Ask OLPC a Question about the XO


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This page deals with issues related to the XO. Before asking a new question, please see if your question may already be answered in the Support FAQ, the Release notes for your build, and the Getting Started Guide.

Return to Ask OLPC a Question.




Is the software on the XO translated into the child's native language? When the XO is used to search the Internet is it being translated into the native language?

A great deal of effort is being put into localizing the core XO activities, so that the children can work in their native language. You can read more (or participate) on the Localization page. When browsing the internet, the XO displays the pages in the language in which they are written, but the children can of course use free online translation tools like Google to get rough translations of the pages. —Joe 14:39, 12 November 2007 (EST)

What is the Mesh button?

ctrl+alt+mesh??? what is the mesh, I need to change the user name.

The mesh button is the button with 8 small circles at the uper left of the keyboard (Image:Mesh key f1 small.png); (Please see Keyboard Shortcuts for a description of all of the buttons.)
To change your name, please see the answer to the previous question.

Thumbpad as Mouse


Is there a way you can alter the thumbpad on the display lid and the 4 buttons on the opposite side of the LCD to operate at a mouse / pointing device? I would like to be able to use is as a tablet and user the 4way thumbpad and side buttons to surf the web. I'm sure others out there would love that as well.

- Randolph Hernandez, Random Synergy -

There is some limited capability to do this already in that you can scroll pages. We plan to let you follow links with the buttons as well. But since the keyboard is unavailable, the functionality will always be somewhat limited in this mode. Any suggestions would be welcome.
I thought when I first used it that the thumb pad (left) should remain the 4 arrow keys as it is, btu the buttons could be TAB, SHIFT-TAB, ENTER, and whatever the keyboard shortcut for "back" is. This should allow for decent browsing. Perhaps instead of back the last button could be FN, so that the thumbpad could be PG-UP/DOWN for true ebooks.
It's rediculous. They've got EIGHT buttons between the two different d-pad controllers and they ALL do scroll in some form or fashion. The next OLPC build should include more intuitive uses for the d-pad - i like the recommendation to scroll using the right controller and tab and enter using the left controller. For Draw, the left controller should mimic mouse movements and the right should mimic mouse clicks (X=left, O=right) and pen/eraser select (check=toggle pens/brushes, square=toggle erasers). Kaplansa 10:36, 20 February 2008 (EST)

I also have a problem moving the curser in Internet ebook mode. Why not utilize the game keys (o-left, >-up, X-right, []-down? - Nicholas Gerber,

It would also be useful if someone wrote an "control panel" app to more easily map the d-pad controls per application. I'm not sure this exists today. Kaplansa 10:36, 20 February 2008 (EST)

How to view .wmv files

I am wondering how I might view .wmv files using the OLPC laptop?

I have visited some URLs and whenever I click on a link which serves this type of file the browser just sits there and does nothing.

Thanks for your help.

Dave (aka Tobor)

WMV files require video codecs that are not available on the XO, so they can't be played. —Joe 20:12, 18 December 2007 (EST)

XO Linux

Just got an XO.

In the terminal, ls does nothing and man returns "command not found"

What's going on?

"ls" appears to do nothing because the terminal activity starts in the user's home directory, which by default contains no visible files or directories. Try changing to another directory (e.g. "cd /usr") first, creating some files, or running "ls -a". "man" and manpages are not installed by default to save space (most of the user base would not need them), but it may be possible to install them via "yum" (maybe via "yum install man"?). —Joe 16:27, 20 December 2007 (EST)

default password for root and olpc users?

what are the UNIX passwords for the root and olpc users, by default?

The root password is blank by default, which means that any local user can log in as root, but no remote user can. I believe the same is true of the olpc user, but I haven't checked this. —Joe 14:08, 21 December 2007 (EST)

It looks like the olpc does have a password set. I would like to use that account for remote logins but I am leary to reset the password based on the X apps (looks like someone else tried this). Is there any chance of getting someone from the OLPC team to document what the default olpc password is. JMW -- 16:12, 27 December 2007 (EST)

Looking at the /etc/shadow file (where Linux usually keeps user passwords), it appears that the olpc user has no password set, but cannot log in directly. -- Supersat 02:43, 30 December 2007 (EST)

redefine the gamepad keys?

I would ike to edefine the gamepad keys to be more useful in my common apps. how canI do this?

in my case I need 'd' and 'u' (delete and undelete) more then home and end.

can I disable color while the backlight is on?

For much of what I do color is not needed and I would like to use the super-sharp black-and-white mode of the OLPC, but I sometimes still need the backlight to see the screen clearly. is there a way to disable the color while leaving the backlight on? including command-line options --David Lang

Sorry, no. The display is designed such that you get black-and-white from ambient light and color when backlit. --IanOsgood 10:51, 22 December 2007 (EST)
However, there is a command line hack that will put the display in black-and-white mode while the backlight is on:
   echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/dcon/output
Replace the 1 with a zero to switch back to color mode. Note that the display still won't look as good as it does with the backlight totally off. -- Supersat 14:50, 23 December 2007 (EST)

Thanks, note that if your adjust the brightness of the backlight it turns color back on.

unfortunantly this doesn't gain the sharpness. given that the color can be turned off, I would expect another option somwhere that switches between the monochrome mode and the dithered color mode (or an option that controls the backlight independanty so I can switch to mono mode and then enable the backlight), I'll wait and see what shows up over time.

I also noticed that the brightness and volume buttons don't work if you are on the console -- David Lang

Unfortunately, I don't believe it's possible to get the super-crisp sharpness with only the backlight. From what I understand, the backlight passes through a color filter, and this drops the sharpness. You can independently control the backlight (using /sys/class/backlight/dcon-bl/brightness), but if you turn on the backlight while the XO is in the monochrome reflective mode, you get the same effect as what I mentioned above. -- Supersat 16:55, 25 December 2007 (EST)

How the hardware works: Each pixel is really a square single-color sub-pixel. Colors run along diagonal lines from upper right to lower left. The upper-left pixel is red. Color comes from the backlight, as light is split into colors. The display controller chip has a few settings which can be used to greatly reduce artifacts, but don't really do anything else. The colors sent from the video chip can be mixed to make greyscale. The screen can be blurred. The incorrect color data (example: the blue being sent to a red pixel) can be discarded. Color mode is blur+discard+backlight. Greyscale mode is mixing, without any backlight. 01:37, 26 December 2007 (EST)

Streaming Audio from WWW

I have downloaded watch&listen.xo but I cannot figure out how to use the program to listen to streaming radio broadcasts or archived programming at radio station web sites. I can select the watch&listen activity but not find anything to play on it, or, I can select the browser, find streaming content, and not be able to play it. What am I doing wrong?

Locked keyboard

My new OLPC green machine arrived last week. I have been working with it to learn as many of the little kinks before I send it on to a charity. The keyboard locked up. I cannot enter commands, I cannot type any characters.

After reading how to perform the four fingered salute, I have tried it several times and nothing happens. I also removed the battery, waited several minutes and reinstalled it before restarting. No soap.

Does anyone have any idea how to correct the situation? I cannot send the computer on until this is resolved.


Anthony Mournian AnthonyMournian(at)

Manual for OLPC

Why was there no manual for this laptop? I bought one for my 6 year old grandson and find it difficult without a manual.

Milly Heider

Please refer to the answer to a similar question posted above. --Walter 19:19, 27 December 2007 (EST)

I would like to use the drawing tablet function with the "Graffiti" app in Facebook. It's very popular among Facebook users; ask any of them.

Using the stylus area

It's apparent that a stylus can be used on the 3 panel surface, but what's not indicated is what kind of stylus can be used or if it is included. Would the stylus work on a flash internet program that allows drawing?

The Sugar Interface documentation says that no stylus is included, but any object (e.g. a stick) will work. Perhaps someone with an XO can answer whether or not this can be used in the Browse activity? My understanding is that the activity needs to be specially written to use the tablet panels, and that not a lot of the activities support the tablet yet. —Joe 10:14, 13 December 2007 (EST)
Any hard, blunt instrument will work with the resistive touchpad. The pad itself is disabled by default in the current build, but it will be enabled in an update soon. As far as using the resistive pad, it is by default mapped to an absolute coordinate system. That may or may not work out of the box with the Flash application you are interested in. If you post the URL, we can check it out as well: we are curious as to how people are thinking about using the touhpad. --Walter 12:54, 14 December 2007 (EST)
Not fair. The marketing glossies advertise this feature and I've been killing myself to get it to work until I read your (Walter's) post. I want my two year old son to start enjoying Draw and TamTamMini but his coordination isn't good enough for mere mouse clicking, but he knows how to scroll through albums on my iPhone (by flicking his finger across the screen). By enabling the tablet you could allow him to draw by simply dragging his finger (include an "always on" option so you're not just moving the mouse when you're moving your finger - like a true graphics tablet. Be creative and think of applications in TamTam too - like making music when dragging your finger. This is the whole purpose behind "constructionism" anyway, right? Kaplansa 10:43, 20 February 2008 (EST)
Incidentally, any idea if/when the tablet will be enabled and in what build? I've got 656 installed now. Would like to give this to my son with a working tablet for Draw and TamTam by his birthday next month. -- Kaplansa 10:47, 20 February 2008 (EST)

Sharing programs and games?

When a lot more people have this laptop, including developing countries, will they be able to share the things they make, such as games? I'd love to see how people can learn programming (myself too) by making simple games. Text games, even graphic games. I'd like to see what block party code looks like and if it's something I could make.

Yes, the system is specifically designed to encourage users to write, share, and customize programs. Users can write and modify Python-based activities on the XO; while the authoring process is currently a bit technical, it should become very easy once the Develop activity is fully operational. And once an activity is written, it can be shared to the neighborhood, where a child's friends can download it — at least, that's the plan given in the interface guidelines; I'm not sure if it's quite working like that yet. You can view the Block Party code in the source repository. —Joe 10:40, 13 December 2007 (EST)

QEMU emulation of XO - how can I copy files?

I have finally got my QEMU emulation to start up the latest image of the XO OS.

I am however having some trouble copying files to this emulation. It does not pick up my USB flash drive and the network does not seem to work.

How can I copy files from my Windows host machine to this emulated environment?

Thanks, Juan

Networking should work if you are using the right qemu commandline flags. I don't know if it's possible to make a host's flash drive visible to a qemu image, but I've had success using SSH to transfer files between host and client. There are instructions on the Emulation Help and Tips page. —Joe 10:06, 12 December 2007 (EST)

If you are using QEMU Manager then it has a menu item which starts an FTP server. You put the files into the directory shared by the FTP server and can connect to it from a booted XO image by:


user: QEMU

pwd: QEMU

The IP address is your physical machine's address.

THanks for the reply. I tried using the FTP of QEMU manager. I start up the file transfer service and it work within windows. But I cannot access the files from within the image OS?


reading file extension

How can I read the file extension of a stored/saved file?

SDK for the Users

Hi. Is the Software Development Kit (SDK), or whatever is used for software development on the XO available to the users or are they provided with similar access to Linux tools for development, gcc for example? Thanks. Regards. inimmo

For Python, yes, for C, no. We choose not to include software that most of the children will not use, so as to minimise the size of the builds and maximise the utility of the XO. But the C language tools such as gcc can be downloaded and installed using yum. --Quozl 00:59, 8 December 2007 (EST)

Laptop MS WORD capabilities?

Can someone use a traditional floppy disk and insert it into the computer to save MS WORD documents? Can someone use a jump drive?

I'm a teacher. My income is limited. I've perused your website and I've seen the program related to the OLPC project on tv. Your mission seems like a good one. I'm not a technological wiz. I don't know the difference between Linux and anything else.

I use computers for typing up Word documents, saving them to disk, and printing them out. I've worked as a journalist, and I've published about 60 articles. I've also published about 60 poems. So MS Word, saving and printing are my main interests. I type up assignments for students, and then print out multiple copies. I don't own a computer.

I also use the computer to surf the web. I usually use Yahoo! or Google. I enjoy looking at photos, reading articles, and poems, and viewing works of art (images). I rarely view video on Youtube or anywhere else. I rarely listen to music on the computer, but I enjoy these options. I mostly use the computer for web searching, and MS Word, and work and personal email. My schools have their own email systems: Outlook email, and I use Yahoo! mail. I also use webadvisor.

Based on what I've written could this laptop help me? Can I search Yahoo! and Google? Can I use MS WORD and save work on a disk? Can I access my work email?

Yours, Dan

The word processor on the XO is Abiword, not Microsoft Word, but it can apparently open and save Word files. As you might be aware, one problem with using a different word processor (even a different version of Microsoft Word) is that it may not format the page exactly the same as the original; you can try out Abiword on a Windows machine, to see if it opens/saves your documents correctly. The XO does not have a floppy disk drive, but you should be able to use USB thumb drives to transfer files. You will have to do your printing on another computer: the XO doesn't support printing yet. The XO can browse the web (including Yahoo and Google), and you can use it to do web-based e-mail like Yahoo mail, but it can't run Outlook. —Joe 13:51, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Cybiko Emulator

Can someone make a Cybiko game emulator for XO? Those are neat little games that can be used on a machine that small. If possible even get permission to include them with the XO's.

Sounds neat. Could you flesh this idea out a bit more? We have a page in this wiki on Cybiko already. The Wikipedia page for Cybiko mentions that there is freeware software. OLPC's licensing requirements are a little more strict than freeware, we need open source, so that we can distribute it fully without any restrictions. Could you work with the Cybiko community to get them involved here? Perhaps they have an open source emulator for Linux that could be packaged for XO. --Quozl 06:10, 4 December 2007 (EST)

School Server @ Home

Is it feasible/reasonable to build a School Server (using images provided) for use at a home where multiple XO's will reside? --919Guy

Yes, but that's a value judgement based on experience. We do welcome involvement in the development and testing of the school server, and this is one way you can contribute. What would be good is an identified version for general use by G1G1 users ... an image that can be loaded as a virtual machine or appliance on a family system, or on old hardware. The growing user community could adopt this as a task, in parallel with the OLPC work to generate school server builds for the mass deployments to schools. You can even start now, before an XO arrives, by running school server images in emulation with XO build images in other emulation containers. --Quozl 16:09, 29 November 2007 (EST)
Is there a consumer wireless card that could be added to a home server that would give it the capability to communicate over the mesh with any resident XO's? --919Guy
No, not yet. The XO uses the 802.11s draft standard for its mesh networking; since it's still a draft, there isn't other consumer hardware using the standard yet. This article predicts the standard may be finalized in mid-2008; I think it's unlikely that we'll see many consumer products implementing it before then. (The XO needs mesh functionality and doesn't need to talk to non-XOs on the mesh, which I guess is why they didn't mind using a potentially non-standard standard.) The school servers are apparently shipping with active antennas that can communicate with the mesh, but I wouldn't be surprised if a consumer 802.11b card would work nearly as well for a home-built server. —Joe 17:57, 30 November 2007 (EST)

Neighborhood Activity

How is the Neighborhood Activity organized? What is the relation, if any, to the location of the people icons to the center (logged in user)? Or are users just there by random? How many icons/people could be on that Neighborhood page? Why at times are some icons smaller? What is the maximum number of people that can be seen in the Neighborhood? What is the long range vision for this and its use? Thank you, Scott

A partial answer: in the current builds for shipping the Neighbourhood has random positioning of icons, and apparently no limit to the number of icons. Icons become smaller if they are engaged in a shared activity, so that they can be clustered around the activity icon. I don't know if there is a limit. A prototype has been built that determines position by radio signal strength and which laptops in a mesh can see other laptops. --Quozl 17:29, 29 November 2007 (EST)


I plan to participate in G1G1. Will XO function acceptably (audio only-not video) with Skype's Linux version. At 433 mhz it should, but I would like to know about user's experiences. Thanks.


We have no plans to support it. As with any third-party licensed software and services, you should contact the license issuer to see if they want to ensure it works on the XO. --Quozl 02:17, 27 November 2007 (EST)


Alo'ha, Is the XO compatible with the iPhone? Thanks! -- Grace Iurilli

No, not in the initial release. We have no plans to support it. As with any third-party software and hardware, you should contact the license issuer. --Quozl 02:17, 27 November 2007 (EST)


Is or will iTunes be supported on the XO Laptop?

No, not in the initial release. We have no plans to support it, or the commercial library service it provides. As with any third-party licensed software, you should contact the license issuer. Please direct your question to the owner of iTunes, Apple Inc. The XO can certainly play music in certain formats, and format conversion is trivial. See also Sonata music player, Music, and Manage a community around free music upload for OLPC --Quozl 21:17, 19 November 2007 (EST)

Boot Time

As of this date, October 12, 2007, as OLPC prepares to undergo full production, what is the boot time of the XO?

What a good idea, each build boot time could be graphed. Feel free to contribute such testing. Boot time should not be that important though, now that we have reliable suspend and resume. --Quozl 06:40, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Windows on the XO?

I just saw an interview on 11/14/2007 of Mr. Nicholas Negroponte on CNN just before noon EST. While the information I've found here says Windows will not be available on the XO, it was clearly stated in the interview that the XO DOES run Windows? Which information is true? Will it run MS Windows, or will it run Windows apps like Word and Excel? My mom is severely computer challenged and I had hopes that getting one for her through the Get 1 GIve 1 program would enable her to do email and the internet.

Technically both are true. Microsoft is reportedly working on a version of Windows XP for the XO, so "the XO runs Windows". But the XO is not shipping with Windows and Microsoft is not yet distributing their version of Windows for the XO, so "Windows is not available". Because of this, we have no idea whether it is capable of running Word or Excel or any other Windows software in particular. The XOs ship with a web browsing activity based on FireFox, so they can e-mail (via webmail like Google) and browse the internet. —Joe 13:43, 14 November 2007 (EST)

aMSN Pidgin Meebo Use

Do users have the ability to chat? what about MSN/ICQ etc etc.

yes. There is a Chat activity for the XO that allows the user to chat with other users in the local mesh, and there is an XoIRC activity that allows the user to chat on IRC,

meebo, pidgin and aMSN run with complications the lack of proper windows in sugar complicte matters, anyways here are the links. #amsn

Encrypting/Protecting file content

Hi, we are producing an educative/competitive game to teach language. We need to upload the scores to a remote database. We where thinking about using the MySQL connector for python, but, how can we encrypt/protect the user and password needed to establish the connection? Thanks!


Browser issue with SSL warning about invalid security certificate

When I point the browser to an https:// site at MIT, I get the error: "Secure Connection Failed. An error occurred during a connection to because it uses an invalid security certificate. The certificate is not trusted or its issuer certificate is invalid. (sec_error_unknown_issuer)"

In order to connect to my school network (MIT), I need to enter information on a SSL-secured page. However, the laptop's browser refused to display this page because it doesn't think the certificate is authentic. What can I do? Is there a way to disable this setting?

With other browsers, this is just a warning that I can safely ignore. But with the OLPC browser, the warning becomes an error and there's no way I can proceed with the website. Is there any way to change the settings so that the warning doesn't show up as a fatal error?

This is a known problem ( and
On there is a (very technical) possible work-around hack.
Else try installing Opera, it handles this situation correctly. Seems to work well for me so far.
The problem with the proposal of bringing up Opera is, to bring up Opera, I need a network connection. But to get a network connection, I need to get a proxy connection which uses a self-signed certificate, which causes the builtin Sugar browser to reject the request. I'm catch-22'd.
OLPC should either make it possible to shut off the certificate checking junk (it doesn't improve security anyway, why bother with it at all?), or include Opera as one of the builtin activities that can be installed without going to the web (like simcity).


I'm trying to learn how to learn the features of this laptop and have many questions such as can the browser function in tabs so that you can toggle between sessions. Also I noticed that I can't perform certain operations such as deleting bulk mail in my Yahoo email account. I'm just trying to understand the features and functions as they compare to a regular PC or laptop.

Thank you, John Karnuth

We don't yet support tabs in the browser. You can launch a second instance of the Browser activity (You'll get two Browsers in the Activity Circle on the Home View.) Shift-Tab should take you back and forth between them. However, note that the Browse activity consumes a fair amount of memory, so it is recommended that you close any other activities while you have two sessions running concurrently. --Walter 02:50, 20 December 2007 (EST)
We'll investigate the Yahoo bug. Thanks for reporting it. --Walter 02:52, 20 December 2007 (EST)
The latest version of Yahoo! Mail requires Windows XP, Windows 2000, or Mac OSX (see this page). Try changing back to the Classic version of Yahoo! Mail. I just checked, and the bulk delete does work using the classic version of Yahoo! Mail on the XO. BlankVerse 21:01, 29 December 2007 (EST)

Browser to access password protected web pages

I need to use my OLPC laptop to access a web page which is password protected, but I get an error message when I try to do so. It does not give me the form to enter my ID and password. Is there another browser which will let me do this? Thanks!

on further research this turns out to be a symptom of a larger problem, in killing off popups, they also killed of all browser dialog popups. there is a bug filed for this, with many other bugs marked as duplicates (many different symtoms, one cause). the browse activity is getting a significant upgrade in the first update (jan 2008) hopefully this fix will be in there.

Also, check out these:

downloading ebooks

are you able to download ebooks to this computer- how would one do that- is there a website or download site? I am looking for preschool to kindergarten grade books. Thanks

The availability of ebooks depends on the site. Though not specifically geared towards childrens books, you might search through Project Gutenberg which aims to collect and distribute public domain books.

You can try google books too, it offers public domain PDF downloads of books. It's really easy to use.


Does this computer have access to the internet, and are you able to download anything? My daughter is 12 and is using the computer a lot for school projects and reports. I need to know if this computer will work for her needs.

Please check with her teachers. They will be able to tell you what type of downloads and reports are needed. This computer can have access to the internet, if the correct wireless equipment is nearby, and can download things, but whether the downloaded information can be used properly will depend on what format it is in. This computer is quite different to other computers, although it does have a lot of similarities. It is best to check, to avoid trouble later. --Quozl 23:31, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Bookmarks in Web Browser?

The demo XO software I've seen doesn't support bookmarks in the Web browser. Is this the case for the actual XO as well? Seems like a major shortcoming for a computer aimed at kids. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Perhaps you are wrong. I have just looked at the Browse activity on build 625 running on a beta test laptop B4 ... once you navigate to a page the star icon at the top of the screen adds the link to a tray. A tray full of previously added links is shown if you join a shared Browse activity. The tray is recorded in the Journal entry. If you resume from the Journal entry, the tray is pre-populated with the added links, and the page that was displayed at the time of Browse close is redisplayed. So in summary, the bookmarks are there, stored in per session trays, inside the Journal. The complexity of bookmarks in adult consumer versions of web browsers ... isn't there. --Quozl 18:37, 29 November 2007 (EST)
My 2 gripes with the bookmarks is that (1) they are per-session, which is hard for my pre-conditioned brain to grok, and (2) they take up too much darned screen real estate. In general, the current design is good for shared browsing, but not so good for finding something again later. Maybe those two functions should be separated? --D Risacher 07 January 2008 (EST)

which search engine can be used with the G1G1?

Educationally searching for information is important. What search engine can be used? Also, for children in developed countries, A I M is a highly valued computer activity. (We parents might disagree!) Can A I M be loaded onto a G1G1 model? Is there some open source word processing function? Can files be transferred to other computers and then get printed?

Thank you Louisa-- 08:35, 23 November 2007 (EST)

Google is the norm, but any search engine should work fine. There is a chat activity, but it doesn't work with A I M. (you might be able to add one that works with A I M though) There is a word processor. Files can be transferred by a USB storage device; network transfer might be possible. 15:04, 23 November 2007 (EST)

Installing software

Streaming RealNetworks audio ?


I downloaded the helix player and installed it. Can't figure out how to play anything. There is no "file" command. Tried opening .ram files but nothing happens.

Jeff PS - Great laptop I am very impressed. The installed stuff is awesome.

Try downloading files from the browser into your Journal. Then resume them from the Journal--they should open with the Real player. --Walter 21:59, 15 December 2007 (EST)

A few bugs with my new XO

I received my XO via the G1G1 program a few days ago. I've figured out most of the functions but have encountered a few problems:

1. I can download activities from the library and they appear in the journal, but I can not launch them using the instructions provided in the wiki. 2. My activities do not include the terminal activity. When I go to directory to download the terminal activity I don't know which file to download. Of course it wouldn't help if I did since i can't launch it after down loading it. 3. When in the browse activity, clicking on 'back' button sometimes causes the activity to cancel (it closes and disappears from the home screen).

Thanks for your help.

Activities downloaded into the Journal should launch from the Journal by "resuming" them... what activities in particular did you try?
The terminal activity should be part of the core set. (Did you use the arrows to scroll the taskbar to the right?)
There is a new version of the browser coming out in January that should be more stable.

Additional software

Is there additional cost for the children to download the software that is avaliable to XO laptop. Also how big is the hard drive and what kind of cpu does it have. Thanks

While it would be possible for someone to make for-pay software for the XO, all the software on the Activities page is free to download. The flash drive is 1Gb; this and other hardware information is available on the Hardware page. —Joe 16:39, 20 December 2007 (EST)

how do you uninstall applications recently installed

some do not work like video and pingpong

Deleting the Journal entries associated with the downloads should delete the activities on the taskbar the next time you restart your machine. If that does not work, you can delete activities using the Terminal activity, but try the Journal method first.
Also, please add a comment on the Talk:Activities page regarding any problems you have encountered. Thanks. --Walter 02:47, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Tutorial re: Installing other Linux distributions on the XO ?

Can anyone point me to a step-by-step tutorial on how to install other linux distributions on the XO? I would like to end up with a dual-boot machine, with the Sugar OS remaining on the built-in drive and a basic Fedora 8 installation on an 8G SD card that I leave in place.

From a hardware perspective, I think I'm ready to go: I have a brand new XO, an 8G Class 6 SD card, a card reader and a desktop running Fedora 8.

From an expertise perspective, I am sorely lacking. I really need step-by-step instructions. I'm afraid that short cuts and linux jargon won't get me there. I need something methodical, along the lines of the "Fedora Tips & Tricks" section of G. Gulik's "" website, that assume little or no knowledge.

I don't want this to been seen as subversion of the OLPC mission. I plan to use this computer in my work life, however, and need more conventional functionality. I do want to keep Sugar in place, and have it available for anyone who is interested in exploring it.

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

I don't know about Fedora, but there is a list of instructions for installing Debian on the wiki. —Joe 17:12, 20 December 2007 (EST)
I'd like to second this request. I tried the Debian instructions, but only managed to make my laptop unable to boot. It would be nice to have generic, step-by-step instructions on either how to install any (appropriately sized) Linux distro as an alternate OS, or how to run a "live" build off either USB stick or SD card. - S. Dennett, 12/23/07

Uninstalling pre-loaded software

Hi. I just received my new xo laptop and was wondering how I could remove some of the pre-installed activities that have been loaded onto the computer. Thanks!

Activities are pre-installed in /usr/share/activities. You can remove them using the rm -r command as root, for example:
cd /usr/share/activities
rm -r TurtleArt.activity

Troubles installing the Flash plugin

First of all I’d like to say that this is an incredibly inspiring project, and I’m happy to be a part of it. That being said, I received a laptop this evening as a part of the b1g1 program and have been busily putting it through it’s paces in an effort to be somewhat helpful to my six year old daughter come Christmas morning. I would like to install Flash, as much of my daughters computer experience revolves around flash based educational websites. I tried following the [instructions provided][1] on this website to no avail (trying to install form the terminal window-where I received and error message, and from the “journal”-where there was no response). Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time

The instructions on the Adobe Flash page have been slightly modified. Please try again and report back. Thanks.

It worked like a dream! Thanks for the help!

AOL Instant Messenger

is there any way to install AOL Instant Messanger on the XO? Like under Debian or something, because im having trouble. -j.o.y

We don't currently support AOL IM on the XO. --Walter 17:36, 27 December 2007 (EST)

Downloading in Opera

Hello, I successfully downloaded Opera and it works great. When I download a file from opera, (for example a pdf) I see it is on the machine. How do I get these files to show up in the "Journal" so that I can view them and/or store them to my SD card? Thanks, Greg

Opera has not yet been fully integrated into the Sugar environment: in particular, it doesn't yet interact with the Journal. For the time being, you'll have to use the Firefox-based browser to download PDFs to your Journal. --Walter 17:31, 27 December 2007 (EST)

Compatibility with commercial swoftware developed for the linux platform

There are numerous commercial, educational software applications written for the linux platform (for example, lists about four dozen such titles). Is the XO capable of running these applications?

Yes, provided the software is compatible with the XO. You should contact each of the application vendors. They will certainly be interested. Some may already have XOs for testing. --Quozl 20:21, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Support of America Online Messenger (AIM)


Will I be able to use AIM on the XO?

Thank you

AIM-compatible software is available, but not included. The XO includes chat software that is easier to use. Note that the XO does not run most Windows and MacOS software, but it does include many easy-to-use programs. 14:29, 21 November 2007 (EST)

Is the included XO Chat software compatible with AOL Instant Message or Yahoo Messenger?

No. It lets any XO user chat with any other XO user. If you have a regular computer that is fast, you can run the XO software in an emulator to chat with XO users.

Flash Player for smooth Youtube & Google Video viewing

I recently tried the xo in NYC at the wired store. I was disappointed with youtube video playback. Will this be improved for the G1G1 laptops being produced (a better flash player for smooth internet video)?

Not likely, due to software licensing costs, and the very short time before G1G1 laptops begin to ship. However the community of owners is probably going to fix it for G1G1 owners. Stay in contact with other owners. --Quozl 02:16, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Adding additional software: emacs, latex, gv, lynx

How can one add the following applications (activities) to the suite? gnu utilities; emacs; latex; gv (ghostview); lynx (text browser); mysql. Would Fedora 7 RPMs work? What additional libraries need to be installed? Thanks ~

One would use yum to do this, and additional libraries would be handled automatically. One would also change from the default Sugar desktop environment to something more suited to emacs and gv. This is a small matter of configuration. --Quozl 06:31, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Will the OLPC be able to boot something like PUPPYOS via a USB stick?

Before I consider the purchase of two OLPC laptops, I would like to verify that the hardware will support booting Linux via USB flash devices. I know PuppyLinux was unfortunately quickly dismissed as a possible candidate to run on the OLPC hardware; however, since the AMD Geode is a x86 processor, I am in hopes I can boot PuppyLinux from USB attached devices, IE... USB Flash, Compact flash using USB adapter, hard drive/cdrom/dvdrom using sata/ide-to-USB adapter, etc.. Has anyone on the development team tried to boot any of the later PuppyOS releases on the current OLPC hardware? If so, how did it work?

Thanks Very Much In Advance Regards Ron

It can definitely boot from USB sticks; we do it all the time. It doesn't use a standard BIOS, so see the documentation for Open Firmware (Forth) about what files to put on the stick. Or download and poke at the Autoreinstallation image, which is booted from a USB stick.
The laptop has run Debian by using the OLPC kernel and kernel modules, and everything else from a standard Debian system. As far as I know, nobody has done the similar exercise with PuppyLinux. Most of the changes required for the hardware have been pushed upstream into the original packages. You may need to upgrade the X server in PuppyLinux as well as the kernel. It will definitely NOT work "out of the box". It will definitely work if you do some integration work. Go for it! -- gnu 19 Nov 2007


Is there any way to install JVM (Java Virtual Machine) or similar tool in XO o run java software?

The Java page implies that there is. —Joe 14:00, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
If a developer wants to use a JVM, one way to do it is by leveraging the technology from dotFX, Inc. dotFX enables developers to deliver live applications packaged as a link or direct to the desktop. An XO user can obtain an always updated JVM for example, managed by our technology, if a developer wants to package his/her software as secure, live software on our technology. Since the technology is not pre-loaded with XO, the first time a user comes to a website for example with your application packaged as link, he/she will get an initial download we call ClientFX which has the parts of the JVM dynamically loaded to use your app. After that, the user can click on any live application link and access software as easily as he/she access content today. See to download the ServerFX product for free. Or, email me with any questions. In addition, I check this site frequently, because I think what OLPC's mission is awesome. Thanks. -Pete President/co-founder dotFX, Inc

Porting exiting Java-based learning software to the XO

Dear Sirs,

I sent the following email to as directed by your web site. I received in return an autoresponder email that offers the ability to give laptops away. As you can see by the email I sent, this was not my purpose in contact. Aprend would be happy to contribute whatever it can in the future, but realistically, without software and a purpose, the XO will make a good boat anchor (for a very small boat at 3lbs.) How do we get in touch with a human (not autoresponder) to investigate at which level we may be of assistance? Sincerly, Rod Gilchrist Email originally sent:

My name is Rod Gilchrist. I have a small company in Austin, Texas named Aprend. We have developed a learning management system with integrated authorware. Our software is written totally in JAVA. Due to the features of JAVA, the translation of the GUI is a snap. Localization of language of the GUI, regardless of the language or dialect is very easy. The ability to create content is also very easy with the integrated authorware, localization of the GUI for the content creation software is also very easy. in addition, due to JAVA, our software runs under virtually any OS on any hardware.
It appears to me that the OLPC XO project could possibly use our software to deliver education to children using your laptops all over the world, in their localized language. I would like to investigate an alliance between Aprend and your project to possibly provide our software with the XO laptop to enable educators at the user end of your project. Please contact me if you are interested. I have attached a trifold brochure word file in hopes of explaining the features to you.
Sincerely, Roderick E. Gilchrist, CEO
Aprend Software / (512) 328-5119 / rod@/email/
Java is not supported.
Rod - I am the President of dotFX, Inc ( We innovated a technology which can take existing Java applications and make them live - accessible as a clickable link or direct from the desktop. If the Aprend Software solution is placed on the dotFX framework it becomes "live" software. We manage the delivery of the application and underlying JVM/JRE dynamically. Currently OLPC does not support Java; however, I am a believer in their mission and think that access to free software for kids around the world, securely, is very important. If your software is packaged as a live application, then OLPC kids can access a JVM to their machine organically. The policy decision for OLPC for Java one way or another can be made over time; however, in the interim, there is a path. Let me know if you have any questions. -Pete / President, co-founder, dotFX, Inc / / pete@/email/
Rod, Pete - It may help both of you to know that the stated requirement for software included on the XO laptops will all be open-source. That said, there are developers who are working to make their proprietary software able to run on the XO, with the understanding that for the foreseeable future those programs will not be bundled. In other words, the XO is not a platform for profit-seeking companies or individuals to capitalize upon at this time. Best regards, RKV
RKV - Thanks. I had a dialog with Joe on that too. Our ServerFX is for free. We have no API/IDE needed, so unlike any other IDE vendor I know of, there is no future risk of developers / users being forced into payment, since the developer can at any time choose to stop using our technology and it does not set back his/her code base, since we did not cause change in the first place. In fact, developers can use us speculatively at any point in the lifecycle of software - design, build, or service post launch. The 30k existing Java applications in open source for example can be packaged as a live clickable link (eg OLPC icon on the desktop) where OLPC and 3rd party open source developers could publish live apps as links into for free for OLPC users around the world, eg games, productivity software, etc -- all types at for example. As I mentioned to Joe, we are not allergic to making ServerFX open source; however, we want to make that decision if there is enough demand with OLPC and other channels we are discussing. We manage the update issue with the framework, any JRE version running, and the applications. I have not yet Rod from Aprend yet, so I am not sure what he is thinking. In my case however, also because of my non profit work in global education (eg board member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, etc), the OLPC mission is consistent with my personal interests in access and success for all kids, especially via technology as one tool. I love your guys mission - whether dotFX can help or not. - Pete, dotFX

MP3 files

I noticed that one cannot download speech podcasts in mp3 format to the xo. Is there any way to download these mp3 files, or download software that will allow it?

There is MP3 software that can run on the laptops, but it's not clear whether it will ship with the laptops or, if not, how easy it will be for a user to install. See the RestrictedFormats page. —Joe 12:55, 26 October 2007 (EDT)

I have been able to play MP3's in a very specific way. If I download them from either Opera or the Browse activity, you can play them from the Journal. It allows you to open it in Etoys and play it with a MPEG player. Unfortunately, this does not apply to anything from a SD drive or USB. When you try to do the same thing from the Journal (when the SD or USB is mounted - i.e. you can see a tiny picture of it at the bottom of the journal - it opens in Etoys but then crashes with a "you should probably abandon this" error. -- I must be doing something wrong because my name and date don't appear on the next line. -Lynn 7:45 4, February, 2008 (EDT)

-Lynn, 7:45, February 4, 2008 (EDT)

-Lynn, 7:45, 4, February 4, 2008 (EDT)

Microsoft Windows XP on XOs

Microsoft has been talking about getting the XP to work on the XO systems. I personally would consider Microsoft having anything to do with this project as a mistake. One of the core principals is free and open source software and any moves to work with Microsoft on this project would run contrary to this. Will the OLPC initiative be staying open source and sticking with Linux? -- Thomas (New Zealand)

According to the list of OLPC myths, the officially distributed OS is still Linux. However, an open system means that anyone (including Microsoft) can develop for it. —Joe 17:25, 26 October 2007 (EDT)

dotFX Java Framework

dotFX, Inc. ( has a free framework product called ServerFX which allows the 6 million java developers to take existing java applications and make them "live" software, i.e. desktop distributed through the Internet securely. For example, there are 30,000 existing Java applications (desktop apps / "dead" apps) which can be packaged as a clickable link / icon on the desktop or within a browser. This provides extreme ease of use and ease of access for OLPC users to many free software applications, not previously accessible. Please let me know if you would like to learn more. I am interested in leveraging the dotFX innovative technology for the OLPC mission.

Very truly yours -- Pete Hartigan, President, co-founder,, pete@/email/

I can't say whether or not the OLPC people are interested in your product, but note that the XO laptop is being distributed only with open source software and it is not currently shipping with Java. —Joe 12:31, 27 October 2007 (EDT)
If there are java developers interested in distributing their software, we can package their software as a "link" in a browser, or as a desktop icon. We manage the JVM for the developer and OLPC. It does not need to be distributed upfront. That is a decision OLPC can make either way, since our free installer and live update features can handle all of this pain for developers. As far as open source, we are not allergic to that consideration if there is proper demand. The key however is the value for the end user --- there are 30,000 existing java applications in open source for example which no one really uses -- we can package these as "links" and make them accessible to the common user -- ie they get free software, live from the network, in an easily accessible manner & updated for them with only deltas each time each user clicks on an application. Our framework provides mechanism for developers to run the apps offline or online, and provision in other ways if they want - yet at a high level the value for OLPC users around the world is straight forward. Get access to free software easily and none of them need to learn how to manage the software. For OLPC project - it is more value for basically no cost. For OLPC and developers, since we can publish services inline at runtime - if people want to monetize their work, we can package an ad object, license object (for premium services), and other revenue generating mechanisms on demand. - Pete
Few highlights for OLPC kids and developers:
1. Environment is secure - so kids around the world can click on apps and have a true security model (vs abdication of security with a trust/no trust decision being forced upfront)
2. Online / Offline
3. Low network footprint - eg if a child is in Africa, India or China for example with low bandwidth - this technique gets full functionality to them in low network availability areas of the world.
4. Infinite number of applications possible on a small hard drive - dynamic applications / servcies - taken on and off as required
5. Applications are monitorable if desired - In the context of social networking applications with kids involved, the browser is generally not good enough to ward off the risk of preditors for example. A developer may choose to want a more monitorable environment for safety purposes. We provide the mechanism if developers want it.

Please consider adding "childsplay" to software packages...

The "childsplay" package is a wonderful Python based package that has kept my 3.5 year old productively engaged for the last couple of months and it seems that it would be ideally suited for inclusion in the OLPC software suite. More info on it can be found at:

Thanks for considering this suggestion.


Dominic Caffey,

The author of childsplay, Stas Zytkiewicz, has expressed interest in porting it to the XO and apparently has had a preliminary version of it running, so I think there's a good chance it will eventually be available. —Joe 16:28, 28 October 2007 (EDT)
Update: Schoolsplay. —Joe 08:33, 27 November 2007 (EST)

possible to download a mapping program?

Can tne DeLorean mapping software be loaded into your computer?

You would have to ask the software manufacturer that question, sorry. --Quozl 18:29, 18 November 2007 (EST)

Microsoft compatibility

Would it be possible to load a Microsoft Windows OS on these?

While Microsoft is reportedly working on a version of Windows XP for the XO laptops, it is not known how successful they have been or if they plan to make the result available to the public. So for now the answer is no. —Joe 14:25, 9 November 2007 (EST)

XO as sunlight-readable SSH terminal

Does the XO come with an SSH client? I'm considering buying one through G1G1, to use it as a sunlight-readable SSH terminal in monochrome mode (using 802.11b/g wireless). X-forwarding would be nice, too, but it isn't crucial. If an SSH client isn't already installed, how could I install one?

It does have ssh. If it didn't, "yum install ssh" would fix the problem. X forwarding works, but sometimes things need bigger fonts for the XO screen.
It would be fantastic as an SSH terminal. Current builds certainly have ssh and sshd. I'm looking at build 625. You can change default runlevel in /etc/inittab to 4, then log in as root and startx ... you get twm, xclock and xterm, and ssh -X works fine, I used it just now to run konqueror remote, with no font problems. A B4 is quite snappy in this mode. You could also use olpc-update to convert to build-debian and run the X server with a window manager like fluxbox. --Quozl 19:21, 29 November 2007 (EST)

yahoo chat?

Would you be able to download yahoo chat and use the yahoo email programs on the laptop?

You probably won't be able to download and install Yahoo Messenger, at least not easily; there is a UNIX version, but Yahoo would have to create a special version for the XO for it to be easy to use. The Browse activity should be able to access Yahoo's web mail client. —Joe 22:55, 25 November 2007 (EST)
You can use Meebo with it, however. ffm 17:16, 9 December 2007 (EST)

Java & Flash... Limited Support

Does anyone know exactly what Limited Support for Flash and Java means? What functionality will the students have? Thanks in Advance, Lee

The laptop is not shipping with Java or the official Flash plugin, but the users may be able to install it themselves; see RestrictedFormats. The laptop is apparently shipping with the Gnash Flash plugin installed, which is able to play a limited subset of Flash content. —Joe 14:18, 2 December 2007 (EST)

Java plugin not working

I installed Sun Java according to the instructions on the Restricted Formats page.

When I type in about:plugins to see if the plugin worked, I do not see it among the list of installed plugins. In the log viewer activity there is an error message under org.laptop.WebActivity-1.log that says

LoadPlugin: failed to initialize shared library /usr/java/jre1.5.0_11/plugin/i386/ns7/ [/usr/java/jre1.5.0_11/plugin/i386/ns7/ undefined symbol: _ZTVN10__cxxabiv121__vmi_class_type_infoE]

I've tried Sun JRE 1.5 update 11, 1.5 update 13, and 6 update 3 with similar results. Is the Browser application compatible with the Java plugin? I am using build 650 on a G1G1 OLPC. Java appears to be installed correctly otherwise. Is there something wrong with the xulrunner build that prevents the plugin from working? eeTommyJ 03:28, 29 December 2007 (EST)

Factory settings

Restore to factory settings

I am planning on giving away my XO when I finish playing, how do I restore to factory settings?

You can delete the files in /home/olpc/.sugar/default/ (See Customizing_NAND_images#Forcing_Sugar_to_reprompt_for_name_and_colors and Sugar Control Panel

How do we register the laptop that we have received?

When we were on-line, we clicked on register in the laptop's home menu but nothing seemed to happen. How do we register the laptop?

Registering is not for G1G1 participants but is for children in developing countries to register the laptop with the school server. --Erik 22:53, 24 December 2007 (EST)

Name change

Could anyone explain how one can reset the user name and/or colors is plan English with a detailed description?

How do I change the name that I first entered when initially starting the computer for the first time? Please send response to

To change the nickname of your XO, you need to use the Sugar Control Panel.
  1. launch the Terminal activity;
  2. type: sugar-control-panel -s nick your-new-nick-name
  3. press "Enter" to apply your change and you will be prompted to "restart sugar" by pressing ctrl+alt+erase simultaneously on the XO keyboard
for example:
sugar-control-panel -s nick Moses

Color change

To change the colors of your XO, you also need to use the Sugar Control Panel.
  1. launch the Terminal activity;
  2. type: sugar-control-panel -s color stroke-color fill-color stroke-shade fill-shade
For example, to set the outline color of the icon (the stroke color) to Medium Red,
and the interior color of the icon (the fill color) to Dark Blue:
sugar-control-panel -s color red blue medium dark
See the Buddy Icon Color Matrix at Media:Buddy-Icon-Color-Matrix.pdf to
get the color names to use in the sugar-control-panel command for your desired
icon colors.

Does the XO still take the user's picture on first boot? If so, how can this pic be changed later?

A picture is not taken at first boot.

Changing the "name" of my laptop

Is it possible to change the name of my laptop after I gave it a name to start it up?

Yes. See the Support FAQ. —Joe 22:51, 18 December 2007 (EST)


I entered the nickname of the computer incorrectly for my grandchildren. How do I go about changing it? The instructions for Terminal Activity are incredibly confusing.



Yes. See the Support FAQ. --IanOsgood 10:56, 22 December 2007 (EST)

the initial startup name and picture

When the XO booted up for the first time it asked for the name which I typed but it never did take a picture- that I know of- can you tell me how to get this initial picture and where will it be displayed? Thanks

The current version of the software does not take a picture of the user on startup; this feature was removed. You can tell whether or not the camera is taking a picture by whether or not the little light above it is on. —Joe 16:11, 25 December 2007 (EST)

Redo First Boot?

I read in the online User's Guide that the first time the user turns on their new XO the system will ask for the child's name, allow them to select an icon color for the mesh display, and take their picture. Is this how the G1G1 units work also, and is it possible to rerun this routine if the wrong user turns the unit on the first time?

As I understand it, the G1G1 units will also work this way. Resetting the name, color, and photo should be a matter of deleting a few files from the "/home/olpc/.sugar/default" directory ("config" and "buddy-icon.jpg", I believe). So it's currently a bit technical, but it's possible. Color and nick might also be changeable via the command-line Sugar Control Panel, and they are planned to be in the user interface control panel, which should make changing them easy. There is some (old) discussion on the subject of changing color, name, and photo on the Sugar mailing list. —Joe 19:24, 29 November 2007 (EST)
Update: Better instructions for changing the name/color are here. —Joe 13:45, 30 November 2007 (EST)


How to print

How do you print from the XO? I am connected to a wi-fi connection that is attached to a printer, but the Write activity does not seem to have a print option.

See the "Can I print from the XO laptop?" in the Support FAQ. —Joe 18:35, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Printers and Printing

(five identical questions merged): Is it possible to print from this computer? If so, what printer and printer software works?

We've not yet exposed a printer interface in the UI. Most network printers and many USB printers should work with the XO, but we haven't had the time to qualify these solutions yet. Perhaps someone in the community can get started on this in parallel with our efforts. (We made our display of very high quality in part to reduce the need for printing.) Printing has not been part of our design target, since printing will be handled by school servers rather than the laptops. There is no technical reason why software cannot print from these computers ... and I have done it with networked printers via the wireless network using special tools. It is just that we don't need it yet. We do recognize that "give 1 get 1" XOs are going into the first-world community which is rich in printing services, but we don't have the time right now to work on this problem. People who want to help can coordinate via the Printing page, and collaborate within the user groups. --Joe and Quozl 04:11, 23 November 2007 (EST)

G1G1 XO: Printers, Windows XP, Microsoft Office? (had been "American Children")

I would want a computer that can attach to the laser printer I already have. I would want it to run at least Windows XP and XP office. I have this on my desktop. Child could exchange information espcially as he gets older with printers, and be familiar with Microsoft products and have an advantage when he enters the workforce. Does the XO laptop answer these questions for my future child?

See the answers above for printing and Windows XP. In both cases the answer is that the XO doesn't support it now, but it might in the future. If it were me, though, I wouldn't make hardware and software decisions for a child that hasn't been born yet. While it's true that the XO is probably safer for children than other computers, computers in general aren't really appropriate for very young or unborn children. And early training in a particular software program might not be that valuable: by the time your child is old enough to get a job, knowledge of XP will be about as valuable as knowledge of Windows 3.1 is today. —Joe 12:05, 8 December 2007 (EST)
I don't think the XO is at all appropriate for learning how computers used to work. But they can help to teach the fundamentals ... the basic ideas that are common themes in computer assisted life. --Quozl 19:23, 8 December 2007 (EST)

Italic text


booting from an sd

hey, could you detail how to boot from an sd card? ive attempted holding down the x gamepad button during upload to activate the ok prompt and open firmware system, but to no avail. id really appreciate it.

Holding down the 'X' game pad key forces secure boot when in non-secure mode; not clear that this is what you want to be doing. If the image on the SD card is signed, then if should just work. If the image is unsigned, the machine will not boot it unless you have turned off security. To do the latter, you need to get a developer's key (See Activation_and_Developer_Keys).

SD card

Will files on SD cards be available in the Journal like those on USB drives?


How can I mount a usb stick on xo?

How can I mount a usb stick on xo?

See "How do I save or retrieve files from a USB drive?" in the Support FAQ. —Joe 13:56, 21 December 2007 (EST)

Save to a USB stick

How can I save pictures in my XO into a USB stick?

See "How do I save or retrieve files from a USB drive?" in the Support FAQ. —Joe 13:56, 21 December 2007 (EST)

USB devices don't seem to mount

I have tried several USB thumb drives in all of the USB ports and none of them show up on the bottom of the Journal page (no matter how long I wait, or how many times I plug / unplug them.)

Also, if I plug in a USB mouse, it never seems to come up.

I'm beginning to think that there is a USB hardware problem, but don't know if there is some Linux level troubleshooting I ought to be doing (I haven't used Linux in years, so this is problematic.)

Any advice?

I think you have a bad XO hardware problem. Sounds like you should call OLPC directly and report a hardware problem. I'm just a fellow XO user. Do you have a WIFI connection and did you click "register" while connected to the internet? I had some problems which may have been solved by "registering" mine. But I don't know if the USB was one of them. Both my Xo laptops work with USB without any problems. I did have a case where one of them went to sleep and I had closed the case with it on. When I opened up the xo the USB drive and keyboard would not respond. But I was able to get it to work by rebooting.

My Xo laptops have mounted every USB key, keyboard and even a 100 gig Seagate USB drive, so far. If the key isn't mounting that's a big problem also because you need to be able to pull an emergency new image of the machine from a USB key. Greg (

Thanks for the response, pvideo, being a newbie I wasn't sure if maybe there was something I was supposed to do to enable USB. I'll give them a call.

I just read on the developer's pages that the "Register" process is non-functional for the US customers and is intended to be used e.g. when a school has set up a network and want each child to register. So with respect, it seems highly unlikely that registering solved the USB problem. I have had no problem with USB mini-mouse or thumbdrives - able to load and save documents to and from my PC.

As a request to OLPC, as most U.S. customers are used to "registering" new software, it seems highly likely that many/most of us will try making the Register selection, when we see it on the hover menu. If nothing actually happens, that's fine, but I think this should be clarified on the "Getting Started" pages. Laurel --Larushka 05:30, 30 December 2007 (EST)

Save a picture from xo into USB stick

I tried to save pictures from my XO in USB stick. My USB now contain a folder And there is no picture in that folder. How shall I proceed? Thanx

When you insert a USB stick in the XO, its contents are indexed so that it can be used by the Journal. You can copy files from your Journal to the USB stick by dragging them onto the the USB icon that shows up at the bottom of the Journal screen. You can view the contents of the USB stick from the Journal by clicking on USB icon. You can unmount the USB stick from the menu that appears when you hover over the icon. Please refer to --Walter 17:36, 27 December 2007 (EST)

Thanx - But my problem is not saving to the USB stick. i already did that and my pictures ARE in the USB. I tried ubuntu and i can't open it in my laptop(not the xo). But i can see the pictures from the usb on the xo. how shall i get the pictures on my laptop?

I'm sure how to reproduce this bug. Have you tried using a factory "fresh" USB key? In the meanwhile, if you have network access, you can upload your pictures from the Browse activity, e.g., uploading attachments in gmail, etc. --Walter 08:43, 3 January 2008 (EST)

Walter: thank you , yes my USB is fine. i open a drawing i made in my xo on my non-xo laptop(using the same USB). The problem is i can't do the same with the pictures.

This really is interesting. We've never seen this bug in our testing. I'll file a bug report. In the meantime, may I suggest that you try doing an upgrade to Build 653? There were a few—seemingly unrelated—Journal fixes in that upgrade. Maybe it will make a difference. (See Olpc-update). --Walter 07:40, 17 January 2008 (EST)
Our current hypothesis is that perhaps you are dragging the record activity rather the pictures themselves from the Journal to the USB? The record activity has no file associated with it. The individual pictures contain the files. The draw activity does have the file associated with it, hence it works as per your description above. --Walter 20:50, 17 January 2008 (EST)

Walter: Thank u very much... IT WORKS.

Can you use a USB keyboard?

If an adult wants to use the XO, can they plug in a standard USB keyboard in order to type comfortably?

Yes. An adult or a child can plug in a standard USB keyboard and it should work. All the keyboards I've tested worked immediately, no configuration required. --Quozl 19:20, 8 December 2007 (EST)

SD card size?

How large an sd card can the xo use?

Any size SD or SDHC card you can buy should work, and we've tested up to 8GB which was the largest we could get at the time. --gnu 29 Nov 2007

Why is this information not listed in the user guide?

NetJet and other USB add ons

I ordered one of these computers throught the G1/G1 deal (which is awesome btw) for my son... for Christmas I bought him a Internet Game Controller (NetJet) which uses a USB connection to connect to their secure website in order to play online games, there is no software to download. MY question is, will it work on the XO? The NetJet packaging specifically says its will not work on a MAC, and its preference is Windows... but would it still work through Linux?

thanks much, keep up the great work :)


Sorry, from what I see online, it looks like the NetJet system is a Windows-only affair. (And even if Windows were available for the XO, it's unlikely that the XO would satisfy the other product requirements, like processor speed or 3D-accelerated graphics.) —Joe 18:17, 14 November 2007 (EST)

USB Port as Charger

Some things, such as iPods utilize USB ports as a power source for recharging. Will the USB Ports in the XO laptop still charge things like iPods?

Yes, it will charge those sort of things, but I've not personally tested an iPod. I've used an XO to run an LED desk lamp. The USB ports comply with the USB 2.0 specification, and therefore provide 5V for charging any devices that draw current within the specifications. See the "definitive laptop specification" link on the Hardware specification page. On page 16 it says Unlike a regular laptop, which provides up to 2.5W per USB port, the XO provides a total power consumption of 5W for all three USB ports. This may be shared equally among all the ports or drawn through a single one, but cannot be exceeded. --Quozl 03:00, 20 November 2007 (EST)

Does that mean you can go the other direction, and charge the XO from a USB port?

CD Rom

Can you put a CD into this computer?

  • there is no CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, (because they are not needed, are quite costly per unit, contain moving parts, and would break too easily),
  • you can add an external CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, (if the drive is inside a case that has a USB socket, with a USB cable to the computer, this has been tested),
  • the provided software may not be intended to work with a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, and you may have to obtain additional software to do so,
  • you can place a CD in another computer and access it through the wireless internet, if you have the right software,
  • if you are asking about a particular CD you already have, such as a game, then it is very very unlikely to work, because it was not made for this computer,
  • the computer does not have a floppy disc drive either.
--Quozl 17:08, 20 November 2007 (EST)


Where can I find information on which peripherals will work with the laptop, such as mouse, optical drive, printer.

Any normal mouse should work just fine. 14:25, 21 November 2007 (EST)
Optical drives and printers which are supported by Fedora Core 7 will work, but currently this is likely to require some technical expertise involving a text-mode command prompt. This situation is likely to improve. You may prefer to copy files to a regular computer for printing. 14:25, 21 November 2007 (EST)
Well, lots of info is in this wiki, but it can be hard to find. The search function to the left is primitive; I used these two search terms on Google:
to find this wiki page Peripherals. That page seems to list a lot of maybes, and it looks like you're looking for is'es. USB_peripherals seems to have more of this info. ~ Hexagonal 17:16, 21 November 2007 (EST)

The Network

If you have questions about connecting to the Internet, please see these pages:

my xo will not connect to the internet

got mine today.....upgraded software from 623 to 653, still will not log on...the circle around the user flashes white but it will not browse the internet...or log on

Please see


Greg's Big list of questions - features missing, bug list, etc.

Merry Christmas everyone,

I hope I haven't left to much coal dust in the OLPC stocking with this post?

See above link for details: Here's a pretty big list of bugs. I could have listed these each in a separate section but decided to be quick and list them all together. I'm only including a table of contents from the PDF reference at the beginning of this with a comment per line.


1. Add drive ribbon and functions to detailed Journal File view - Feature Request

Allow movement to USB from Journal view while in detail edit mode using drag and drop and added ribbon.

2. Browser will often terminate when selecting View (+) magnify or (-) reduce with the mouse - Bug.

Browser terminates on both my X0 machines using pointer more often than not.

3. Sharing documents using ABIWord - Bug.

Can crash application.

3b. Shared document: Second party cannot save a copy of the document?

Was it planned that only the originator could save a shared document?

3c. Losing focus from the Shared ABIWord document causes the ABIWord process to end on the shared machine - Bug?

Second sharing user goes to HOME to find something to contribute to the Word activity and loses the ABIWord session.

4. ABIWord will insert opens jpgs but not png files - Feature Request

Can't easily document bugs with screenshots, because you can't include them in ABIWord docs.

5. ABIWord does not export pictures in html files - feature request or bug.

Both HTML and RTF files are missing pictures when saved? Please fix.

6. ABIWord rtfs cannot be opened on Macintosh (maybe all) computers - Feature request.

Can't even see the same document, it opens with a bunch of control ascii stuff.

7. Incremental number in auto naming - Feature Request.

Why are all screenshots named the exact same name instead of Screenshot00001, 00002, etc.

7b. Journal SHADE LAST SELECTION - Feature Request

When you go from Journal to USB in viewing lists of what's on each device you can't tell where you were in the other drive when returning. Shade, put a mark on the previous view or something.

7c. “Multiple file select” for drag and drop - Feature Request

(This is a little bit of a repeat, I understand they are working on doing something.)

8. Advanced interface toggle interface options - Feature Request.

(Maybe a thought toward an interface that can be "layered" on or off.)

9. Sort Journal in other ways - Feature Request

(If names mean anything, we need to sort them, and searching would help also.)

10. FOR KIDS - Re-orient four pointer button to screen - Bug.

(Four button arrow doesn't reorient with screen orientation change.)

11. Easy FTP-like publishing/sharing of files for MESH - Feature Request.

(Need better peer to peer sharing capability in the base XO unit, to allow easy serving of PDF's, files, etc, beyond the activity.)

12. Search text in PDF files - Feature Request

Wow, we really need a way to search for a text word in a PDF reader. This is a must for any serious study of ebooks.

13. Search filenames inside Journal - Feature Request.

(Self explained.)

I added a couple extra comments. Hopefully not to much against the OLPC programmers and decision makers. I just kind of wonder if the approach was the most optimum way to release this product, seems like killer hardware, with sub-standard software for the release. There's a lot of great stuff there, it seems like you were trying to bench press the world on your shoulders at first try.

Greg ( precision video (an old company name I used to dabble in video.)

This is good stuff, Greg. Have you considered e-mailing it to the bug e-mail address or filing bug reports on the bug tracker? It looks like some of these are already being worked on—e.g. rotated direction pad, AbiWord/Write crashing while shared, Browse crashing while zoomed. —Joe 11:24, 27 December 2007 (EST)

Too many activities

with multiple activities opn it is impossible to moe the cursor to shut down specific activities because an attempt to move the curser to an acivity list comprresses and evaporates the possiblity of movimg the cursor to activate the shutdown. Now a batererty removal. reboot is required to shut down.

In the troubleshooting guide we recommend you limit the number of concurrent activities running to 2-3. We also mention the keyboard shortcuts, including Ctrl-Esc, which closes activities: there is no need to use the hover menus to close activities. --Walter 22:04, 14 December 2007 (EST)

Give 1: Get One program --> how to run another OS on my olpc XO

While I am fascinated to try the sugar UI paradigm, I feel that I may wish to run a different light linux distro on an olpc that I get through the "Give 1: Get 1" program in order to work with a broader and more current selection of packages. This raises a number of questions which I haven't been able to find answers for:

  • What distros other than the stock image will install easily on the OLPC? I know fedora is related to the OLPC stock image, but is fedora light enough? What about DSL or another light distro?
  • What drivers and other software may need to be hand added to these distros to take advantage of the networking and display optimizations of the XO?
  • Does the XO hardware have the capability to work with more standard network topologies and use standards such as WPA?
"Easily" is a relative term, and even more so when combined with the words "installing Linux". :) There is a page on the wiki that tells how to install a fairly vanilla Debian on the OLPC (and there's also one for installing Fedora Core, but that is quite old and uses a custom image). Given that Debian goes on fairly easily (where "easily" requires command-line work, a USB key, and an additional Debian machine), I imagine other Linux distributions could be made to work as well. I have seen the XO running off of commodity 802.11b wireless networking, and I understand it also works with ethernet if you have a USB adapter (but not just any adapter will work). —Joe 15:01, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
I am seriously considering installing Pepper. The Pepper people have a free download and instructions at Pepper will include Java and--philosophically incorrect though it may be--Flash. Lots of websites expect you to have these two things. The Nose
Warning: The Pepper port is seriously out of date. People who tried to load it ran into some trouble.

My OLPC G1G1 won't work with the autoreinstallation process....

Anyone: Got my OLPC XO today in the mail. As soon as I opened it I wanted to install Pepper Linux on it to see how it worked. After installing it and realizing that under pepper the keyboard and trackpad don't work, I tried to reinstall following the instructions on the page. I did everything that the page said to do to reinstall, but it still boots into Pepper. Any help on this?

Did you try the recover process: Try holding the 'O' game pad key: during boot: this should boot from an alternate image (the one shipped with the machine).
Did anyone ever find a solution to this problem? I am having the same issue.
Follow the directions in this post:

Failed Pepper Install

Hi, I recently tried to install the Pepper version of Linux and I cannot get the keyboard or mouse to respond after I installed it. So, I decided to revert to the os653 install. However, I cannot seem to get the install to work. I tried a USB flash drive and a SD card. I cannot get windows to format either or at 512 bytes per sector, the format always fails. So I'm guessing that is the problem. Any ideas on how to at least restore my little girl's XO to its' original condition?

Did you try the suggestion we made to your previous post?
When you refer to formatting, I presune you referring to the USB stick for loading the installation image? Please refer to the instructions found on the Autoreinstallation image page for more details re preparing the image.
The majority of problems that have been reported are due to the file format on the USB key or SD card. If you have trouble, the first remedy to try is factory-formatted media, which by default should be a flavor of FAT.

Actually that first post about Pepper was not mine, wish I had read that before I tried installing Pepper. Anyway, yes I have tried holding down the O key. I've tried it with no media, with a USB drive, with a SD card, and with both at the same time. The USB drive and the SD card are both formatted with FAT, and both have the boot directory with all six files to reinstall the image. In all of these cases I get a screen with a sad face saying "Boot failed Powering off in 10 seconds". I can see that the system does in fact recognize when there is a USB drive or a SD card present as there are yellow dashes underneath icons of the USB drive and SD card when they are there on this screen.

Okay, so now I was able to at least start a re-image process from the internal flash by holding down the X and the checkmark buttons while hitting the power button. The process starts, but before it can get to the first reboot Pepper starts again. I can't figure out how to kill this stupid OS. Any suggestions? Is there a way to interrupt the boot process, get a command line interface, and delete everything in flash except for the boot directory? I think that might do it, but I'm such a novice with unix and linux that I can't figure this out.

Finally solved the problem! In fact I'm making this edit from my daughter's XO right now. Here's how to do it: 1. Format a USB drive of at least 512MB as FAT with 512 byte allocation size. (I could not do this in Windows, the format would always fail. I had to run Knoppix Linux from a CD and use a tool called Parted to do it.) 2. Download and os650.img from Don't use 653, doesn't work. 3. Copy these 2 files to the root of your USB drive. 4. Insert the USB drive into the XO, hold down all 4 game buttons, and power up. Let go of the game buttons when prompted. The XO will now be reimaged. Yea!

Took me like 8 hours to figure all this out, so I hope this saves some people some serious frustration.

Sorry you had such a frustrating experience but glad that you persistence paid off and even more glad that you were willing to share your success with the community. One thing I've learned from your experience is that we should make our recommendation to use factory-formatted USB sticks more prominent on the auto-re-installation page. Hope your daughter enjoys her XO. --Walter 07:02, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Unable to recover space from my XO laptop - Ran out of space.

Note: This queston 262 and my later question 273 are related.  Also this problem might cause problem 266 listed below

When I launch the RECORD tool it states the "disk is full".

I'm deleting the PDF's and other images, etc that I had loaded on the XO. This from the journal (detail view of each file).

This is a pain. I deleted many files according to documentation statements I've read deleting with erase will erase the file from memory. It appears it deleting the journal entry of the event. But apparently the disk space is still reserved and I still get the "out of disk space" message.

I'm now looking at the thing from a Linux console perspective and reading Linux documentation regarding where in the paths the user data may be. Apparently there are encoded file names that have some long generated name that exists on the flash drive and these may have to be deleted from a Linux console in order to recover some free space.

I saw an review that stated the XO automatically does disk cleanup. Maybe it does it as a part of the interaction with a school server or based on some setting I'm not aware of. It certainly isn't working on my machine. At least not with the "recorder" program.

I'm going to do more testing. Any clues? I know this is locked down to prevent kids from erasing files, at least that is how it appears it's designed. We need a good finder or file manager that is graphical and allows bulk selection and deletion of files in a logical manner. For it to be useful to normal folks, it's really needs this added feature. (Am I missing something from the Journal I don't know about?) I cannot understand why I'd have to open each file in the past in order to delete it. That's inefficient. - Greg ( Dec 21

--- Greg ( responds to Walter. Thanks for the answer.

The journal can ERASE registered files, but cannot erase files which are not fully opened. Looks like any large file that cannot be fully opened stays in the DATA directory. I have more info in a different post below.

Getting rid of the data store as you suggested would clean it up. See my other problem description we need a fix. ( Thanks again, Greg)

In a pinch, you can remove your entire datastore, but you will lose all of your work unless you first back it up:
rm -r /home/olpc/.sugar/defaults/datastore
We plan to add bulk delete in an update sooner than later. --Walter 22:33, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Cannot boot XO laptop (OSError: [Errno 28] No space left on device

My XO will not boot and gives the following errors during boot:

Traceback (most recent call last):

 File "/init", line 124, in <module>
   lease_writer, run_init)
 File "/", line 30, in run
   return run_init_callback()
 File "/init", line 105, in run_init
   current = frob_symlink(boot_backup)
 File "/", line 215, in frob_symlink
   os.symlink('pristine/'+current, '/sysroot/versions/running')

OSError: [Errno 28] No space left on device

After a little digging this appears to be the same issue as (Ticket #5317 "machine cannot boot after filling nand").

How can I recover my XO?


I did run into the same problem. At this time (build 650) the only way to recover G1G1 laptops is by reinstalling the firmware from a USB key.
The procedure is described here:
Stable Upgrade
and you can get the files that go into the USB key here:
(this worked for me, -tho)

Making a backup CD for Sugar

Hi - Having read the post about one if the first delivered OLPCs, I am hyped about getting mine. I ordered on the first day. I also want to hack around on it, but without a backup CD I am reluctant to do anything. I mean how will I undo my mistakes and return it to the original? Is there a step by step for creating and using a backup of Sugar? I read about the iso image hosted by Wolfgang Rohrmoser and Kurt Gramlich are proud to announce the initial version of their OLPC XO-LiveCD From []and it was just posted on Slashdot

I've looked at their site and downloaded the ISO image, but I still need a step by step to explain how to create a backup CD. How to burn a ISO image, using a mirror site, do I download all those files and then what?, put them in a folder and burn that ?, will my software write an ISO image? I've reinstalled Win98SE many time on my old puter but how to do this on a OLPC with flash memory. If I want to install Sugar on my old panasonic CF-27 and hack on that puter, what will I need to do? I really don't want to screw up my new OLPC, but I want to begin to work on some hacks. I'm posting a help request on Rohrmoser and Gramlich site, also. Thanks,

The XO is intentionally designed to be quite difficult to mess up. There is a documented process to install a fresh XO image, but that shouldn't be necessary in most cases. I suspect that the majority of user changes can be undone by cleaning out the "olpc" user's home directory, although I haven't seen this documented anywhere. Note that the ISO image you downloaded is intended for non-XO machines; the XOs have prebuilt images that are more appropriate. To run Sugar on a non-XO machine, you should just be able to boot from the CD you make from the ISO. To make the CD in the first place, check your CD burner software; there should be an option to burn a CD from the ISO image (which is not the same as simply writing the ISO file to the CD). If you have trouble figuring it out, this Ubuntu page gives some alternate ways to make CDs from ISOs. —Joe 13:34, 13 December 2007 (EST)
There is no CD player, so a backup CD would do you no good. You can reinstall from a USB memory stick. Simply download the files from this web site, unzip them onto the USB stick, plug that into your XO, and reboot while holding down the appropriate buttons. 21:14, 13 December 2007 (EST)
I can't explain how this works exactly, internally, but if you boot the XO laptop while pressing the circle button of the gamepad, it will boot into an alternate "OS", which in the case of a shipped laptop, will be a pristine copy of the base system (as far as I know), while leaving several user files intact (like /home/olpc which is where documents and many configuration files are placed, but also some other configuration files elsewhere). So basically, if you mess things up, you can revert it this way. There is also another way, which is by putting a OS build on a usb key along with an installation script, which when booting on the XO will overwrite everything on the NAND (substitute of hard drive), while backing up and at the end restoring your personal files and configuration. This used to be the way to update to newer versions of the system, but has been depecrated with a command-line script which runs as root. Do checkout support when you receive your laptop. It has links for mailing lists, IRC channel (and in the future a user forum) to get help from. 21:31, 13 December 2007 (EST)

Orphaned files are created - and cannot be easily deleted or seen from the Journal, when they fail to open.

QUICK DESCRIPTION - orphaned files not cleaned up. The XO moves files to the data directory when you first open them. This is a temporary thing that happens while it's loading the file by any activity/application. If the activity or journal experiences a problem the files will not open in the application. If the files fail to open, all the way and work properly, they are orphaned. The files will not appear in the Journal and the XO does not allow you to see them to clean them up. Also rebooting the XO will not clean up these orphaned files.

Directory location containing orphaned files is:



1. Each reboot and maybe a scheduled task should clean up the data directory.


2. (The current workaround) XO users must manually navigate to the directory and RM all files in it before shutting down or as needed. (This is a pain)

3. Develop a manual cleanup activity that sits on the toolbar that will do the RM process when it's run and perhaps display a message, then end the activity task.

DETAILS I have confirmed with two XO's that a BUG exists that can cause the DATA directory under the OLPC user to become filled up with orphaned files. This can easily eat up most of the memory stick memory and happens when PDF files or other files fail to open all the way. For example some large PDF files on "farming" from "The internet archive" will cause this type of "hanging" or partially opened PDF files, with zero pages loaded. This hanging of the application causes the file to exist in the data directory but the file is never fully opened. So a Journal entry never exists and the file stays in the data directory. The more you try to access that file, the more copies are put into it. In my test I ended up quickly filling up over 300 megs of space with one 44 megabyte PDF. The system each time I'd bring up the reader and go back would try to load another instance/copy of the PDF file into the data directory and I had seven of them before finally stopping the experiment and doing a "manual" RM of the useless orphaned files.

PDF samples can be downloaded to cause this problem - include

(Both Farm Management and Farm buildings from the internet archive will show this problem as well as many other PDF files; .txt and .doc files can also appear to hang and not open and end up putting files which are orphaned and take up space in this directory.)

Now for a quick comprehensive report as to what is going on with these files taking up space and becoming Orphaned.


First, I can try to browse or load a PDF file off a memory stick. I'm trying to load a Farm book that is called "farmbuildings00fostrich.pdf" This was downloaded off of "The Internet Archive" and this PDF takes about 44 megabytes of space.

The file was downloaded to a memory stick using my Apple ibook, before my XO arrived I was putting together a library of some ebooks I wanted to view on the XO. In Journal I can try to launch a read activity while looking at the USB stick. This will do two things.

1. It will copy the PDF to the "data" directory that has the following location: home/olpc/.sugar/default/data/

2. It will try to launch the READ application. But the read application can never read this PDF for some reason. It just shows a blank screen without displaying the PDF file - 0 pages are loaded.

3. Any subsequent copy or attempt to view the file, even paging away from the read application and going back to in from the home view: will cause another copy of the PDF to be copied into the data FLASH ram memory partition under the work directory.

4. This ends up causing in my short test case seven(7) copies of the file with (1), (2), (3), etc all sitting in the data directory. Wasting over 300 megabytes of space.

5. None of these files are visible in the journal. Why? Because the program failed to launch. Any program will try to copy the files temporarily in the "data" directory before using them. If the file cannot be read, and hangs the application it can cause the file to be orphaned.

The results are seven copies of a 44 meg file. I looked at the clipboard and some other failed PDF was there, which caused another copy to happen with a 45 meg PDF (another farming PDF subject) to be sitting there as well. So we end up with over 300 megabytes of space wasted, it cannot be seen by the Journal, and if I reboot to see if it will clean up during the XO's boot process, nothing happens.

This is a big bug in the XO's functionality. Supposedly the XO can clean up files automatically, but this is permanent readable files, not failed files that are sitting in this data directory.

These files are also shown in more than one color. Some are in red in this directory when you look at it with an ls -ltr command.

So I have to go to the "data" directory and manually delete the files.

VERIFIED NORMAL FUNCTIONS CLEAN UP DATA DIRECTORY I opened a PDF that the XO can read. "Goodytwoshoes00newyiala.pdf" which is the "Goody Two Shoes" download from "the internet archive - American text library". This will load up, by keeping the console open and running "LS -LTR" commands I can see the Goody Two Shoes PDF load up and fill up the data directory with it's growing file size. Once fully loaded into the reader the PDF file disappears from the data directory which is what is normally supposed to happen.

As soon as the reader brings it up, the data file will disappear. The PDF in this example is probably copied to an activity directory for that "read activity". So the files in this "data directory" seem to be of the temporary nature and should only be there for a short time.

SOLUTIONS SUGGESTED Now there's a MORE or LESS programming way to handle this:

If some of these "data" files need to stay because they relate to a journal activity then at boot-up we need to have code that can SCAN the Journal and keep a copy of the needed files by making sure corresponding data files are not deleted.

If this "data" directory is only a temporary file directory and all successful and fully listed journal operations and activities move the data somewhere else; then at boot-up or even periodically a RM command should be programmed to delete ALL the files in this data directory.

I haven't deleted all the files in this directory yet on my test 1 machine, but I may be doing that soon.

The XO is supposed to have a way to automatically clean up the machine. If this is dependent on the server, then that's a weak link. (If there is a "diagnostic" reason for having the XO behave this way, then it needs to be turned off for production machines.)

The cleanup should happen on the stand alone laptop and that would be necessary if for some reason the server was down and the kids were only able to use local mesh networking with each other and started filling up their drives with some failed data.

For the US or "friends of OLPC" release, we definitely need a fix that will clean up the "data" directory. There may be some other places in the XO that have extra garbage that needs to be cleaned up from time to time. We need this fix soon it should be a very high priority.

(This is a re-list of a question 262 above with more details.)

Greg (

--- Another follow up by Greg:

Regarding Walter's suggesting in a earlier related post above to delete the following

Walter's suggestion:

rm - r /home/olpc/,sugar/defaults/datastore

I think that datastore location is a place that has small files or permanent files which load correctly into the Journal or other programs. The problem I'm describing is in the:


It appears to be a temporary holding place for large files. These large files that don't load correctly will eat up the flash ram xo memory space.

I don't think the command you gave would solve the problem Perhaps if we used:

rm - r /home/olpc/.sugar/defaults/data

that command might work.

But I'm not sure it's a good idea.

Should users be removing the entire directory or just the contents inside it?

- I have found that path does not exist in the version of the XO I have received in Dec 2007. Where else does the OS store its data files that don't get completely deleted from the Journal?

cursor keys don't work

When I place my olpc in e-book mode, the cursor keys don't move the cursor...

--- Greg responds.

See my "Gregs Big list. . ." post below. I address this as item #10 on my list.

It's not that the Cursor keys aren't working. It's just that they are working in the wrong direction. See point 10 in my list. They aren't re-oriented. They need to be re-oriented to match the screen.

One possible problem as I can see it, might be the cursor could be linked to the directions of the mouse in a hard wired manner. I hope this is not the case. Because in theory the button should be able to be programmed separately. But if it is linked to the mouse an external mouse works well with the down left right orientation. Because a person would hold the mouse in the same orientation, when rotating the ebook. So the mouse pad and external mouse cannot be re-oriented.

The arrow keys however in theory should be able to be reprogramed or the code should be reprogrammed to act differently in relation to the arrow keys when the screen re-orients itself into ebook modes. Of course only the hardware/software staff of OLPC can answer this question. As it stands for initial released laptops with the release software, the only way to use the cursor keys in ebook mode is holding the laptop in traditional screen orientation -- not orienting the screen sideways or backwards. I hope they will fix this button issue soon. (Another user, Greg -

User Friendly software - boot process

I would like to re-install the software (from scratch) but I have been bouncing all over...

It is hard to make a valid point when we, the enthusiastic about it have serious limitations to learn about the device itself...

Any ideas or help how to re-install the OS?

Developers should be referring to the Autoreinstallation page in the wiki. The production laptop will have an auto-installer.

Can't install man pages

When I install man pages via yum:

yum install man.i386

yum install man-pages.noarch

Man works, but there aren't any man pages. When I do a "find" to see what was created, I see a bunch of new directories, but no actual man pages. What's up? Anyone able to get man pages working?



This is my own question, and now I have an answer for it! The man-pages package appears to be broken in the OLPC repository. As an alternative, I browsed to the Fedora 7 repository ([2]) and downloaded the RPM file that is the same version as in the OLPC G1G1 repository ([3]). Since I was using a Ubuntu system to do this, the file archiver automatically opened up the rpm package for me, and I extracted the actual man-pages my home directory (you can tell which file is the right one because it is the largest), preserving their directory structure. You could also in theory do this from the linux command prompt using the rpm2cpio program (e.g., "rpm2cpio < man-pages-2.44-1.fc7.noarch.rpm | cpio -i -d --verbose"). Then, to save space, I copied the man page files (again preserving their directory structure) to an SD card. I inserted the SD card in my XO and added the path to it as a MANPATH variable by editing the config file (/etc/man.config) as root to point to the new location (e.g., /media/XXX/usr/share/man where "XXX" is the name of your SD card). Ater this was done, all the basic man pages were available. Of course you could also copy them to the proper location on the internal XO flash as well -- this would cost you about 4.2 Megs. What remains to be seen is whether additional man pages will automatically be added as I install new software via yum. --Madwin 15:40, 31 December 2007 (EST)

Pictures from my xo

I have pictures in my xo. I saved them in a USB. I can open & see the pictures(from the USB)in my xo. But when I tried to do the same in my laptop(ubuntu os)but failed. Please advise me on how to proceed. Thanx

Hmm. I just tried it on a laptop running Ubuntu and it seemed to work fine. The photo should have shown up in the top-level directory of the USB filesystem as a .jpg file. Are you sure you actually dragged it successfully onto the USB stick to begin with? Did it show up when you selected the USB view in the Journal (by clicking on the USB icon at the bottom of the screen)? Did you safely unmount the USB stick (using the unmount item from the hover menu that appears when you put the cursor over the USB icon)? --Walter 11:24, 31 December 2007 (EST)

Thank u. But I did all that. I mean I open the pictures on my usb on the xo. I drag drop & unmount it and all. But I just can't get the pictures in mylaptop. There is nothing in my USB that corrosponds to the pictures from my xo.

No space left on device

Last week I received my XOs (two of them) through the G1G1 program and was so enthused about downloading activities that I overloaded the internal flash drive. Now, neither laptop will boot successfully. Midway through the boot process I get the following error message:

OSError: [Errno 28] No space left on device: '/sysroot/versions/configs/cfg.ytnwaH'

So now both my XOs are disabled! Is there some way I can boot from a USB stick? I have downloaded the build 653 image and ancillary files, following your instructions for upgrading an activated laptop. No success. Can you please help?

We have a partial solution to this problem in Build 653, but your best option in the short term is to reflash the machines (a fresh install rather than an upgrade). --Walter 12:31, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Is 653 stable enough for general public to use in place of 650?

An independent olpc forum is now active online and people who have read this wiki and noticed references to o653 are recommending anyone with any sort of problem (including newbies) to load 653. Various places on this wiki seem to advise against this.

1)Could you kindly confirm as of today 12/31, if 652 is indeed the preferred build for the general public.

2)And if that is so, what is your planned procedure for advising ALL XO owners that they should be upgrading.


Build 653 is still undergoing QA. Please continue to use 650 until we make the official release announcement (unless you want to help with testing and feedback, of course). --Walter 11:42, 1 January 2008 (EST)


"Off Grid" charging for G1, G1 computers

I have been checking the blogs--official and unofficial--for this answer. So I'll ask it again and I hope that someone will finally give us a real answer. Here it is--do we get some sort of charging device other than AC adapter for the computers purchased during the Give One, Get One program? This question has been asked over and over and over in every way, shape, and form, on official and unofficial blogs, but it has never been fully answered.

The answer is no. Your G1G1 laptop will arrive with a battery and an AC charger. If you want to supply it with off-grid power, you will have to find and buy that power supply yourself. OLPC has been working with a variety of manufacturers of alternative power sources, but so far none of them are recommended by OLPC. (One may work just fine for you, and yet not meet OLPC's cost or manufacturability or durability or repairability goals for developing country use.) I am a volunteer developer for OLPC so I don't speak for them -- but they're busy and your question deserved a straight answer. -- gnu 19 Nov 2007

Bloggers express interest in taking their computers hiking, camping, etc. and just charging them in the most "off the grid" way possible. Just because we have abundant power available in the US and Canada doesn't mean that we have no interest or need for the alternate charging devices. I think it is rude of OLPC to keep ignoring this simple question. If you haven't got an answer yet because you haven't decided--then tell us that so we can know what the heck is going on.

I did notice that you have a new feature on the Give One, Get One page on the OLPC site. This has a feature that allows you to "explore" the XO by clicking on tabs on graphics of the computer. This is a fairly good explaination of the computer--except for the issue of the charging system. It states that the computer can be charged with an AC adapter and with alternate devices. But, it doesn't tell us if we will get one of the alternate devices.

So, please will someone "in the know" get a straight answer and tell us once and for all--Just what will we see when we open up the box that comes in the mail? Will we get a charging device in addition to the AC adapter? Will we get a coupon to order our choice of alternate charger (extra cost or no extra cost)? And please update that "explore the XO" feature to be more specific about what we are actually getting when we open up the box.

Thanks for your question. Sorry you think we've been rude, but we've got lots to do. Your question has been seen, as have others that are similar, and your detailed explanation helps us to answer. But a final answer is not yet available. My opinion as a volunteer project member may help set your expectations, but I'm not talking on behalf of OLPC: the box will include an AC adapter and a single battery, the battery will not be in the XO. The alternate power devices are not mentioned in the offer. While we know there is interest, we certainly don't want to increase the cost by including something that not everyone will use ... and including a coupon means additional cost as well. Remember this isn't our "core business" ... the kids in the developing world are. What they need they will get. On a more technical level, all you have to do is provide 12V DC to the laptop for it to operate or charge the battery. During testing in the Australian outback I connected the units to the car 12V DC supply, and they performed flawlessly. Tests have been done to ensure a wide range of voltage is acceptable ... that should be in the specifications somewhere. --Quozl 22:24, 13 November 2007 (EST)
In other words: if you have a source of power that gives anything between 5 and 25 volts of power, just hook it up. A crank generator - a solar panel connected directly - or whatever, and a multimeter to watch the voltage to make sure it's not straying too much over. For more discussion, see Battery and power.
Hey, good ol' 12-volt D.C. juice from a car battery will run this thing straight! Very nice ~ implies a cigarette-lighter car plug can be used, without needing a transformer. What shape does the plug need to be? ~ Hexagonal
I've not got the specifications, but I do have the plugs of the B4 model, which should give you some idea ... so working backwards from the cable to the tip of the plug using a vernier caliper, a green plastic shank 5mm long and 9.5mm diameter, then shiny metal 10mm long and 5.5mm diameter over all but the last bit (tapers inward slightly in the last few mm), then black plastic 1.5mm long and 5.2mm diameter, then inside that a hole with 1.8mm diameter of unknown length. On the XO, there is a circle opening in the green plastic up to 4.6mm deep and 10.5mm diameter (meets the shank), then a tighter circle opening 5.9mm diameter and unknown length, with a metal pin 1.7mm diameter and 7.6mm long ... total depth 15.1mm from outside of case to maximum penetration point inside the socket. There could be errors in my measurements. You could do what I did and cut the cable off the AC adaptor and rejoin it with another connector ... but this isn't official. --Quozl 23:22, 20 November 2007 (EST)
It will, but a car battery is optimized to deliver a HUGE current for a very short period of time. You'll ruin the battery if you abuse it for running electronics. (don't leave your car headlights on without the engine running, etc.) You should use a deep-cycle battery. These are the ones used for UPSes, electronic devices on boats, powered wheelchairs, the Segway, and so on. BTW, be aware that 24-volt truck power may go above 25 volts. 22:48, 20 November 2007 (EST)
It isn't that bad. Do the math. A car battery that can't take a few hours of XO use and not start the engine is either a very old battery that might well need replacing, or is cranking an engine in very bad condition. In my opinion, just do not use more than about a quarter of the car battery stored capacity. See Car battery. --Quozl 23:22, 20 November 2007 (EST)

Sorry to insist on that point but i want to stress out an important flow here : power super IS critical in most of the developing countries ! A major characteristic of the 100$ laptop was the hand cranked power device ! Whether it is attached to the laptop or external is a design DETAIL ! But the XO laptop - besides the fact that it costs now about 180$ - seems to have simply got rid of it and there is no mean of power supply other than the AC adapter...

It is very very unclear and alarming, at the stage of post-production and while the give1-get1 program has already started, to see that there is no answer regarding power supply ! I know that the laptop i get is going to be plugged in my wall socket... but where is the laptop i am going to give going ??

Thank you for your concern for those in developing countries. We agree that power supply is critical to deployment in those countries. Yes, hand cranked power devices are one of the options we will deploy if needed. We do have such devices. There are many other devices we can deploy, and we have pointed you to further information. We will use the best ones for the situation. We will not tell you at this stage what we choose for each deployment, because this is not yet finalised. The "give 1" portion of your payment covers the deployment of one laptop and appropriate power supply, in combination with the other donations it also covers school servers, school networking, school charging arrays, and all the other things needed for the deployment to succeed. We have changed our plans as a result of careful research and development ... and as you point out those changes include the removal of a crank from the case, and an increase in the per unit cost ... a cost that was initially estimated five years ago. The dream is for the kids, and we do not stick to plans if they are proven wrong. If you are still alarmed after this answer, then you should either be more precise with your question or decline to participate in the program. --Quozl 06:29, 19 November 2007 (EST)
Thank you for you quick answer ! I was alarmed about the fact that the laptop currently costs 189$ without the power crank so when we pay 400$, it leaves you 22$ for it (without counting the other costs including shipping...) is it realistic enough ? From the Battery and power page, the cheapest solution currenly available is the freeplay freecharge which is 29$... What is your cost projection for the manual power supply for the laptop given away ?
Costs change continuously. It may be that you gave 90% or 110% of a laptop. You're giving approximately one laptop. Even during the 2 weeks of the G1G1 offer, the value of the US dollar changed. 22:48, 20 November 2007 (EST)
Please don't make such calculations, they are meaningless because you are basing them on figures that are unrelated. Leave this sort of decision to OLPC rather than spreading your alarm. The $189 value was a measure of the manufacturing cost per unit for prototypes, see Myth of Price Rise. Especially read the bit on forward pricing. The actual mass production costs are not final, there may yet be unrecognised costs though we sure hope not. The $29 price of the charger you mention is retail rather than a volume price. I've seen similar crank charging units in Australia for $USD 11, imported from China. Costings for deployments are not yet published, to my knowledge, and besides the information would be private to the country government education ministry. Not all deployments need a manual power supply. --Quozl 20:02, 20 November 2007 (EST)
The laptop you are "giving" will go to a student in a school where there is enough infrastructure to use it. Whether that infrastructure will be grid power, solar panels, animal- or diesel-powered generators, hand cranks, or something else, is unknown to all of us at this point. Each country's situation will be different -- particularly in the most rural areas of those countries. -- gnu 19 Nov 2007

Alternate power sources availability

Will North American purchasers involved in the donate one get one program be able to also buy the solar recharger or pull string recharger? If so, how can we order this? If not, where can we get the same?

See Quozl's answer to a similar question above. It looks like for now you may need to experiment; the Hardware page says that the XO works with a 11-17 volt DC power source. You might try searching for "portable solar power" or "portable hand generator" online. —Joe 10:10, 14 November 2007 (EST)
North America is the land of plenty. You should have no trouble finding a third-party charger that works with the XO-1.
Surfing around the OLPC News site I found who is apparently the manufacturer of the yo-yo that the XO uses. According to Potenco's site, current supplies are limited so all available stock needs to go to the OLPC machines being shipped to the developing world. The site indicates that as soon as their supply catches up with demand, the yo-yo will be available for individual purchase. They have a mailing list you can subscribe to for updates.

Charging from 12 volt car outlet

I would like to make a cord to charge the XO from my car cigar lighter. The hardware page shows the charging socket is 6mm (1.65mm center pin), but the Radio Shack Adaptaplugs do not come in that size. Do you know where I can order one?

reply -- I brought this up in an earlier question (see "XO DC connector, polarity, and input voltage range"). Since then, I have determined, subject to testing with a real XO, that an Adaptaplug type M should work. Size M plugs are common and cheap. I'll confirm the plug size after I get my XO. -- Chris J

12/20/07 -- A size M isn't correct, it turns out. I'll continue to look into this. -- Chris J

How long does it take for the battery to charge?

How long does it take for the battery to charge?

It varies according to the input power, the condition of the battery, the history of use, and the state of charge, and how much you are using the XO at the time. I don't think it has been specified, but I could be wrong. In usual use, it should take about as long as it took to discharge. --Quozl 19:31, 20 December 2007 (EST)
With my XO's the battery charging took a lot less time, but I'm using an AC charger that came with it. When the machine was off and charging it took less time. With it running it was recharging slower. I'd say the thing should charge up in under 2 hours if the laptop is off and your using an AC charger. Average running time for me is 4 or 5 hours. So it's charging in less than half the time it will run when off. When running it takes longer. That's my early experience. I often charge it overnight, so I'm not watching the charge time to closely. - Greg Dec 21

XO DC connector, polarity, and input voltage range

I have a G1G1 XO on the way, and would like to make a car power adapter for it before it gets here. This should be a simple matter with a little information in hand. So, can someone tell me:

1. What connector the XO uses for power input (with a common part number - maybe a Radio Shack part number)?

hardware design specification says 6mm power input connector with a 1.65mm centre pin, on page 6 of the PDF. Mass production did not use Radio Shack part numbers, sorry. The exact manufacturers part number is not publically available yet, but you can find my measurements of the connector above, search in page for the word penetration. --Quozl 20:35, 4 December 2007 (EST)

2. The polarity of the connector (center positive or shell positive)?

Centre positive. This is marked on the AC adaptor as well. --Quozl 20:35, 4 December 2007 (EST)
Both are supposed to work. 21:36, 13 December 2007 (EST)

3. The input voltage range (that's here somewhere already but I can't seem to find it now).

On page 9, 11V to 18V operational. I've used unfiltered DC from a car without any problems. The design appears to be for direct connection. --Quozl 20:35, 4 December 2007 (EST)
The new specs allow more. It goes up to 25v at least. (warning: "24v" power from a truck will sometimes go way over)

Also, the polarity tolerance of the input; i.e., can you damage the XO if the polarity is wrong.

On page 9, -32V to 40V without damage. The final product specification may vary though. --Quozl 20:35, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Given that information I'll put together a power adapter and post a drawing and parts list when I know it works.

Sounds great. Have a search around the Wiki for an appropriate place. What I did for the radio range testing was cut the cable near the AC adaptor, and fit another connector there, so that the cable could be used in the car instead. --Quozl 20:35, 4 December 2007 (EST)

12/11/07: Further investigation indicates that the XO connector is probably compatible with a size M DC connector Radio Shack P/N 274-1569 (2-pack), but an off-the-shelf car adapter is also available as Radio Shack part number 270-1533. cost is under $10. (Not tested yet since I'm still waiting for my XO)

12/20/07: It turns out a size M won't work; the barrel diameter is correct but the XO DC center pin is smaller than a standard size M and won't make a good connection. I'll continue to look into this. -- Chris J

I cannot boot it up.

That may be so, but I cannot boot it up. I plugged in battery and turned on the computer. The screen remained black. What am I doing wrong?

Does the power light (next to the power button) come on? If not, then can you confirm that there really is power gong to the laptop? If so, then there may be a problem with the laptop and you should contact donor services.


What type of battery will the Give 1 Get 1 laptop come with? Will it have the LiFeP battery or the NiMH battery?

I guess quite some people would like to know (me included), so is there any answer?
No answer yet. Good question though; but it may have to wait for production availability and component costing. The price of the raw materials can change a bit. Given the average temperature of the target country, NiMH will charge properly. The answer will be one of either (a) mixed, (b) LiFePO4, or (c) NiMH. --Quozl 05:18, 13 November 2007 (EST)
LiFePO, as a rule. If it says "Fe Battery" and BYD, then it is LiFePO. --Walter 13:20, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Battery life?

When I unplug my MacBook from the wall, it tells me how much battery time I have left. Usually this is around 3 hours. Does the XO do this and if so, on a full charge, how much time does it take during heavy use for the battery to discharge fully? In other words, how long does the battery last, worst case scenario? Thanks!

It does not tell you remaining time in minutes, but in percentage of charge; currently, if you do not use any power saving modes, it would last roughly as long as your macbook. Sj talk

Battery Life

What is the battery life on the OLPC (how long will it last per charge)

Per SJ's answer to a similar battery question above: about three hours of use on a full change. Note that the battery is supposed to last longer in the various power-saving modes, and battery use may improve as the system software gets better. A note on the Arahuay trial page implies that the battery may last quite a bit longer (5-12 hours) in recent models for certain usage patterns. —Joe 19:37, 12 November 2007 (EST)


I'm new to Laptops, so: what's involved in 'recharging' the battery? what's needed? (I'm also new to this system so i hope I can find the answer(s) to this question.)

  • the laptops include an AC adaptor to charge the battery, and charging will happen if the AC adaptor is connected, regardless of whether the laptop is on or not. There is a battery indicator on the front and back that shows this. For more detail, or alternate ways to charge, search for battery or charging in this Wiki. --Quozl 04:18, 13 November 2007 (EST)


How is the laptop powered and are any of the alternative power sources available as part of the give one get one program?

The laptop can be powered by a range of voltages, and the Give One Get One laptops come with AC adapters. See Quozl's answer to a similar question above. —Joe 12:20, 14 November 2007 (EST)

Power source in other countries

So great we get an AC Adapter but what does the kid in Kenya get? How will they power their laptop?

See the Battery and power page for a discussion of alternate power sources for the laptops. —Joe 12:15, 14 November 2007 (EST)
The kids in Kenya will get a power source that works for them. This is figured out during deployment planning. We have far more choices in this than with previous laptop designs. --Quozl 22:29, 15 November 2007 (EST)

OLPC alternative power sources

I read in the forums that the US shipped versions will not come with any alternative power sources, just the AC adapter. I would suggest that you remove the following statement from your site to avoid confusion, as it confused me, as I was looking forward to having 2 of the 3 listed alternative power sources, since I live in an area that is without reliable power. "In addition, for use at home and where power is not available, the XO can be solar or foot powered. It will come with at least two of three options: a crank, a pedal, or a pull-cord."

The "two of three options" applies to the donated overseas machines, not the U.S. machines, which will be delivered with an AC supply only.

Thermo-electric Generator

Have you considered Thermo-electric Generator technology ? I've added some more thoughts to Battery_and_power#Solar_or_Fire_heated_Thermo-electric_Generator. Numbers look about right.

Generating electricity from cooking fires

The thermo-electric devices look very interesting, I'll need to look more into these. However, given that most if not all of these families receiving the free OLPC will be cooking, how about harnessing some of that cooking heat/energy to power a small bicycle generator to power directly or store electricity in a motorcycle type battery.

Using one or both of these generating systems:

"One way a self-powered stove fan can work is by way of a Stirling engine. Some of the heat from the stove is used to boil water. The steam from the boiling water drives a piston, which turns the blades of the fan[insert bicycle generator]
Another type of self-powered stove fan relies on the so-called Peltier-Seebeck effect. The fan acts like a big heat sink, drawing heat from the stove up through an aluminum base. Partway up the base is a "peltier cooler." The difference in temperature between the bottom and top of the base causes the peltier cooler to generate low-voltage electricity, which powers the fan's motor[insert bicycle generator].


I've read that the laptop "may have" this source or that for power. What how does it currently get power? I've heard mention of solar power, a crank, a foot pedal, etc, but what does it use in reality? Is it just rechargable battery right now?

All the laptops use rechargeable batteries; the various power sources are used to charge these batteries and/or power the laptop. The G1G1 units are all shipping with just an AC adapter. The units sold to countries will have power sources appropriate to the local infrastructure; this may be an AC adapter or another device, like the pull-cord generator. From the accounts on the pilot sites page, they appear to be using AC adapters at the moment. See the Battery and power page for further power generation ideas. —Joe 14:34, 2 December 2007 (EST)

General Questions

Multiple users per laptop?

I know the philosophy is "One Laptop *PER CHILD*". However, we were wondering about getting just two or three XO's for our preschool, and having the kids share. Is that feasible? Would all the kids have to share the same file space, or is it possible (with user profiles, or separate flash memory cards) for them to have their own space?

Once G1G1 opens, you will be able to order a handful of XO's for any purpose you desire. OLPC's "Sugar" interface is designed to reduce complexity by only having one account per computer. However, I do not think preschoolers really require separate accounts, filespaces, usernames, and passwords. I suspect they would do just fine sharing a few XOs. (In principle, you could provide each of them with their own SD card, and instruct them to save all their files to it, but this seems a tall order for a 4-year-old). Ben 01:21, 31 October 2007 (EDT)

RAM upgrades

Can you upgrade the RAM in the XO Laptop?

No. The RAM is permanently attached on the main circuit board. This cuts cost. If you have a program that needs more memory, you must either fix the program to reduce the memory demand, use a different system, or add external slow memory, otherwise known as swap space, via the USB or wireless. --Quozl 19:51, 13 November 2007 (EST)
I'm sure if you're handy with a soldering iron, you'll be able to expand the RAM. Of course, soldering surface-mount chips is quite tricky...
You will need to find which chips are the correct ones to use, and make sure that all the required copper traces are on the board, and make sure the firmware can setup the registers to match refresh requirements, and test that it works over all operational temperature ranges ... this task is entirely unlike upgrading the RAM of a common PC ... Good luck. --Quozl 00:32, 16 November 2007 (EST)
Will the schematics be made public?

Parental control

Is there parental control software for this unit?

The XO is designed to rely on content filtering at the internet connection (e.g. the router), so that the laptop doesn't need to run filtering software. This has a number of advantages in the environments for which the XO is designed. However, most of the people participating in G1G1 do not have such filtering in place. One solution is to buy such a router; this MozillaZine article recommends one. Another solution is to build a web filter using something like Dan's Guardian—which, I believe, is what the OLPC school servers will be using—which is not really an option for a non-technical parent, though.
I don't think there are any software solutions for parental control for the XO yet, but this should change as members of the community address the problem. There are several things that make software solutions difficult. One is that the XO gives the user a lot of power, so it's fairly easy for the user to disable certain software. Another is that the XO can be reset to factory settings. Both of these reasons assume the user has some technical savvy, but I have no doubt that a determined teenager could do either, using instructions on this site. But if you assume that the user is not particularly savvy and that you only need to filter web content, it's possible that some of the Firefox web extensions mentioned in the MozillaZine article could be altered to filter web content in the Browse activity. —Joe 20:12, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Parental controls?

What methods are available to protect the child user from from inappropriate content on the internet?

None are included with the laptop. However, there are many ways to do so, using ISP-level filtering, router-based filtering, or setting up a proxy server. ffm 15:51, 9 December 2007 (EST)

Parental Controls

Does the relevant software (browser, chat) incorporate parental controls such as site blocking, history, etc?

Many thanks for your response Alex

The laptop is designed to empower children. It encourages them to learn, explore, create, tinker, modify, and build. For the brighter children, this ultimately means modifying the laptop's software as the children grow older. Controls of any type are incompatible with empowerment. The child's learning will allow the child to modify any monitoring and control software to report anything the child wishes it to report. 21:37, 3 December 2007 (EST)
It ultimately comes down to a choice. Do you want your child to really learn, or do you want to give him a restricted toy to entertain him? More so than any other computer, the XO allows the child to learn how computers really work. 21:43, 3 December 2007 (EST)

I am absolutely shocked by the responses on the parental control issue in this forum. I think the OLPC team has not adequately thought through this issue in regards to age appropriate content control. Yes, I do not want all websites with the word "breast" in them to be blocked but I would for my 7 year old when he really was looking up the word "beast" and misspelled it. Will he be able to circumvent the controls? I hope so, but by that time, in my opinion, he will be at an appropriate age.

I find the response to the above question (Does the relevant software (browser, chat) incorporate parental controls such as site blocking, history, etc?) so removed from the educational process. Not everything needs to be "open source". The person who wrote the response should think more to the education and less to the technical. Not all filtering is bad or evil. For instance, imagine not having a spam filter on email with estimates that 95% of all email is spam related. Gratefully, my filter eliminates the vast majority of this.

To the point - Can software be manually loaded onto the XO to work with the browser and chat to control content?

I am a huge supporter of the project but this issue will prevent me from donating money. --S

The correct page to address this question is Online threats and security. The answers currently there are still incomplete, but please continue this discussion in the talk page there.
Please do keep in mind the nature of a wiki. Anyone in the world can post a question, anyone in the world can answer a question. Once you get used to it, you might come to see that that's not a weakness of this method of communicating, it's a strength. But it does mean that User has no authority to speak on behalf of the OLPC Foundation. User didn't even go to the trouble of creating a wiki account (which you can do completely anonymously), so think of them as being like a rude stranger who stands up at a city counsel meeting to sound off without even introducing themselves.
That being said, User is expressing a strident version of the open source mentality that does indeed seem to be shared by many of the staff and volunteers who comprise the OLPC community. (See OLPC_on_free/open_source_software and its author Benjamin Mako Hill's homepage.) I don't see much appreciation for shades of gray in's viewpoint. But don't think of strident open source advocates as amoral -- on the contrary, they are deeply moral and much of their energy derives from their moral convictions. It's just that those convictions are skew to the convictions of those of us trying to raise kids in this corrupt world of ours. We parents know how much better for our children's spirits it will be for them to be exposed to all the exploitation out there in graduated stages. If there isn't already filtering software for the XO, those of us in the G1G1 community can write it; the geeky parents can configure home desktop computers to act as school servers and tell the rest of us how to do it.
Finally, keep in mind that if you're considering getting a G1G1 XO for your own children, as a last resort it should be pretty easy for you to disable internet connectivity completely, or to activate it only when you're around. If your concern is also for the XO's being sent to Least Developed Countries, you can rest assured that the governments involved will enable some sort of school server filtering. ~ Hexagonal 10:15, 7 December 2007 (EST)

I appreciate your considered response. I think you clearly see the balance that needs to be in play here as this is geared for K-12 users. I am not for censorship but for understanding in stages for my child. However, I just want to see options of choice here for content filtering. I do not think ISP-level filtering, router-based filtering, or setting up a proxy server is something most G1G1 users will be able to employ. Can the usual Linux based content filtering tools, not based on blacklists, be installed? Is there enough extra space on the XO to install? Or can/should be placed on a compact memory expansion card? Is this possible?


Library content: is there a way filter information by age or grade?

I am a parent of 7-yr old and a teacher/educator. I was going through the library grid. The info there is quite useful for children (and educators). I am wondering whether it would be possible to make it in to auto-capsules that are age-appropriate and adequate? For example, I was going through module on animals, the info is vast and a child of say age 7-8 may not require all that is there, may be he/she would be quite thrilled to get some exciting bits of it to begin with. How we can filter? of course one way is through teacher intervention, but typical parental tendency would be to make available all that is out there on the wiki. I would be keen to know any such efforts are made in this direction to sort the info grade wise/age wise? thanks

There are efforts being made in this area by the "OLPC Content" group. You may want to visit Curators and coordinators or visit the #olpc-content IRC channel. Ben 00:55, 31 October 2007 (EDT)

Protecting children from bad content on the internet

Does the sugar XO system effectively protect children from pornographic or other adult material on the internet and how is it done? Is it possible to circumvent these filters by adding new browser software or in other ways? With geek and source code buttons these children are being encouraged to look under the hood, I feel it of utmost importance to protect vulnerable children from pornography.

Information on the Internet and Peru trial pages suggests that the countries themselves will be responsible for providing an Internet connection that is appropriately filtered. —Joe 18:17, 28 October 2007 (EDT)
Follow-Up Question
Can a filter that works with the XO browser be added manually? Is there an open source version? Was this decision to not offer a filter a First Amendment issue or something else? To rely on countries/schools to do this, I think, is misguided. My son spells by sound and he is bound to make a URL error at some point that leads to a site that is inappropriate for him to see. Thank you, SB
For innocent mistakes there already is a filter. The browser normally opens things via Google search. Google tends to fix misspellings, and will not return porn sites when queried as the laptop does.
Unfortunately the search that I tried was, "Sex" and the first websites were not informational but porn sites and cam sites and not educational sites about the subject. It is this that I would prefer to filter.
There are lots of reasons why a heavy-handed filter is not supplied. Filters tend to block "legitimate" topics, like breast cancer. Filters make computers slower. We can't agree on what "inappropriate" means; some people feel that Christian sites are inappropriate. (no kidding -- for example many people are non-Christian) Kids are very good at bypassing filters anyway, and will simply visit a friend's house if they need to use an unfiltered computer to escape mom. Kids aren't so fragile that an inappropriate web page will ruin them. You probably saw a few inappropriate things when you were a kid. (maybe photos on paper, or some kind of live performance) It's part of learning and growing up.
Thank you for your answer and I think we can agree to disagree. More to the point, can software be added to work in conjunction with the Browser Activity or any other activity? Can software be loaded on an SDCard or USB key for extra storage?
See Online threats and security for more information on what some deployments have implemented.

Child security

Is my child secure with the XO? I am concerned about the connectivity or community feature and the ability to somehow use the XO and its features to target children nearby since the community feature provides the ability to see who is nearby, and these computers are targeted for children specifically.

You are right to be concerned, and we take this issue very seriously. Anything that increases the reach of a child also increases the reach of attackers ... a laptop, the internet, a cell phone, a walkie-talkie, an ordinary house telephone and the front door. There has to be a balance though, protecting a child from all these would not prepare them for adulthood. The following paragraph from our terms and conditions is our answer. Does it help you? --Quozl 22:15, 17 November 2007 (EST)
10. The XO laptop is designed for easy-to-use wireless connection by children to the Internet and other networks. Internet access must be purchased separately through an independent Internet Service Provider (ISP). In selecting an ISP, you should remember that, in addition to the many wonderful sites and educational resources on the Internet and World Wide Web, there are places where you wouldn't want your child to go and people you wouldn't want your child to meet. That's why many ISPs offer "filters" that assist you in monitoring and/or controlling your child's Internet access. So your child can have a safe and healthful experience, OLPC FOUNDATION RECOMMENDS THAT YOU USE AN APPROPRIATE INTERNET FILTER, REMAIN INVOLVED IN YOUR CHILD'S USE OF THE INTERNET AND, OF COURSE, STAY ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN YOUR CHILD'S EDUCATION.

Can the technology be adapted so students with language-based learning disabilities can use this?

My niece attends a private school for children with a wide range of learning differences. I would like to purchase one for her but am not sure how adaptable it will be. Can additional software be installed? The application for this population of student in that school setting would be wonderful. Not only could we provide the assisted technology to help LD students learn, but as well help all children around the world! I am most interested in pursuing this!

Yes, support for children with disabilities, both learning and physical, is a priority, and something that is being worked on. Yes, other software can be installed, it just wont necessarily fit the Sugar theme. is for Insects 17:01, 14 November 2007 (EST)


Taking it to Europe

I'm taking my G1G1 XO to Europe. Will the AC adapter just need a plug adapter to accept 240V input or do I need a converter that will change the voltage? Pschemp 14:43, 21 January 2008 (EST)

You'll need an plug adapter, but not a voltage converter. The laptop accepts 240V input. --Walter 15:17, 21 January 2008 (EST)
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