OLPC Europe/Newsletter/1

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Hey all,

This is the first OLPC Europe newsletter, which is supposed to be a regular (monthly) update on our activities and meetings, as well as about plans, ideas, developments, and so forth :) You can find more details on all points here: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Europe. This newsletter's license is by-sa.

This issue covers the following topics:

What is OLPC Europe

Nothing but than a communication layer and a networking platform. The aim is to make commonication easier, basically between local grassroots, but also with the MIT.

This can result in less work for everyone, and in a stronger focus on our common efforts and goals. We believe that communication has enormous potential for collaboration on projects and general information exchange, and also supports smaller grassroot organisations not to get lost in the mess :) Our written vision can be found here: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Europe/Vision

At the moment there are around 20 people volunteering for the basic setup of this platform -- and can be found here: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Europe/Community#Volunteers


Our primary communication channels are:

  • Grassroots mailing list: http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/grassroots
  • IRC in #olpc-europe, #olpc-groups on chat.freenode.net
  • As there are people involved from all the world, we have regular IRC-meetings (all 2 weeks). The next takes place on 6. March 2008, 17:00 UTC (18:00 CET)
  • We archive summaries and logs of all the meetings
  • http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Europe/Meetings
  • In the last meeting, we agreed to set up contact@olpc-europe.org as a contact point. Mails there are currently being forwarded to Holger, Bastiaan, and Chris.

Meetings & Events

We also try to meet in person, primarily at free software / open source events across Europe. Events, where someone from OLPC Europe is participating are listed here: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Europe/Events

The next event is FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developer European Meeting) in Brussels, lasting from 23. to 24. February. The OLPC event takes place on Saturday, 23. February, from 15:00 to 17:00 -- room H.3227

After that, plenty of people will be at the CeBIT 08 in Hannover, which lasts from 4. to 9. of March. The OLPC event here is on Saturday, 8. March, 11:15 a.m. @ LinuxForum

Grassroots Organisations

Countries, which feel part of OLPC Europe: (add yours :)

   * OLPC Austria
   * OLPC Belgium
   * OLPC Bulgaria
   * OLPC Croatia
   * OLPC Denmark
   * OLPC France
   * OLPC Germany
   * OLPC Greece
   * OLPC Netherlands
   * OLPC Poland
   * OLPC Russia
   * OLPC Switzerland
   * OLPC Slovenia
   * OLPC Turkey
   * OLPC UK

Current Developments

OLPC France

Nico, Massoud and Florian have been at the Solutions Linux in Paris, giving a presentation about OLPC and the XO Laptop. Current work include trying to port sugar to openwrt, making a marvell driver, etc. One cool project to mention might be USB2SVGA (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Adding_USB_SVGA). Laptops needed! :)

OLPC Denmark

People from Denmark are forming a local OLPC group at the moment. On February 2nd 2008, they had a presentation at the education conference in Copenhagen. Videos Available at the wiki page.

OLPC Catalonia

Jaume Nualart from OLPC Austria (who is from Catalonia and currently living in Vienna) is giving impulses for the kick-off of OLPC Catalonia. Catalonia is a Spanish Autonomous Community in the north-east of Spain, with Barcelona as capital. The first meetings will take place on march-april 2008, currently collecting people and organizations, mainly from Barcelona. Soon, there will be a mailing list and also a page in moviments.net. People involved are: Jaume, Victor Guillamón and others.

OLPC Bulgaria

Rationales to concentrate effort on Bulgarian education include

  1. Unsatisfactory results from PISA (www.pisa.oecd.org)
  2. Lack of fruitful use if ICT in Bulgarian primary education
  3. Wide variance in performance by children of different ethnic, social or economic status.

Efforts also include translations into Bulgarian, presentations and promoting the project in the country.

OLPC Netherlands

Have currently received 2 XO B4 laptops which went this way:

 MIT -> Customs Denmark -> Copenhagen (Jesper, Rut) -> Amsterdam

Will be at FOSDEM.

OLPC Russia

The first OLPC Russia meeting took place on 3, Feb, 2008 in Pereslavl. A short report in Russian is at http://community.livejournal.com/ru_olpc/4923.html?mode=reply

OLPC Switzerland

Finally received two XO B4 Laptops from Austria on February 14th. This wiki edit is written with one of them... ;-) Next conference closeby will be the OpenExpo in Bern (12. and 13. March 2007)


Currently, only a small number of developers have OLPC hardware in the UK. The Telepathy system for activity sharing on the OLPC is being developed in Cambridge, UK, by [Collabora]. The BBC has been covering the launch of the OLPC laptop.

Ways to participate

Feel welcome! The spirit of OLPC includes one core thing: the community. This includes everyone, from the children and their families to their teachers and everyone who is collaborating towards the success of the project.

Get in touch with local OLPC groups, join the mailing lists and the IRC channels :) http://wiki.laptop.org is the central web-page for the OLPC Project and http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Europe for the european activities.

on Software projects

Most projects need a lot more than only programmers. From ideas, content, testing, translating and organizing, ways to participate include helping with documentation, artwork, sound, mechanics, ... One good approach is to first think about what you enjoy doing and what you are good at -- and then on how to contribute with this to a project you're interested in.

Possible first steps:

  1. Get an overview of current projects
  2. Think about which project you'd like to support
  3. Get an overview of that specific project
    • visit the homepage
    • download and run the code
    • think about which part of the project you'd like to work on
  4. Get in contact
    • say hi in #olpc-europe on irc.freenode.net
    • drop a few lines to someone from the project -- expressing that you are interested in spending some time to the project, and shortly describe your field of interest and your experience. A mail-address usually can be found somewhere on the homepage.

Projects and ideas can, for example, be found here: Software_ideas, Developers/Projects, Activities

A few Software Projects from Europe


  • About: http://www.assembla.com/spaces/bombski is a bomberman-like multiplayer game. Fast paced fun, written with very effective pygame code. Short loading times and minimal cpu load will make it a very good experience on the xo laptop. The mesh and/or twisted is used for multiplayer action.
  • Status: Name not yet fixed :) . Multiplayer on one machine is working quite well. Inputs: keyboard, mouse, joystick are working
  • Todo: Get started on the multiplayer / networking side of things
  • Help Wanted: Basically, from game design, mechanics and programming to artwork and sound, any help is very welcome!


  • About: A game for very young kids -- they enjoy banging on the keyboard so much -- give some visual (and audio?) feedback -- perhaps with colors and splashes. Maybe using pygame?
  • Status: Initial Brainstorm, and looking for a name :)
  • Todo: Thinking about and creating the concept


  • About: http://wiki.openwrt.org is a Linux-based firmware program for embedded devices such as residential gateways. A few OpenWRT developers ported it to the xo-laptop, and it boots from USB key into an X-Server in something like 15 seconds.
  • Status: Kernel 2.6.24 is running, but without graphic support -- Preparing to work on geting sugar running on .23.
  • Todo: Sugar, Kernel .24 graphic support
  • Help Wanted: Developers experienced with X-Server, OpenWRT, and/or other linux distributions.


  • About: http://www.assembla.com/wiki/show/segregation is a game from the Nordic Game Jam 08, and won the community award for the best game. It's written in pygame and a lot of fun.
  • Status: Working stable and well on linux and windows; very slow on the xo laptop. Display size is only 800x450
  • Todo: Speed up things on the xo, enlargen the background to the xo display size: 1200x825 (900 - 75 from the Toolbar on the top = 825)
  • Help Wanted: Optimizing, Improvements


  • About: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Xo-get is a very simple package installer for the xo laptop.
  • Status: Currently working very well
  • Todo: there is a long list of improvements to make it perfect :) -- especially at the PyGTK user interface side of things
  • Help Wanted: Programming and design help would be very welcome

Next Issue of the Newsletter

The next newsletter is planned to be ready between 10. and 20. of march 08. There will be plenty of content from FOSDEM and CeBIT, and we encourage all groups to add infos to the coming newsletters -- to inform other people what is going on in your group :)


Thanks for all your efforts!

 Chris Hager