OLPC 8.2.0 Features


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The purpose of providing software for connected laptops is to make affordances for desirable human behaviors like

  • reading, writing, computing, sharing
  • reflecting, creating images and sounds,
  • speaking, broadcasting, publishing
  • searching, listing, following,
  • configuring, modifying, and debugging

Some affordances provided by the OLPC 8.1.1 operating system and most collections of activities include:


associate with 802.11 b/g access points with or without WEP and WPA1 encryption.
associate with other XO or Active-Antenna 802.11s meshes.
keymaps are correct or are very close to correct for US/International, Amharic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Kreyól keyboards.
translations of system strings need help!
Recording Audio and Video
Pippy, Record, and TamTam will be able to play and record sounds.
Pippy and Record will be able to take photographs.
Record will be able to record short videos.
Measure will be able to measure signals with or without DC voltage bias.
volume keys on the keyboard will adjust the speaker volume while Sugar is running.
control audio volume with the volume keys in sugar
Multi-media Composition
pictures can be composed with text in a system editor such as Write. (We actually expect Write to do a lot of other things.)
fancier multimedia like video, audio, and programs can be manipulated in an environment like Etoys.
copy-and-paste media clips between activities
download media clips into the Journal
Interpreters for Standard Data Formats
be able to display and edit DOC, ODT, JPEG, PNG, GIF, WAV, OGG, HTML, JS, some SWF, and several other less-well known formats.
We expect NOT to be able to display restricted formats including MP3, MPEG, most AVI, RM, FLV, etc.
Extensibility and Malleability of Software
w/ internet or preparation: install new activities and library content on a raw OS via the internet or via USB keys.
w/ internet: install new software via 'yum install' or 'rpm -U' on a raw OS via the internet. Data in /home should be PRESERVED.
w/ internet: olpc-update to new versions of the operating system via the internet. Data in /home should be PRESERVED.
w/ preparation: olpc-update to new versions of the operating system via USB. Data in /home should be PRESERVED.
w/ preparation: reflash appropriately signed builds via USB. NO DATA should be preserved.
access the root account via the virtual terminals or via the Terminal activity (if present.)
Some downstream partners such as Uruguay intend to disable user access to the root account as part of their theft-deterrence plan.
access to the firmware "ok" prompt w/ developer key, requestable through Browse and installable through the Terminal.
Real-time Synchronous (RS) Collaboration
Reliability of current RS collaboration is conditioned in complicated ways on available network bandwidth, packet loss rates, connectivity scenario, and exact software protocol/implementation. See the Collaboration network testbed for details.
Installing or removing activities should never change the ability of the system to run.
In practice, bad things may happen if you run out of disk space or if you remove/modify the Journal or Terminal.
Alternately, malicious code could circumvent the isolation framework separating activities from system software and user data.
Power Control & Conservation
when the lid is closed or when the power button is pressed while Sugar is running, suspend in order to conserve power.
resume from suspend in response to lid opening or power-button presses
cut power by holding the power button for several seconds
power off or reset the machine via the Central XO-person's Palette
control screen brightness and suspend state from the root command-line
control screen brightness with the brightness keys in Sugar
reliably store user data to and retrieve user data from FAT16/VFAT formatted USB Mass Storage devices.
reliably store user data to and retrieve user data from FAT16/VFAT formatted SD/SDHC devices.
USB ethernet adapters, keyboards, and mice should function similarly to their normal function on other operating systems.
login via serial consoles.
We do not have strong expectations about the behavior of other peripherals.
Simplified Multi-Tasking
interact with one activity or "location" at a time
switch between the current activity and other locations with the view keys or the frame
switch between activities with Alt-Tab or the activity ring
start new activities and stop running ones with the frame, ring, or activity toolbar.
list, search, and filter records of actions on the system by time
filter records of actions by title
Theft Deterrence
laptops should travel through the delivery chain unactivated.
laptops should not boot until they are activated.
can be activated wirelessly (with a school server) (not recently tested)
can be activated via USB.
developer keys should grant access to OFW.
should be able to flash any build from OFW.
should be able to rewrite manufacturing data (e.g. language, write-protect tags) from OFW
should respond to gamepad Cheat codes
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