, and then it'd crash.

I determined it was a memory leak caused from loading saved games. I theorized that it wasn't freeing resources properly on load. How did I do it? By watching VRAM usage in the task manager.

I posted it on the forums, and never got a response - but at least I notified them of a bug, and pinpointed it pretty accurately. You could say that having access to the source would be a boon here, but the truth is a novice non-coder isn't going to be able to fix it even with the source, and FOSS and proprietary software are just as bad at not fixing user reported bugs.

That leads me to conclude that if I had had access to the source code, it wouldn't have made any difference - except perhaps I would have wasted time looking into it. Source code is great for learning programming, but there's a lot of basics you have to understand first, before you can make sense of stuff like that.

I respect the goals of the OLPC project, but I'm not convinced fully 100% open source is necessary for children to learn computers.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 5 years ago | (#29538567)

I determined it was a memory leak caused from loading saved games. I theorized that it wasn't freeing resources properly on load. How did I do it? By watching VRAM usage in the task manager.

I posted it on the forums, and never got a response - but at least I notified them of a bug, and pinpointed it pretty accurately. You could say that having access to the source would be a boon here, but the truth is a novice non-coder isn't going to be able to fix it even with the source, and FOSS and proprietary software are just as bad at not fixing user reported bugs.

Had Kotor been open source, you wouldn't have been at the mercy of the developers for fixing a bug. Instead, anyone could have ran with it, and actually published what the problem was and what he did to fix it. I reckon that even for you, as a non-coder, that would have been a far more interesting experience than the one you just described. Heck, you might even have opened up the source file for just a peek. malloc(), free(), sizeof() etc really aren't all that complicated once you grasp the concept of what they actually do in the background.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29548639)

Not everyone needs to be a hacker to improve the OLPC. Only a few bright tinkerers are really needed to provide the really complex work and everyone will benefit. Such work would not be feasible without the software being FOSS

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29536855)

Sure you do. You just can't learn how real programmers made it.

But even before I learned how to code stuff, I could spot game bugs and guess what the reason was for their existence.

Same for UI glitches. And for older games, AI glitches.

Are you demonstrating that you are incapable of learning?

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

Vexorian (959249) | about 5 years ago | (#29535597)

Way to miss the point.

Anyway, windows 7 = "almost" as fast as XP, XP = not fast enough for netbooks and definitely not the OLPC. Also have to consider the real cost of windows is, MS ULTRA CHEAP OMG WINDOWZ LIZENZES are actually meant to be paid for real later...

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | about 5 years ago | (#29536157)

Way to miss the point.

Please clarify the point, then.

Anyway, windows 7 = "almost" as fast as XP

In UI responsiveness, perhaps - assuming adequate specs to run both operating systems. I have a feeling Win7 will be horribly slow if you actually got it to run on a P3 with 256MB of RAM.

XP = not fast enough for netbooks and definitely not the OLPC

OLPC 1.5 has a 1.0ghz C7-M, I thought? That's quite a bit beefier than the laptops XP originally shipped on. And if I read the specs correctly, 1GB of RAM too?

XP is faster than Ubuntu, and people try to run that on their netbooks. Seems to me both are decently suited to the task. You could also strip XP down with a tool like nLite [nliteos.com] . I did that for a relative that had an old Thinkpad 390e [thinkwiki.org] , which turned it into a speed demon. Booted in about 30-35 seconds, started Firefox 2 in about 12, and OpenOffice 2.x in ~15. Warm starts were only a second or two. Hibernation only took ~20 seconds from power-on to desktop.

To compare, I have Ubuntu installed on a 1.2ghz Via Eden computer, and it's nowhere near that fast. Booting takes a long time, and OpenOffice takes forever to start up. Firefox is faster, at just 8 seconds, but Firefox is also newer, so that's not a fully valid comparison. Memory usage at boot is 3x higher, at just over 130MB.

However, I'm not a linux guru, and I haven't finished tweaking Ubuntu yet. To give it a fair shake, I need to be able to claim equal expertise at Ubuntu modding as I have with XP modding.

Also have to consider the real cost of windows is, MS ULTRA CHEAP OMG WINDOWZ LIZENZES are actually meant to be paid for real later...

Windows isn't suitable for the OLPC. Microsoft has very corporate motivations rather than charitable ones. The main reason it isn't suitable isn't cost, but rather how quickly they drop support.

Microsoft is unwilling to customize XP for such a device, because they'd have to support it - and yet they want XP on it, because it's great marketing.

As far as I'm concerned the OLPC project should stay the hell away from Microsoft - but XP still makes a fine choice for netbooks, especially for someone willing to dig in and mod it a bit. :)

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? - source code not available (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29536961)

Bikehelmet I call you out as an MS shill no way is XP faster than a linux distro. I work on a daily basis with multiple OS and MS products are the slowest of the bunch.

Re:WHY NOT WINDOWS 7? (2, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | about 5 years ago | (#29534785)

Windows 7 isn't a good educational platform, it's a proprietary platform. It's a fine platform to run other software on, even open software, but it fails when you want to learn more, or change something, or fix something and it's fundamentally inappropriate for specifically that reason.

It's also yet another Microsoft misstep down that long and windy road towards a DRM nirvana which is a sort of magnification of the above mentioned problems but with whole slew of new rights limiting issues which only further marginalizes the end user from both their data and environment. By failing to advocate for the rights of their customers they put their own demise into play. Tick-tock.

It's all about the power of 2 (2, Informative)

0x4a6f6e43 (837256) | about 5 years ago | (#29531717)

The OLPC needs to cost half as much, run twice as fast, with twice the memory. Then it will meet the expectations they made for it two years ago. I know. I own one.

Re:It's all about the power of 2 (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29532769)

I think it's called the Acer Aspire One D250.

Then again: the acer wouldn't exist if the OLPC hadn't lit a fire under the ass of the industry.

Re:It's all about the power of 2 (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | about 5 years ago | (#29533989)

There's an EEE that costs $180 CAD. It comes on sale every few weeks at NCIX.com. I think it's one of the older Celeron/8GB-Flash versions.

Still, for a cheap email computer, not bad. I agree that OLPC has a ways to go, but I would take a C7 over a Celeron.

Merge the OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29531755)

I'd run an OS called SugarGnome any day just so I could brag at parties.

Re:Merge the OS's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29532607)

You must go to some shit parties.

Xtra Ordinary is not free (1)

kriston (7886) | about 5 years ago | (#29532395)

Xtra Ordinary is not free. The author wants to make money from it. You can buy a flash card of the release or mail him a flash card for a reduced price. I have asked the author to provide a downloadable image but the request was refused. This can only mean one thing.

Re:Xtra Ordinary is not free (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 years ago | (#29532923)

This can only mean one thing.

Which is...?

Seems perfectly fine to me, as long as he's making the source available to his paying customers.

Re:Xtra Ordinary is not free (1)

timothy (36799) | about 5 years ago | (#29534327)

Yep. Selling software (as RMS has pointed out many times) is not antithetical to Free software of the FSF variety; it's one way the FSF makes money! As you say, unless the source is denied the paying customers (and it's not under some separate license more restrictive on this front than, say, the GPL), there's no contradiction.

(As the owner of an XO with a borked OS, I do *wish* this was otherwise available as a straight download, though.)

timothy

Re:Xtra Ordinary is not free (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 5 years ago | (#29538623)

He also can't stop one of his paying customers reselling the code and undercutting him.

You3 FAIL 1t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29533151)

Of BSD/GOS. A [goat.cx]

!Beets (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 years ago | (#29534123)

This subject-line joke is solely topical and will lose its meaning in a week or less.

Debian??? (1)

Simian Man (1472911) | about 5 years ago | (#29536059)

Why does this article have a Debian graphic? Sugar OS is based off Fedora and Xtra Ordinary is a totally separate project.

give credit to debxo (1)

echion (219637) | about 5 years ago | (#29537549)

It's a shame the work of the OLPC kernel developers / volunteers who made the Xtra Ordinary distro possible don't get any credit. The "debxo" distribution http://wiki.laptop.org/go/DebXO [laptop.org] has been going for a long time and has done all the hard work (i.e., XO-1-specific work) of getting debian to work on the XO-1.

Neither news nor upgrade (1)

nani popoki (594111) | about 5 years ago | (#29565501)

The XO-1.5 is not an upgrade; it's a new model. For all you XO-1.0 owners, you can go back to sleep now.

And the link is to an article dated September 8th. I'm sure most OLPC-watchers have seen it already. (I know I did. And said "ho hum, it won't apply to my XO-1".)

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