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Hacking the XO Laptop

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the new-uses-tiny-toys dept.

Hardware Hacking 95

dulceLeche writes "While the OLPC was not designed with the American consumer in mind, people that took part in the Give One Get One program have been having fun with their XOs. The XO has a number of limitations, but with some work you can get Opera running, chat over your mesh network, and much more. An article at Geek.com explains what a few folks were able to do with their XOs."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Here's an idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116184)

Frisbee!

The Subtle Jokes are Always the Best (5, Funny)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116196)

Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of theOH GOD MY EARS

Re:The Subtle Jokes are Always the Best (5, Insightful)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116336)

Obviously mods missed the joke, so I'll explain. The XOs make a chirping noise (that's my best description of it) to locate one another. A Beowulf cluster of these would, therefore, be very noisy, and having a room full of these is, indeed, noisy, as several users have posted previously on /.

Re:The Subtle Jokes are Always the Best (3, Informative)

itismike (582070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116602)

I had the opportunity to get my hands on one of these last week and was very impressed. I wish the give-one-get-one deal was still available.

[joke spoiler] The laptop is silent in normal operation. They only chirp if you launch a specific classroom activity designed to use acoustic signals to measure the distance between two laptops. It's quite neat actually. I guess if you have a classroom of students who all launch this particular application at once, it'll be pretty noisy.

Re:The Subtle Jokes are Always the Best (2, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116630)

So, would these not be appropriate to bring into a classroom?

Go on (3, Informative)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116212)

After all, the XO is designed to be hackable (unlike most hardware today, unfortunately).

Re:Go on (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116270)

Well, it should be, I figure kids will be able to learn more through slowly screwing up their XO's. (I know I did back in the day.)

"designed to be hackable"? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116388)

I'm curious as to what hacks for the XO exist that exemplify it as a (hardware) platform "designed to be hackable".

Mind you... I don't consider the things from the article to be hacks. Using the CLI is not hacking, downloading and installing software is not hacking, and hooking a sensor up to a soundcard MIC in and using a monitoring app (could easily have been any ol' sound recording app) to look at the sensor's output is hardly a hack either (using the USB for power isn't a hack by any stretch, as the ports are designed with this very thing in mind). Not to mention that all of these can be done on -any- computer.

I may have missed something more subtle, but I really don't think the XO is any more, or less, hackable than any other computer - and I'm really not too sure about 'hackable' being a design goal for the thing. Cheap, rugged, open and all the other things... but hackable? Especially in terms of hardware?

( Don't mod this up - this is just a question post to which I honestly hope to see an answer that makes me change my mind. If one does get posted, please mod that up instead. ~ aether)

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (3, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116738)

software is not hacking

Huh?

I really don't think the XO is any more, or less, hackable than any other computer

Since when does hacking refer only to hardware? And from a software perspective, Sugar is clearly more hackable than anything outside of a Squeak environment. Sure, you can hack anything you like on, say, Ubuntu, but there's a world of difference between that and pressing the "show source" key and modifying the app you're running. And, of course, there's simply no comparison with a closed system like Windows or OS X.

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22119608)

Installing software is not hacking... come on mate, you dropped the 'installing' off your quote. at least be fair.

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22119862)

Installing software is not hacking... come on mate, you dropped the 'installing' off your quote. at least be fair.

Yes, I did, but I didn't -- and don't -- consider it misleading because the rest of the post seemed to assume that nothing related to software could be considered "hacking". Though the specific phrase was taken out of context, it was well within the spirit of the larger context.

Not only that, installing software certainly can be hacking. Doing something that wasn't intended by the designer and requires significant cleverness is hacking, even if it's just installing software.

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22126820)

Installing software is only considered hacking if you wrote the software you installed.

-Don

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22128980)

Installing software is only considered hacking if you wrote the software you installed.

Do you not consider installing Linux on an XBox a hack?

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22135990)

Porting Linux to the XBox was a hack, but just installing something that somebody else created isn't a hack.

Just as writing and performing music is creative, but simply pressing the play button on an iPod isn't creative.

-Don

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22137428)

Porting Linux to the XBox was a hack, but just installing something that somebody else created isn't a hack

But you said it had to be software you wrote yourself in order to be a hack, and the XBox team didn't create Linux. In fact, it required very little new or modified code, and porting Linux is so well-understood that the code changes required almost no cleverness (cleverness was required, but not in the code). Porting Opera to the XO also required code changes, and some cleverness to find a way to get it to run in Sugar's unusual GUI environment.

So what, then, distinguishes a "hack" from a "non-hack", per the definitive SimHacker lexicon?

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22141464)

Let's put it this way: typing "yum install foobar" or even "./configure ; make ; sudo make install" is NOT hacking. I assume it took considerably more cleverness to get Linux running on the XBox, so that's probably hacking, if it required some kind of cleverness. Simply doing something you weren't intended to do, but that that doesn't require any cleverness, is not hacking.

-Don

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22144800)

Let's put it this way: typing "yum install foobar" or even "./configure ; make ; sudo make install" is NOT hacking.

Sure. Are you saying that's all it takes to install Opera on an XO? That's not the impression I got.

I assume it took considerably more cleverness to get Linux running on the XBox, so that's probably hacking, if it required some kind of cleverness.

Agreed -- to be worthy of the name hack, what's required is cleverness. Not hardware modification, and not necessarily even writing software. I believe that's where I started in this thread :-) Actually, just cleverness isn't sufficient, some unorthodoxy is also required, and perhaps a little insight, and writing software or modifying hardware is often involved, but they're not required. After all, the *original* hackers didn't even use computers.

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22218788)

Perhaps your definition of hack is not broad enough.

You could look at the jargon file [catb.org] .

I rarely use definition 2 there (something difficult and clever). It tends to be 1. (something quick and dirty)

Like "I hacked a shell script to work around your kernel module's bugs."

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

Isauq (730660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22121594)

"I'm curious as to what hacks for the XO exist that exemplify it as a (hardware) platform 'designed to be hackable'." Wish I could answer GP's question, but as it is, I think I'll just chuckle that he got modded up anyway.

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

x1n933k (966581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117038)

Just because I wanted to be a buggar:

hacking
v. intr.
To chop or cut something by hacking.
Informal
To write or refine computer programs skillfully.

I would say from reading the article these guys do some hacks. Nothing done here could be achieved easily by a casual user nor are options explained by the manufacture for the casual user.

You can also check out this detailed explanation of hacking and hackers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker [wikipedia.org]

[J]

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117232)

a strict definition of hacking is that you're doing something with it that's not designed, so it would be impossible to design something to be hackable. i think what the grandparent poster means is that this is designed to be able to have new software and functions added to it, in contrast to other low cost devices designed to be used by kids that are really locked down. i.e. the design allows you to do things that would require a hack on another device

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (3, Informative)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117792)

You're right, it's kind of a stretch to call anything in that article hacking, but it is designed to be (software) hackable. Though, the line in voltmeter is unique in that the audio hardware was chosen to make that possible.

It's the only laptop I've ever heard of that uses Open Firmware, or any open source BIOS. There are even tutorials [laptop.org] on hacking it in the wiki. Plus, most of the GUI and applications are written in Python and are designed to be relatively easy to modify.

The hardware itself is far from hackable though. There is very little, if anything, that can be modified inside the thing, even though it is easy to disassemble. I imagine its the result of making it as cheap and rugged as possible.

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (2, Informative)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22118462)

It's the only laptop I've ever heard of that uses Open Firmware

My iBook would like to have a word with you outside. Actually all Macs that belong to the "New World" generation have had Open Firmware [wikipedia.org] . This stretches all the way to the iMac and the Blue & White Tower, and continues to the last G5 PowerMacs. All iBooks have OF.

EFI [wikipedia.org] has now replaced OF in the MacIntel platform that was introduced with MacBook, MacBook Pro and Mac Pro.

What I had in mind (1)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117822)

What I had in mind was the iPhone and similar devices, where the manufacturer tries to stop you from modifying them.

The XO has no such restrictions - the source is free and changeable, so you can do whatever you want with it.

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22120084)

I'm not trying to sound like an astroturfer for the EeePC (I like the XO better), but there is an interesting project where someone hardhacked an EeePC with bluetooth, more USB ports, wifi, larger solid-state storage, etc.

It only cost him several hundred dollars to turn the EeePC into a midrange laptop. :p

I'd link to the site, but it is down.

Re:"designed to be hackable"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22125924)

( Don't mod this up...

I guess "Don't mod this up..." is the new "I'll get modded down for this but..."

"Don't mod this up" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22132584)

''I guess "Don't mod this up..." is the new "I'll get modded down for this but..."''

indeed - I hate it when posts use the latter. The former (I'm the OP) was meant genuinely and it annoyed me that it was modded up instead of the various answers it got (only 2 answers seem to have gone +3). But at least I read them all and although I'm not entirely swayed (can't blame me, I think, as most seem to agree with my stance), at least it addressed some key points.

Re:Go on (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116500)

The XO software is designed to be hackable.

The hardware, not so much.

Re:Go on (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116966)

After all, the XO is designed to be hackable (unlike most hardware today, unfortunately).

Well not really. The XO is designed to be hacker resistant. The machine has a security system called bitfrost which is meant to prevent the machine from working if it is stolen, and to also prevent programs from obtaining certain combinations of rights, such as video camera & internet functionality at the same time. I suppose it would be possible to hack programs to work within that framework, but certainly not as easily as an Asus EEE PC for example where you can pretty much do anything you like.

Re:Go on (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22120440)

Bitfrost also causes the whole laptop to be incompatible with GPLv3.

Re:Go on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22123760)

That's OK, the GPLv3 is pretty much incompatible with the text it's written in.

Re:Go on (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 6 years ago | (#22122228)

After all, the XO is designed to be hackable (unlike most hardware today, unfortunately).

Well not really. The XO is designed to be hacker resistant. The machine has a security system called bitfrost which is meant to prevent the machine from working if it is stolen, and to also prevent programs from obtaining certain combinations of rights, such as video camera & internet functionality at the same time. I suppose it would be possible to hack programs to work within that framework, but certainly not as easily as an Asus EEE PC for example where you can pretty much do anything you like.

Yes, but with a developers key virtually all of the bitfrost features can be disabled. Further all combinations of rights are possible, but an unsigned app wanting certain combinations requires manual user involvement. This can be a good thing if it is not too frequent. For example, if an internet application that had nothing to do with video requested video rights, users may become suspicious. However, they would not find it surprising that a videophone application wants to have camera rights, or that it wants internet rights.

OLPBLFN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116232)

One Laptop Per Big Lipped Filthy NIGGER

Re:OLPBLFN (-1, Troll)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116240)

Perhaps they'll put them to better use.

Re:OLPBLFN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116364)

um...
how is parent a troll?

Re:OLPBLFN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116470)

I suppose it could have been labelled "flamebait".
While it's may provide a momentary pleasure to some idiot to write something like that, they need to keep in mind that reality executes within a context, and that context will hold them accountable for all their churlish deeds.

Re:OLPBLFN (1)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116428)

I've got the feeling there's a kkk escapee on the loose here: http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=424160&cid=22113806 [slashdot.org]

Re:OLPBLFN (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116600)

I've got the feeling there's a kkk escapee on the loose here:
I think a lynch mob would be a fitting solution

Have fun in jail! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22120398)

I think a lynch mob would be a fitting solution

Nice death fantasy. Modded up, too.

Unfortunately, in the post-Columbine, post-VA Tech world, you can never be too careful. Your comment, this link, and the details of this site have been forwarded to authorities.

Have a nice day, "Anonymous". That condition won't be lasting much longer.

Re:Have fun in jail! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22121612)

Fortunately not everyone in this post-Columbine, post-VA Tech (World)!? I think you mean USA you moron,and by the way I would be committing no crime where i live if perhaps somebody posted your ip address and i sent it to interested parties? Hmmm? God bless free speech eh? Not to much chance of the USA police showing up at my door brother, halfway around the world slightly better chance of some representatives of the people you disparage showing up at yours for a reasoned discussion. You might want to explore the concept of "fighting words" and provocation as they relate to your free speech protections as well. Course it was put in place to enable political discussion not to enable little tools like you to deface virtual walls with some of the lowest quality trolling have ever seen. Post modern? Please! Reading a couple of paragraphs about Sartre doesn't make you anymore than what you are,buddy and pissing off smart people(especially in the IT game) can have unintended consequences. So how about you send this to the authorities,you might not be as safe behind that edu firewall as you think. just saying.

You're going to jail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22122798)

Authorities have been contacted.

Re:You're going to jail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22122986)

Hope for your sake none of the "authorities" are black! Lol

These are just preliminary hacks (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116258)

According to the linked article, none of the hacks were completely successful.

Everything about the OLPC is optimized for its intended end use. It isn't just a bunch of computer bits slapped together. If you want to hack the OLPC successfully, you have to take a bunch of stuff into account otherwise the results will be suboptimal.

Example: The browser that comes with OLPC is optimized for the display and works about as well as could be expected. Opera, on the other hand, gets worse results display wise.

Re:These are just preliminary hacks (4, Insightful)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116390)

Opera, on the other hand, gets worse results display wise.
It's working great for me. I'm posting from my OLPC XO right now, from the Opera browser. The XO is great. It's small, light, and rugged. Not only does Opera work, but so does wvdial, so when I'm in the field in rural locations I'm able to use my cellphone as a tethered modem. Works great for reading pdf's and ebooks, too. The Youtube vids are a bit slow, but I've got a developer key so I can try out other optimized linux distributions made for multimedia performance.

Maybe you should try one if they offer the "Give-One-Get-One" program again. Maybe the kid who gets the XO you donate will create hacks you might find satisfactory.

How easy was it to make Opera work? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22117288)

One would think that Opera would be straight forward. After all, OLPC seems to already have solved the problem.

The Opera web browser and the Real Networks Helix(TM) platform have been ported to the laptop and are available for download but not part of the standard distribution.

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Software_components [laptop.org]

When we look at what the guys in tfa went through, we get the idea that they didn't know something the OLPC people knew.

Next up we decided to pull Opera down onto the XO since the built-in browser gets the job done, but not quite the way we want. In order to do that we created a nested X server, since there's already one running that you don't want to disrupt. So, we basically ran one X server within another, and the nested server-software called Xephyr-ran outside of the other applications we had running. Doing this you can have a traditional Linux desktop running at the same time as your XO stuff, as long as your memory holds out.

Then they go through a screen full of stuff on the command line.

By the way, one of the configuration changes that we showed in a picture above was to the dot pitch. By default Opera is basically unreadable in the X server, due to the XO's screen resolution.

And finally they get it working.

Re:These are just preliminary hacks (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116494)

According to the linked article, none of the hacks were completely successful.
Are you saying we shouldn't be imagining a beowulf cluster of those ?
But they're hot grits proof !

(sorry, got carried away there, keep going)

Re:These are just preliminary hacks (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 6 years ago | (#22121492)

Opera released a version just for the OLPC project: Opera OLPC Edition [opera.com]

Sad (2, Interesting)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116262)

Ordered mine last November and still haven't got it. Getting worried too as the email they sent said it be in before the 15th of this month and the website doesn't seem to do anything when I put my confirm number in....

I want to play with the damn thing:P Maybe I will look into getting a a Zipit 2z [zipitwireless.com] . I have the first generation and the second one looks very nice.

Re:Sad (5, Informative)

supersat (639745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116590)

Apparently, there's been several issues with G1G1 fulfillment. They expected to have shipped every laptop by now, but discovered at least 5,000 orders that have fallen through the cracks. Those will be sent tomorrow, if possible. More information is at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/G1G1_Fulfillment_Information [laptop.org]

Re:Sad (1)

SubComdTaco (1199449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22118290)

A closer look at your site/link reveals that indeed 5,000 laptops are to ship, but that does imply that all of the unfulfilled orders have been solved and will ship tomorrow. I know this as I am one of those unresolved laptop problems.

"During the reconciliation process of the "get" laptops shipped during Give One Get One, a number of unfulfilled order records were uncovered. We expect another ~5000 XO laptops will be shipped on Monday (January 21)."

Re:Sad (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116788)

MAN! I loath the day when IM was created...since when is that all people use a goddamn computer for? You need to run off over to Digg and post that fodder over there!!!

Re:Sad (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117030)

Maybe I will look into getting a Zipit 2z [zipitwireless.com] .

What a painful and useless website this product has! Looks like it was desgined by a fourth-grader. Someone, please beat their web staff with a clue-by-four.

Since you've got one of these gizmos, can you give us a quick rundown on what it is and why you find it useful? 'Cause I sure can't figure it out from their site.

Re:Sad (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22119062)

You aren't kidding.
Who are these idiots that make a flash-based piece of crap website with substance at all?

Would be great if there were some specs or even a small amount of real info available instead of the wannabe mac-marketing pictures.

Re:Sad (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22119228)

preview, preview, preview... I must be new here.

Who are these idiots that make flash-based piece of crap websites with NO substance at all?

Re:Sad (1)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22120546)

Marketing department? God I know. That site is horrible.

A better review is here [linuxdevices.com]

It looks like they are caring about the hacker community. Whats cool about it is not only does it support Wifi but SMS messaging.

"not designed with the American consumer in mind" (4, Insightful)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116290)

Yeah...because what American consumer wants a rugged, durable, affordable, polished, easy to use *nix based laptop that can run untethered for extremely long periods of time. No interest here.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1)

Unoti (731964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116314)

Actually, it looks a hell of a lot harder to use than normal distros, at least for what they were trying to do. What's this nonsense crap about running an embedded X server just so you can run opera? One X server isn't enough?

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (4, Informative)

Sir_Kurt (92864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116760)

I bought 2 of the XO laptops. (four actually) There is a special version of Opera that has been compiled for the XO, including software that makes it a sugar activity. It is available here: <URL:http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Opera/>. Works great. No need to set up an additional X server. These guys were just having fun and showing off.

-kurt-

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116318)

Just because you want it doesn't mean it's commercially viable.

This project has been a money pit and is a charity for a reason.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22120736)

This project has been a money pit and is a charity for a reason.

Truth hurts, apparently.

The Slashdot Credo: when you can't utilize language to argue against a point you dislike, use mod points to censor it.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22130116)

This project has been a money pit and is a charity for a reason.
That reason being that it was conceived with a purpose inherently incompatible with for-profit operation?

I don't doubt that development of the OLPC has been expensive. Worthwhile things frequently are.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (2, Funny)

nevali (942731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116376)

[Ob] So... a Mac, then?

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (3, Funny)

wbren (682133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116412)

Nope, he included affordable in his list of criteria.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22117502)

Oh, comeon - "troll"? Some mods need to learn what that means.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116604)

but can it play WoW?

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116768)

You can buy one right now.

Ibook G4 12". Best linux laptop you will ever own and I get 5 hours runtime out of mine daily.

and they are cheap on ebay, if you look hard enough. only problem is that they are not rugged or durable.

Now, the XO peaks my interest as a backpacker/bicycle camping laptop. if you can rig a solar charger for these that would be perfect for the outdoorsperson that wants to have a pc with them (blogging from the backwoods W00t!)

anyone know if they are fine with being used open in the rain?

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1)

happyDave (155169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116990)

Do not anger happy fun ball...er...The XO comes with a nice little pictogram chart of "things to not do with the XO Laptop" and immerse in water is one.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22117096)

"pique your interest"

see also
peer review (not pier review)
moot point (not mute point)

and a finally the slashdot classic
ridiculous (not rediculous)

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1)

Khalid (31037) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117878)

Now, the XO peaks my interest as a backpacker/bicycle camping laptop. if you can rig a solar charger for these that would be perfect for the outdoorsperson that wants to have a pc with them (blogging from the backwoods W00t!)

It's also very intersting as an ebook reader, in fact, just for that it's worth the deal. It was designed with that functionaly in mind, it's very useful in places where books are often very expensive and not easy to get.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117920)

I have one of those, and it even runs leopard like a dream.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22119396)

Tiger runs on it better than Leopard. I suggest you upgrade, it makes it faster.

Really, no joke.

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22129252)

Now, the XO peaks my interest as a backpacker/bicycle camping laptop. if you can rig a solar charger for these that would be perfect for the outdoorsperson that wants to have a pc with them (blogging from the backwoods W00t!)
IIRC, part of the point of the XO is that it can be used where there is no power. There is a hand crank you use to generate power. A few minutes of cranking gives you a decent charge. There is also an optional solar panel that they sell.

Also, while they're not supposed to be immersed in water, they are rugged enough that supposedly a little rain won't kill them. YMMV.

(the above is based on my recollection of last years story, I'm pretty sure it's accurate but too lazy to go look)

Re:"not designed with the American consumer in min (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22124322)

Well, being unable to use WPA out of the box - and still being unable to connect to a hidden ssid - doesn't count as "polished" to me.

The hardware is beautiful, but the software needs some work.

Can anyone read Negroponte's mind? (1)

hadaso (798794) | more than 6 years ago | (#22124372)

When I look at some of what the XO was designed to do I can think how useful it can be in the developed countries (not just the USA).

Think of what mesh networking capability can do in a city where many people's hardware does it by default. Would you need to purchase connectivity? Can P2P connectivity do to the telecoms what P2P file transmission has done to the mafiaa? (or at least what the mafiaa believes it is doing to them?) Now could one push such a project where the aim is letting people communicate freely by sharing where in the present they have to pay for the connectivity? It's easier to get the project going by making it a charitable cause that doesn't compete with existing strong market forces.

Anyway, this strange communist thought of having people sharing connectivity is ridiculous and unamerican. It is as if cities made streets and sidewalks free for public use and we could actually walk from one part of the city to another without having to pay tolls for the operators of the toll streets. Sure if we want to reach the local mall we have to pay for the connectivity? Well, I'm getting off topic and I'm not even American ...

OOLPCPLH (3, Funny)

jovius (974690) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116322)

Featuring One One Laptop Per Child Per Linux Hacker

The XO as a web server (1)

Deb-fanboy (959444) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116324)

Perhaps they have kacked one of the XO's to be a web server.

Anyway the site was broken for me, so the XO webserver hack needs a bit more work.

My Favorite Additions (1)

Czmyt (689032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116480)

Were installing wxMaxima and Gnumeric via yum from the terminal: "yum -y install wxMaxima Gnumeric" then run wxmaxima and/or gnumeric on the command line to start the programs.

Attempts to (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22116648)

Attempts to ruin OLPC reputation by putting total, proprietary garbage web browser on it. Morons!

Xubuntu on the XO (3, Informative)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116742)

I got one of these Dec 21st, and the whole rest of my life has disappeared while I play with it. Very addictive little machine.

I have Xubuntu on it in a dual boot system, with ubuntu on an SD card. Followed moocapiean's directions [olpcnews.com] . Works great. No glitches.

So, as for it being hackable, I'd say that it's easy to *change*, in ways it wasn't originally intended to run. You don't have to break anything to do that, so maybe it's not strictly speaking hackable. But then, nothing open source is hackable.

Depends on your definition hackable.

Installing Opera is "hacking"? (3, Insightful)

karmaflux (148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22116766)

I guess you have to be pretty leet to do "yum install opera." I got slackware up on mine. Freelikegnu [freelikegnu.org] got ubuntu running on his. There's a guy on IRC who put a tiny usb GPS dongle inside the thing, soldered to the mainboard. These are hacks. "yum install opera" is not.

Re:Installing Opera is "hacking"? (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117834)

Are you sure it's that simple? (I don't know, I'm asking. Maybe it should be, and these guys did a Rube Goldberg for no good reason.) Anyway, from TFA:

Next up we decided to pull Opera down onto the XO since the built-in browser gets the job done, but not quite the way we want. In order to do that we created a nested X server, since there's already one running that you don't want to disrupt. So, we basically ran one X server within another, and the nested server-software called Xephyr-ran outside of the other applications we had running. Doing this you can have a traditional Linux desktop running at the same time as your XO stuff, as long as your memory holds out.

(Downloading the necessary packages for the prep work, before installing Opera.)

Then we went to Terminal and had to locate where it downloaded. Then we installed Xephyr, and did a number of modifications to .bashrc using vi-always fun.

(Here you can see all of the work we had to do, including adding a path, making a directory, editing the file xeph, changing the mode of our file xeph, and more. Lots of fun!)

(Here's us locating opera and then unzipping it.)

Below is the final result: Geek.com displayed on Opera running on the XO laptop.

By the way, one of the configuration changes that we showed in a picture above was to the dot pitch. By default Opera is basically unreadable in the X server, due to the XO's screen resolution. Incidentally, if you look closely at the pictures above, all of the steps to doing this hack are captured.

XO is another platform (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22117220)

Basically they were able to get their XOs to do what every other computer system can do already, so let's start distributing real-world computers to these kids so they can actually have computer skills that apply to today's world, not some fantasy land that's a slighty skewed dimension from the real world. Honestly, you computer programmers go completely XO and see how easy it is to get hired.

Re:XO is another platform (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22149454)

what are you talking about? what "computer skills" are kids not going to be able to learn on the XO? Microsoft Word? oh, the horror.

please. OLPC isn't about vocational training for office clerks, it's about fundamental educational opportunities. textbook replacement, communication, experimentation, classroom tools, and so on. for all those things, it's a nearly ideal platform. the fact that it doesn't run MS Office is just gravy.

xfce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22118146)

I've installed xfce on my XO, along with some other essentials such including AbiWord (the real thing), Opera, and Pidgin. It all runs quite well. I don't even use Sugar anymore.

one important piece of hacking (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22118434)

I'm not sure if this is true or not but apparently every OLPC unit has a piece of kill code in it which will brick the unit if they think a unit intended for a child has gone to a third party. Even if I was to do the BOGO option, I'd feel incredibly uncomfortable knowing my unit has the capability to be bricked at will.

Am I paranoid or gullible or does this worrying piece of software exist on the unit? Is anyone working on a patch to remove it?

Re:one important piece of hacking (2, Interesting)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 6 years ago | (#22122320)

I'm not sure if this is true or not but apparently every OLPC unit has a piece of kill code in it which will brick the unit if they think a unit intended for a child has gone to a third party. Even if I was to do the BOGO option, I'd feel incredibly uncomfortable knowing my unit has the capability to be bricked at will.

Am I paranoid or gullible or does this worrying piece of software exist on the unit? Is anyone working on a patch to remove it?

With a developer's key (which you can get from the OLPC project) (it might even come with the laptops purchased trough the program) one can turn off virtually all security features, including the one you are referring to. My understanding is that to get the key requires evidence that you obtained the laptop legitimately, and that the laptop has not been reported as stolen. (It is not entirely clear if the key can unlock the laptop if it has been locked. But the key can definitely disable the anti-theft features.) Further the antitheft feature would be disabled by default on the laptops purchased through this program. Turning it on would require the developer's key or the OLPC master key (if one exists). Normally there would be a country key held by the Education Ministry that could also turn this feature on, but presumably there would be no such key installed on the laptops purchased through this program. Oh yeah, the developer's key is specific to the machine to which it was issued.

I want one (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22122638)

I want one. Actually, I want two or three. Two for the kids and one for my daily *nix based work. Imagine entering a meeting with an OLPC.

I have the money to pay twice the price. Alas I live in Europe...

Hacking? just su root (1)

Wormholio (729552) | more than 6 years ago | (#22122746)

You don't really need to 'hack' it. The Terminal "Activity" is in there with the rest of the activities (you'd probably call them applications). It's easier to get a shell on the XO than on the default configuration of Gnome or KDE. And there is no root password. Just 'su root' and you control the box. (While sshd is running, it's configured to not accept root logins.)

I need to look more at the educational activities, but I got caught up first in seeing how far I could go with the Unix. I was able to run BOINC on it (no graphics). The Einstein@Home application seems to fail regularly due to floating point problems, but I think it's because that app is tweaked to try to use different hardware features if it can (and doesn't know what to do with this thing). SETI@home is running (slow but steady) without such problems.

My favorite is xeyes [photobucket.com] (someone else added the text, not me).

I don't really agree with the statement in the article "Not quite what the foundation had in mind when they made the XO". I think the Give One/Get One program was intended, at least in part, to get it out into the hands of people who will "play" with it to see what it can do. And some of us will develop apps for it (I have ideas for two already).

More notes on my "playing" with the XO are here [spy-hill.net] .

Uber Hack (1)

barl0w2 (1096357) | more than 6 years ago | (#22123018)

The ability to hack the OLPC or Eee PC is pretty much the drive for us to buy one of these ultra portables. The price is right,the portability is definitely there, and both based on Linux. Here's a photo of how small the OLPC XO is next to a Dell D620

http://flickr.com/photos/barl0w/1101266148/ [flickr.com]

Java on the XO laptop (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22124278)

Java applications run nicely on the XO laptop. With a few simple tweaks you can see Swing and AWT apps full-screen.

More details here:
http://frequal.com/java/FirstLookOnTheOlpcXoLaptop.html [frequal.com]

No point (1)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22126596)

Why hack it when Linux is already installed on it?

One can only hope that the XO creates a (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22147330)

place that becomes Nigeria's Nigeria...
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