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Operating Systems Software

OLPC Operating System Available to Download 65

Posted by Zonk
from the make-your-own-one-laptop dept.
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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OLPC Operating System Available to Download

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  • by otacon (445694)
    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mabonus (185893) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:31PM (#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!
      • by jd (1658)
        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 poli

    • by jd (1658)
      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 pat
    • 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 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Taimat (944976) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:57PM (#18680859)
    Yeah! Another choice for me to choose what I going to replace vista with!
  • Would that thing work well on an old ThinkPad 760XL? That thing only has a Pentium MMM 166MHz, 64MB RAM and 4GB of storage...
  • by dbitch (553938) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:06PM (#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.
    • by Monsuco (998964)

      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 fo

    • by mgiuca (1040724)
      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.
    • They don't seel it commercially in order to reduce the black market effect (stealing from children and selling to eBay).
  • The Sugar UI (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:08PM (#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.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:50PM (#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.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @06:46PM (#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.
      • by jd (1658)
        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

        • 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?
      • 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 m

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:13PM (#18681111) Homepage

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

  • OLPC Distro (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nova1313 (630547) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:27PM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

      by dmbasso (1052166) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:47PM (#18681631)
      You mean, Python based official OLPC desktop.
      • 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.
      • by Nova1313 (630547) *
        yes. My bad. Python based desktop.
  • Heads Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:59PM (#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]
  • 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 the
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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
      • by dheera (1003686)
        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
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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!
    • There is a pretty obvious address bar from what I see

      http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Image:Sugar_browser_with _library.png [laptop.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TheNicestGuy (1035854)

      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 t

      • by Jadware (1081293)
        Your sarcasm gauge is working really well!!!!
        • 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.
          • by Jadware (1081293)
            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.

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