Software components


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See Activities for downloadable software.

Software has some old general discussion.

Activities / programs / applications / software for the XO

See Activities.

Operating system

Programming environment

  • Python (Version 2.5);
    • Pippy, an activity for exploring Python on the XO;
  • JavaScript™;
  • Csound, music programming language;
  • The Etoys implementation of Squeak using Smalltalk, an object-based programming language;
    • Please see Sugar Etoys for a detailed description of the Sugar implementation
  • Turtle Art, a graphical programming environment;
  • Gnash, a free and open source plug-in for the Adobe Flash™ file format supporting vector and raster graphics, a scripting language called ActionScript™ and streaming of audio and video;
  • Adobe's Flash Player, Java™ virtual machine, and other Restricted Formats can be added via Yum or RPM install but are not part of the standard distribution.


Libraries to support all of the above, others can be installed by Yum or RPM.

User environment

  • Sugar graphical user interface, written in Python, on top of the X Window System and the Matchbox Window Manager.
    • “Zooming” interface to mesh network;
    • Journal interface to file system;

Flash space available for other software content ~800 MiB.


There are three types of activities distributed with the base system: tools for exploring, expressing, and collaborating. A matrix of applications that have been (or are being) built for the laptop can be found here.

Tools for exploring

  • a web browser built on the Firefox engine;
  • a simple document viewer based upon evince (including the ability to view PDF);
  • News Reader, an RSS (“really simple syndication”) reader (PenguinTV);
  • multimedia playback using gstreamer (the Real Networks Helix™ platform has been ported to the laptop and is available for download but is not part of the base distribution);
  • OpenDocument Viewer to read documents in OpenDocument format, a highly-compressed format that is a fully open international standard (ISO 26300);
  • The Opera web browser and the Real Networks Helix™ platform have been ported to the laptop and are available for download but not part of the standard distribution.
  • Measure, a tool for exploring the physical world by measuring DC and AC voltages, observing them on a oscilloscope-like interface, being able to watch waveforms in frequency domain (spectrum analyzer), logging data at a specified time interval, and drawing the graph of logged data.

Tools for expressing

  • TamTam, a music synthesis and composition tool;
  • Etoys (see above);
  • a word processor based upon the Abiword project;
  • Record video, audio, and still-image capture and playback (a “video wiki” is under development);
  • Draw, a pixel-paint programming;
  • a journal;
  • MikMik, a wiki with WYSIWYG editing, using Crossmark (under development);
  • VIM and NANO text editors.

Tools for communicating

  • Chat and serverless instant messenger;
  • Video Chat (under development);
  • a VoIP client (under development);
  • Email through the web-based Gmail service;
  • Native email client (under development).

Other Tools

  • Calculator;
  • Spreadsheet (under development);
  • a shell and debugger;
  • Develop, an activity editor (under development);
  • Remote Desktop, a tool to remotely control XO laptop;

Online Applications

  • Google Docs (spreadsheet and word processor) work flawlessly from the XO browser. In addition, they are also shareable applications.
  • Apple Web Apps, although designed for the iPhone, work well for the XO. You access them from your Browser. In many cases just zoom into the page to fill the screen.


  • Numerous games, including variations of the “memory game”, strategy games, etc.

See the games list on the activities download page Activities#Games

Shared Applications

All applications share a common data store accessible through the Journal; Most applications, including reading, writing, recording and browsing, allow for collaboration; through the network: child-to-child and teacher-to-child. See Activity Sharing and Shared Sugar Activities and Tubes Tutorial.

Running other Linux apps

You can install and run many other Linux applications by using yum or rpm from the console or Terminal activity. By way of example, see the Skype page in the wiki.

Mesh Networking

The specifications for the wireless networking interface include:

  • Ability to act as a mesh point when laptop's main CPU is off;
  • Support for asymmetric links/paths;
  • Incremental releases—mesh networking is available immediately on XO; Upgrades will continue to improve functionality and adherence with standards;
  • Simultaneously acts as a mesh point and an infrastructure node.
  • Standards Compliance: follow 802.11s draft when possible.

School Server

The School server is software for a resource-rich peer to the laptop, which provides additional storage, and Internet access.

Additional Software projects

(Please see the Activities page for a more complete list of activities being developed for the laptop. Below is just a sampling.)

Builds, images, and schedules

OLPC regularly compiles and assembles "builds" of the OLPC software listed here for development. This process creates software updates for the XO Machines, and OS "images" of the bundled software that users on other computers can run by Emulating the XO.

These builds progress towards various official releases of the OLPC software:

  • See Builds for a list of build targets for manufacturing, in-the-field updates, and future software development;
  • See Roadmap for the high-level schedule of releases.

See also

Personal tools
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About the laptop
About the tablet
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