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OLPC Operating System Available to Download

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the make-your-own-one-laptop dept.

Operating Systems 65

ThePopeLayton writes "Engadget is reporting that the operating system made specifically for the OLPC project is now available for download. 'Apparently, the Linux-based Sugar OS from the One Laptop Per Child project is now available via a bootable LiveCD ISO, and according to user reports, works quite well aside from the lack of WiFi capability on a certain MacBook.'"

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cool (0)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18680829)

Yeah cool if you are into pretending you are from developing third world countries and all that. All kidding aside, I wonder how lightweight it really is, and this should give a good opprotunity to test the security of this thing before it goes over seas, or wherever they plan on deploying these.

Re:cool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18680911)

Lol second post!

Re:cool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18680963)

Check timestamps - you aren't second post

Re:cool (5, Insightful)

Mabonus (185893) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681369)

Well, the entire OS is designed for kids to be able to learn and explore on, so it shouldn't be hard for any geek to find something to have fun with on it.

As far as the security, please please break it and tell them what's up. I went to a talk by the project lead recently, and the impression I got is that they could really use more eyes on the project, especially on security. Once you distribute millions of an identical OS to people with low computer literacy in an environment where they may not have access to the latest patches the potential for mischief goes through the roof, so it's very important that everyone goes over the security BEFORE it goes into production. break it!

Re:cool (0)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685037)

I didn't talk to them on security, but I gave them some feedback on educational software. Ok, a lot. Ok, ok, one of my usual lengthy, drawn-out talks. Enough, already! :) Also told them what I thought of what seemed like a sharp turn towards competitive gaming on their wiki - it's hard for them to attack reward/punishment schemes and promote them at the same time, and competition in the form they were looking at is nothing more than a reward/punishment scheme.

For some reason, I rather suspect they'll politely ignore me or tell me to go jump in a lake. I seem to have that effect on people. Except on Slashdot, where the more outrageous I am, the higher I get modded. Not sure if that's because Slashdot geeks understand that quality thinking requires critical thinking, or whether you're all just more tolerant of a complete nut.

Re:cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18692263)

Except on Slashdot, where the more outrageous I am, the higher I get modded. Not sure if that's because Slashdot geeks understand that quality thinking requires critical thinking, or whether you're all just more tolerant of a complete nut.
Nah, it's just that when a mod has taken a sufficient quantity of crack, anyone with a 4-digit UID is guaranteed +5. You could post GNAA trolls and still get modded up.

Re:cool (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684989)

It's Linux, using LinuxBIOS to store the kernel in flash, so in theory you could run the basic system on 2 meg of RAM and a GUI within 4, and don't need filesystem space to boot from. The Linux minimum requirements haven't really changed in over a decade and I don't see them changing now. Ok, sure, they cut it down a bit and called it something else, but that's no different from rolling your own kernel with the useless stuff turned off on the compile flags. Don't get caught up in the marketspeak. It's a patched Linux kernel with a few basic apps as far as any requirements are concerned.

(To a user it may be different, but that's the user's problem. From an engineering perspective, a rose by any other name is still a rose. It is to an English major, too, if they study Shakespere.)

OLPC Security (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18691191)

The starting point for info on OLPC security is the Bitfrost [laptop.org] specification. I've only skimmed it, myself, and don't have any particular comment except that it looks interesting.

Vista (5, Funny)

Taimat (944976) | more than 7 years ago | (#18680859)

Yeah! Another choice for me to choose what I going to replace vista with!

Twofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18680869)

http://goat.cx [massiveurl.com]

Re:Twofo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18680979)

OK, I didn't click the link. But massiveurl.com is a pretty funny idea.

You bastard! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18681089)

I was hoping that was a link to goat.cx so I could make a drole comment about 'the reciever' (you know, the geezer with a massive arsehole) having 'recieved' an OLPC laptop up the wrongun.

But nooooo, you had to link to some massiveurl crap that doesn't even work. What an idiot, you can't even spam without buggering it up. Get it right next time sucka!

Re:You bastard! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18685383)

"drole" -> "droll"
"reciever" -> "receiver"
"recieved" -> "received" (but at least you're consistent)

Finally, low-end distro? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18680995)

Would that thing work well on an old ThinkPad 760XL? That thing only has a Pentium MMM 166MHz, 64MB RAM and 4GB of storage...

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681131)

(always preview before posting.... always preview before posting...)

I meant Pentium MMX, not Pentium MMM.

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (4, Funny)

Doctor-Optimal (975263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681547)

MMM > MMX The rounding error claims one more victim...

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690639)

<homer> Mmmmmmmmmmm Pentium </homer>

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (0, Troll)

meme_police (645420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681215)

Who cares if OLPC will run on it when OpenBSD will run fine on it?

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18681455)

same time anything else in OpenBSD happens: when Theo is goddamn good and ready, and then someone else writes it.

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (5, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681891)

Wow. Funny. Insightful. Troll. All in one.

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18684939)

Apparently, he does.

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681933)

Please drop me an email regarding that 760XL. I loved that model...

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (1)

DarkMantle (784415) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685183)

Well, considering the OLPC specs [laptop.org] it will run on a AMD Geode 433MHz processor, it MIGHT run ok on a 166.

Would be worth a try. Especially with the live CD, no time wasted installing.

It's worth noting the Geode processor was designed for pocket PC type use. So the 433MHz is also powering graphics.

Re:Finally, low-end distro? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18717399)

If you need an OS, Damn Small Linux is intended for such hardware. The forums have helpful folks should you encounter problems.

http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ [damnsmalllinux.org]

Wgetting right now... (3, Interesting)

dbitch (553938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18680997)

I actually want to try this. I'm interested in the OLPC project and I hope they release a laptop in the US for sale, because I'd buy one in an instant. It's cheap, lightweight, and I don't demand much from a computer, so the low performance isn't an issue with me.

Re:Wgetting right now... (1)

Monsuco (998964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684885)

I actually want to try this. I'm interested in the OLPC project and I hope they release a laptop in the US for sale, because I'd buy one in an instant. It's cheap, lightweight, and I don't demand much from a computer, so the low performance isn't an issue with me.
I don't think they will sell em commercially. Lots of people do want them to sell em for $200-$300 in 1st world nations so that they can use the funding to provide a few free laptops to children.

I can think of a few uses my school might have for an OLPC laptop. I certainly could see the benefit to buying them and using them when computer labs fill up. No reason only 3rd world countries should have OLPC laptops, schools in modern nations could use them too.

Re:Wgetting right now... (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18688253)

Hopefully they would make the price a bit more expensive, so that when you bought one in the US, the surplus went to funding the OLPC in other countries. (Or at least gave you that option).

But I don't think this laptop would really be the most productive environment for a working adult. It's designed for kids and it seeps this design in every aspect.

Re:Wgetting right now... (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18700539)

They don't seel it commercially in order to reduce the black market effect (stealing from children and selling to eBay).

The Sugar UI (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18681029)

I think I also saw a vmware image of the OLPC OS floating around a while back. But anyway, for those of you who haven't had a chance to explore the Sugar [laptop.org] UI, it's a pretty different model [laptop.org] that totally shitcans the "desktop" model for more of a community model, where one performs "activities" rather than run "applications". Worth taking a look at just to see another approach to how computers can be used from a user experience perspective.

Just like Microsoft BOB! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18681675)

Not to sound like a troll, but "activity" vs "application" has raged for years.

The problem with the "activity" metaphor is that it's restrictive: you can perform the activitites we've thought of in advance and presented to you. People don't use computers that way, even first-timers or little kids. And the UI programmers never really put together a comprehensive list of activities. No matter how much beta testing, they always leave something out.

Computer UIs and tool sets are the original mashups--I pull out and use tools in different combinations to get tasks done that I think up on the spot. The "real life" metaphor works this way. My kitchen isn't a set of tasks, it's a set of tools. Ditto my closet, my garage, etc.

People get frustrated with the "activity" metaphor quickly. It's not even a useful introductory tool because it wears thin too fast.

Sugar looks cool. But like Bob or the Harmony Remote control's interface, it looks like what a computer scientist thinks looks good to a simpleton user. Nobody ever asks the computer scientist if he thinks he'd be a better computer scientist today if he'd started out on something like that.

Re:Just like Microsoft BOB! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18683173)

And the UI programmers never really put together a comprehensive list of activities. No matter how much beta testing, they always leave something out.
That's not as much of a problem with the OLPC. One of the activities is the Develop activity, which lets you make new activities that do whatever you want.

There's not much difference between "activities" and traditional "applications" here: Sugar activities get full control of the screen and they are the "thing" that gets shared between users in the multi-user environment. Otherwise, it's just a word choice to get the developers to concentrate more on what the user is doing than what they are doing it with.

Activities are fixable. (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684953)

Two ways of fixing them - the pipeline metaphor of Unix and the object metaphor of OO programming.

In the case of pipelines, an activity is established as a flow of data between things - applications, devices, who cares? You can set up whatever pipelines you like and then your activity is triggered by dropping the initial data into the initial pipeline. Very simple. Anyone familiar with Jackson Structured Diagrams or a flowchart could put together as many activities as they liked without working up a sweat. It becomes nothing more than shell scripting with a GUI shell, and what one of us couldn't write whatever app they wanted in a shell script? Many probably have.

In the OO concept, you create activities by linking the applications as objects. Basically the same idea as pipelines and it's still shell scripting, the difference is that pipelines are isomorphic and isolated, whereas objects are polymorphic and inherited.

It would take most coders maybe a day to write a full-blown "shell" environment using one of these two approaches that would preserve the activity metaphor but give you absolute, total freedom.

Re:Activities are fixable. (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 7 years ago | (#18686781)

Oh, really? Then maybe you could point to a couple of examples of good activity-oriented pipeline/OO shells?
Or was that an ironic and handwavy SMOP?

Activity in the OLPC Context (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18695405)

The problem with the "activity" metaphor is that it's restrictive: you can perform the activitites we've thought of in advance and presented to you.


I don't know much about the "activity" metaphor outside of the context of OLPC, but the OLPC idea of an Activity isn't restricted in that way.

It is better viewed as an alternative to the more traditional application/document model as far as the relation between a running instance of a program and the associated data; in the activity model of the OLPC they are more tightly bound. But that misses quite a bit too, perhaps the best thing is to read the OLPC Human Interface Guidelines [laptop.org] , which elaborates on the OLPC concept of Activities, and a lot of the context surrounding it.

Very nice. Need supported hardware list (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681111)

Is there a supported hardware list? On what hardware does WiFi work?

Re:Very nice. Need supported hardware list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18684179)

==LIST BEGINS==

Supported hardware: OLPC

Alternate supported hardware: QEMU

==LIST ENDS==

Saw this floating around pirate bay months before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18681203)

Its intresting to be sure, but I rather pick up the hardware and play with it than mess with a limited version of linux.

OLPC Distro (4, Interesting)

Nova1313 (630547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681339)

Another OLPC distro is also available from the makers of the pepperpad. You can find it at pepper.com. They claim it may even be quicker then the perl based interface on the official OLPC desktop.

Re:OLPC Distro (4, Informative)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18681631)

You mean, Python based official OLPC desktop.

Re:OLPC Distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18681917)

You mean, Python based official OLPC laptop. : p

Re:OLPC Distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18682245)

yeah, the "One Laptop Per Child" laptop.

Re:OLPC Distro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18682603)

He means, Python and definitely not Perl as GP stated.

Re:OLPC Distro (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685347)

No, I meant "desktop" as in "KDE - K Desktop Environment", or the GNOME Desktop. In the case of OLPC, Sugar is the "desktop", and it's written in Python. But you also have the firmware (that was coded in Forth), the Linux kernel, the GNU tools, the X server, all written in a mix of languages.

Re:OLPC Distro (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18682959)

You mean, Python based official OLPC desktop.

Spoil-sport. The "it's line noise" / "get your head out of your ass" fight was going to be good for at least 67 more comments.

Re:OLPC Distro (1)

Nova1313 (630547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689263)

yes. My bad. Python based desktop.

Heads Up (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18681833)

If you're going to download it, get the latest version instead.

The lazy 'article' is just a link to an already out-of-date Endgadget post. Thank ThePopeLayton and Zonk for schilling instead of informing, and then climb the dirtree to find the latest.

http://olpc.download.redhat.com/olpc/streams/sdk/ [redhat.com]

see also
http://olpc.download.redhat.com/olpc/ [redhat.com]

Re:Heads Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687555)

i, too, have misread engadget until now.

Re:Heads Up (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 7 years ago | (#18689851)

Please seed the torrent on thepiratebay.org as there are currently only 2 seeds. http://thepiratebay.org/tor/3661078/OLPC_Stream_SD K_LiveCD [thepiratebay.org]

MOD UP - available site torrent link (1)

Kalak (260968) | more than 7 years ago | (#18695303)

thanks for finding this. I hadn't though to look at the pirate bay

Re:MOD UP - available site torrent link (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 7 years ago | (#18695351)

no problem...I'm running 3 seeds, one pushing about 400 Kb/sec and the other about 200 Kb/sec as well as my cable modem pushing 30 Kb/sec. There aren't too many people using this torrent yet, so I'll run it as long as I can, or until the network admins start getting on my case.

Why link to a spam blog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18684107)

A link to a spam blog, with a link to digg? Come on, can you get any lower than this? Why not just link Directly to the actual information? [redhat.com] . See how easy that was? Oh wait, I didn't have a million banner ads.

OS too restrictive (1)

dheera (1003686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18684491)

The browser lacks an address bar!!! Why would anyone want this OS? If I had an OLPC in a third-world country I'd just download xubuntu and use it. I'm sure full Epiphany or Opera will run on it just fine. But the built-in multitasking just sucks and there's no reason a child should be restricted in features beyond that provided by a regular OS. They should learn to use a typical OS right from the start so they can accomplish real work with the capable computers that they have. It should be made easy for them to learn Perl or C++ and run 5 copies of xterm alongside 2 different browsers for development. Debian+Fluxbox runs great and fast on a 90mhz PC, full Opera works fine on a 300mhz, so I'm sure a full-blown OS will run fine on the $100 laptop.

Re:OS too restrictive (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18684757)

You are restricted by ram and disk space. Full blown, or what I like to call legacy OS's do work but on a small screen just provide clutter. Sugar is highly optimized to the hardware. There are features you will not get with a standard distribution. People are used to being in boxes, which is the extent of critisim I have seen on the Sugar interface. Most people have not tries it which is obious in your post. The web browser does have location bar. It also doubles as the title bar. If you enter the location text entry you will see the url and can type in any url you wish. You can also just type in a search term. There is no reason to expose the url to those who just want to find the information they are looking for. It is an example of why hard core techies should not design user interfaces. They tend to make it more complicated than it needs to be and expose implementation details.

--
J5

Re:OS too restrictive (1)

dheera (1003686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18685009)

is the screen that cramped that they could not fit both? surely the RAM and disk space limits don't prevent having just an address bar separate from the title bar... ? i mean, come on, there's a solid reason to have both title bar and address bar. in particular, to spot phishing. yes, kids should learn that at some point in their schooling. and the OLPC laptops, imho, should be designed in a way that both kids and adults can enjoy and use them efficiently. there is no reason you can't use the $100 laptop to manage a bank account and send serious e-mails later in life. why can't parents (who can't afford laptops of their own) use their childrens' $100 laptops to conduct serious business once in a while?

as it stands, they'd get phished in no time if there isn't a visible address bar.
functionality matters. there's no reason a techie can't design a user interface. teh underlying implementation matters a lot from a security standpoint and the average joe user *should* learn a little about it so they protect themselves. after all, you know how your toaster works and you know at least a little about how your car works. likewise, you should know how internet addresses work, or at least, know how an URL breaks down. let's not dumb down the interface too much -- the kids in those countries need to learn, too, and most likely can handle it.

Re:OS too restrictive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18688213)

as it stands, they'd get phished in no time
My new business plan has three phases:
  1. Set up phishing site to grab credit card details of dirt-poor third-world kids
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

Re:OS too restrictive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18685061)

I think you simply don't understand what OLPC is all about.

The browser actually has an adress bar. First, OLPC aims for kids who never touch a computer in their lifes in developing country. The interface is actually an activity designed for kids to understand the fundamental basic of computer software so they can think and be creative (Etoys, Tam Tam for example). Be in mind the philosophy behind OLPC is different from the current model. If you do not adapt, you are doomed for extinction.

Re:OS too restrictive (2, Insightful)

TheNicestGuy (1035854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18690483)

They should learn to use a typical OS right from the start so they can accomplish real work with the capable computers that they have. It should be made easy for them to learn Perl or C++ and run 5 copies of xterm alongside 2 different browsers for development.

In God's name, why? That proposal goes fundamentally against the entire philosophy of OLPC. They're giving capable computers to school children not so they can "accomplish real work" (shudder), or even so they can "learn to use a typical OS", but simply so they can learn, explore, create, collaborate in general. This machine is targeted at the next generation of world citizens, not the next generation of office drones or elite hackers. Most OS simplifications have been made so that the user doesn't have to think about how it works or how its behavior compares to other platforms, OSes, or applications—not because it's the most the hardware can handle.

If I had an OLPC in a third-world country I'd just download xubuntu and use it.

Of course you would, but you're not a six-year-old child who's never been within fifty miles of a computer before, are you? Step into those shoes for a moment, and then think about whether you feel restricted by Sugar's multitasking model. I'll bet you're already having too much fun creating songs with TamTam [laptop.org] to worry about it.

And for those students who develop a deeper interest in technology and want to explore the other possibilities of their hardware, as you said, other OSes will surely run on it. I'd imagine there will be plenty of websites dedicated to that once these things start to see real use. Always remember that Sugar itself is an OS with design goals that are very specific and very different from existing general-purpose systems.

I absolutely understand security concerns arising from the lack of a visible address bar in the browser, though I haven't yet tried Sugar out for myself. That sort of thing raises some tricky questions about Internet safety in general. However, I think those questions are better handled by the local administrators of Mesh Portals [laptop.org] , which if I understand correctly are the only way for an XO laptop to get onto the Internet. When there is no portal on your Mesh, the address bar really does become wasted space for most purposes.

Re:OS too restrictive (1)

Jadware (1081293) | more than 7 years ago | (#18705495)

Your sarcasm gauge is working really well!!!!

Re:OS too restrictive (1)

TheNicestGuy (1035854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18705925)

My gauge must be broken completely, because I still can't spot the sarcasm in the parent. It's an over-the-top viewpoint, in my opinion, but within the realm of plausibility for an OS aficionado. Add to that the fact that a missing address bar is a very legitimate security and usability concern, and the post seemed fairly serious to me. If it was sarcasm, the point dheera was trying to make completely escapes me.

Re:OS too restrictive (1)

Jadware (1081293) | more than 7 years ago | (#18706701)

I do agree that it is scarily on the border for a linux doggie. After reading dheera's other comment, I think you could be right that he is serious. I really, really, really hope he is joking. For a typical child to even want to learn perl or C++ is a pretty narrow-minded view of the world; not all kids aspire to be 1337.

LPC was cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18687887)

>say LPC was the best MUD language around. I thought MUDs had kind of died, but I am glad to hear that they are so good now they need their own operating system! I can't wait to try it. You know, I never remorted anywhere when I played LPMUDS, but I bet it will be worth the effort this time around!

>!bye

Gratitus waves his tentacled hand farewell.

>!flip

Gratitus flips you the bird.

>quit

Re:LPC was cool. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18710451)

LPC was nothing compared to the MUD Database Language (MUDDLE). Full sentence parsing, ability to link databases together in a way UnterMUD copied many years later and other really nifty features. It inspired some of the true greats in MUD folklore. Where else but Rock could you slaughter Fraggles with a Black & Decker? Where but MUD-1 did people go carrying dragons as handbags? Until WoW, where else was so addictive that civil servants were stealing tens of thousands of dollars to stay online?

One Azax Per Child!

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