Release notes/7.1.0

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OLPC Release Notes for the XO software

These are the release notes for release 7.1.0, also known as "Ship.2", which incorporated build 650 of the system software. This is the build installed on the XO laptops that G1G1 2007 donors received starting in December 2007.

There have been numerous releases since this, everyone should update to a later stable release.

General release notes

  For the general public

Welcome to the OLPC community!

If you are looking for help on getting started, please see the [1] pages.

Network Connectivity

WPA does not work in this version

You can connect to a WPA access point through the User Interface in the current software version, 767. We are not working on a patch right now.

  • There is a script for the WPA workaround script and the detailed instructions to get around this bug. This is for advanced unixal [2] users.

Some encrypted Access Points require Hex key

If you try to connect to an encrypted (WEP or WPA) wireless access point (AP) with a password or passphrase, the connection may be not be successful.

  • Every AP manufacturer uses a different algorithm for converting a passphrase to a key. The most reliable method for connecting to your own access point is to use a hex key when configuring the AP, then use the same hex key when you try to access it from the XO. Here are a couple of links for converting passwords and phrases to hex keys for WEP and WPA environments: WEP Hex converter, WPA Hex Converter

Other Wireless and Network Manager bugs and enhancements.

Collaboration and Sharing Activities

Sharing is an activity specific feature

There are a number of ways that activities might share or communicate with each other. For instance Chat will allow many laptops to connect and text typed on any laptop will be seen on all the laptops that are currently sharing.

When you share the Record Activity, the pictures taken after joining the activity will automatically be shared. Pictures taken before other have joined the activity are not shared.

To find out how sharing works (or if sharing has been implemented) in any particular activity, please see the notes on that Activity.

Open Collaboration or Sharing bugs or enhancements.


Rich text field (#5340)

If you use a web-based mail program, such as google gmail, in rich text mode you may not see the cursor and you may not be able to type in the text field.

  • To work around this, set your email to use 'Plain Text' mode. In gmail there is a link just above the body field to switch between plain and rich text.

Can't attach file in gmail (#5323)

The browser may crash if you try to attach a file to your email from within google gmail. When you click on attach it takes a long time to try to open the journal.

  • With this build you cannot attach a file to email. You can copy the file from the journal to a USB stick to get it off the XO.

Browse can't play back Record audio or video (#4783)

Audio and Video that is created in the Record activity cannot be played back in the browser.

  • To play back your audio or video, find the Record activity in the journal and resume it. The original video and audio is saved there and can be played back while in Record.

Cannot view source with Fn + Space(#5060)

Ctrl-u now works.

Other open Browse bugs and enhancements.

Sugar UI

Fly-overs sometimes don't go away (#4514)

After hovering over an icon on the Sugar UI, a fly-over may show up providing information or actions. Sometimes the fly-over remains on the screen after the action has started.

  • To get rid of an old fly-over message, move the mouse and hover over another icon. Then move the mouse until it is not hovering over any icon.

The Sugar frame doesn't always go away with the frame key

Sometimes the Sugar frame remains up front after an activity has started.

  • Usually the sugar frame will disappear after a few seconds. It may be help to click inside the activity or press the frame key (upper right-most key)

The cursor jumps or doesn't behave properly (#2804)

Sometimes when you are using the touchpad, the mouse jumps to the edge or corner of the screen making it very difficult to use it.

  • It might help to re-calibrate the trackpad by pressing the four corner keys of the laptop, ensuring that the last one pressed is the 'fn' key. If this doesn't work, it might respond to restarting sugar by pressing these three keys at one time: Alt, Ctl, Erase. Finally, if that doesn't work, the problems might go away by reinstalling the software or when you upgrade to the next version.
  • I've actually corrected this issue a few times by pressing hard on the trackpad near the corner or edge to which the cursor tends to jump.

Upgrading activities is a manual process (#4906)

If you have an activity installed on your laptop and you try clicking on the newer version to install it, it will continue to run the older version.

  • For now you need to remove the older version manually and then install the new one, as described in the Activity Upgrade procedure.

Other Sugar bugs and enhancements.

Journal & Datastore

Journal may crash when indexing USB (#5127)

If you insert a USB stick into the XO and launch an activity before it is finished indexing the USB, the journal may crash.

  • The work around is to wait until the USB shows up in the journal before launching another activity.

Journal may stop updating or become unresponsive (#3376)

If the datastore has crashed and restarted, the journal may become unresponsive.

  • To recover you can reboot the laptop from the Sugar Home screen (hover over the XO); or restart just Sugar by pressing Ctl, Alt, and Erase.

Journal can't read a read-only USB stick (#4407)

The journal writes to a USB stick as part of its indexing; so if the stick is read-only, it will not show the contents in the journal.

  • You can unprotect the USB stick or make it read/write.

Other open Journal and Datastore bugs and enhancements.

Battery Life

Suspend/Resume is not enabled (#5243)

The hardware fixes for allowing software suspend and resume are available on mass production units.

  • Battery life will increase as the software features are turned on for suspend and resume. This will be apparent after the next release.

Other Suspend and Resume bugs.



The tablet mode, where you can use a stylus on the touchpad, is not working in build 650.

Users can only draw horizontal arrows. (#4170) In the future, the Ctrl key will be used to rotate shapes.

The selection tool only has limited functions: the paint bucket cannot fill in the selected area, one cannot crop, delete, or resize the selected area, one cannot apply effects to the selected area, etc. (#3699, #3701, #3702)

The images cannot be inserted from Journal records (#4866).

There might be some delay when using a USB mouse (#5390).


In this release there is no user interface to change web browser proxy settings due to the problem with displaying pop up windows (#2910).

The browser does not offer parental control at this point. See Ask_OLPC_a_Question#Parental_control .

Images drawn with Paint might not be viewed with Browse (5567).


In order to play previously recorded video/audio, you must resume the Record activity (from Journal). If you click on the video/audio item, it will be played by the browser.

For developers

This page provides more technical details on the current stable software image. Important changes are noted below.

This image is "ship" software; there is much you can now do with the laptop out of the box (See 542 Demo Notes and 608 Demo Notes). General – somewhat outdated – instructions on how to use the Sugar interface can be found here. Also of note are the Ship.1 Release Notes. The Library Release Notes page has information about the early stages of our sample content library. Finally, the OLPC Human Interface Guidelines describe our vision of where we are heading, only partially reflected in our current software.

The software is just maturing to the point where we can embark upon later-stage trials for feedback and polish. Please review the #Notes below and please report any new bugs to our trac system (See


New in this release, Ship.2:

  • Network upgrades via 'olpc-update' (see below for details)
  • More robust wireless networking

Overall, most of the first-generation vision for our system is now present and working:

  • Sugar UI
  • The Journal and datastore
  • Presence service
  • Easy real-time collaboration in many of our activities including:
    • Read, Write, Chat, Browse, Record, Etoys, TamTam Jam, Memorize, Connect, Calculate, and Measure
  • Mesh networking
    • Automatic configuration of ad-hoc meshes, allowing collaboration without any infrastructure or Internet access
    • Automatic configuration of school server mesh
  • Infrastructure Access Point connections
  • Anti-theft activation on installation

Coming in future releases:

  • Improvements on document and image transfer
  • Improvements on jabber server for collaborating outside of the peer-to-peer mesh
  • Better security for activities
  • Integrated collaboration within activities (??)

Important notes

At this time, we do not recommend installing latest software on B2 systems due to some driver incompatibilities and excessive RAM and CPU usage.

Upgrades / Stable Builds

The release notes on this page apply to the stable software release, already installed on MP(mass-produced) systems for 2007 G1G1 donors: Build 650 (2007-12-05). We recommend that you follow the instructions found on the Stable Upgrade page.

Base-system notes

The system is now based on Fedora 7, and OLPC's kernel is based on Linux 2.6.22.

Network Connectivity

Connecting to a Wireless Access Point

  • To connect to a non-secured AP (Access Point)
    1. Go to the neighborhood view (Mesh key f1 small.png)
    2. Hover over the circles to see the names of network access points (APs)
    3. Click on the one you want to connect to

Connecting to a WEP enabled Access Point

  • To connect to most WEP enabled APs, you click on the AP in the neighborhood view (as above); then add the WEP key either as a password, a pass-phrase, or as a hexadecimal value.
  • Some APs (such as the Apple Extreme) will only work with a hexadecimal value. If you have a password or passphrase, go to Hex Converter to get the hex key. Also, with the Apple Extreme you need to set 'shared key'. Most other APs prefer the 'open key' setting when using WEP.

Connecting to a WPA enabled AP

We continue to work on improving support for WPA encryption, and hope to have a better solution in our Update.1 release. In the meanwhile, WPA AP documents procedures for manual use of WPA encrypted access points.

Sugar Control Panel

You can now set some configuration parameters on the laptop from the command line in the Terminal Activity. The following parameters are settable:

  • XO color
  • jabber server
  • language
  • nickname
  • radio on/off
  • timezone

See Sugar Control Panel for details.

Backward Compatibility

Upgrading to 650

From 623 (ship.1)

  • Using olpc-update to get to 650 will not work. It fails due to some unicode character problems, which were fixed in 650.
  • If your laptop is secure, you should do a secure upgrade via USB to get to 650. This will overwrite the entire file system, so you should back up any files you want to save before doing this. You can follow the instructions: Upgrade_B*
  • If your laptop is insecure, you can do an upgrade, following the procedure outlined on Autoreinstallation image

From 542 (trial 3)

  • olpc-update is not available at all
  • You can use the secure upgrade via USB (this will overwrite your file system, so backup files you want to save), though your machine is insecure.
    • You can follow the instructions here to do so: Upgrade_B*
  • To do an upgrade with backup and restore, use the process outlined on Autoreinstallation image

Activity files that won't work on 650

From 623 (ship.1)

  • Record
    • Old journal entries of record will not resume properly
    • Both video and audio files cannot be viewed with the browser. (don't just throw them out, as this bug may have been fixed, and they may work with update.1)
  • Measure
    • Old journal entries will not resume properly. This means that any logs that were previously made will be lost.

From 542 (trial 3)

  • Block Party
    • It is not included in 650.
    • If you'd like to save Block Party, move it from /usr/share/activities to /home/olpc/Activities before upgrading. Otherwise, you'll have to re-install it.
  • Etoys
    • you may lose your etoys projects.
  • Watch and Listen
    • It is not included in 650
    • You can download the latest version from the Activities page.
  • All TamTam activities
    • These activities have changed greatly
    • Unfortunately, any compositions will be lost
  • Turtle Art
    • Resuming the old activity entries will just start a new instance.
  • Record
    • Resuming the old activity entries will just start a new instance.
    • The only way to save pictures is to copy them to the clipboard and then to the journal before upgrading.
    • Video files will be lost.


Previous Release Notes

Ship.1 Release Notes


Demo notes of new features


Note that for long term storage, removing the battery pack after a full charge is best practice; this is true for all battery powered devices.

In some jurisdictions, patents on algorithms apply, and royalty payments may be required. Examples include MP3, and MPEG-4. This is a particular nuisance for media players, for which many of the common codecs algorithms are patented. In other jurisdictions, software patents do not apply and there are usually freely available implementations for these algorithms available. Sometimes, as in Adobe Flash, or the Real Helix player there are free (as in beer) implementations available, where those corporations have paid these patent royalties and made usually (binary) versions of codecs available. This has direct consequences as OLPC does not want to burden all machines with what may be unnecessary duplicate patent royalties: OLPC must therefore leave the customization of the distribution for these formats for "in country". For jurisdictions in which such patent laws apply, there are now solutions such as those sold by Fluendo to these issues. The Flash format (whether Adobe's Flash 9 or Gnash) illustrates this problem well; even though we can include gnash, as built it does not have support for MP3 or MPEG-4, which should work correctly if Gnash is rebuilt.
fontconfig cache is invalidated too easily on mtime check
Applications can take a very long time to start, due to a fontconfig caching bug provoked by the time being set incorrectly (which can happen easily if the battery is replaced or the time is set badly). To work around this problem, use the "date" command from a console to set the current time and date.

Where to find source

Many of the OLPC activities, kernel, and other software are in our git repository.

Internationalization/Localization (see Category:Language support & Category:Languages (international))

Other Multimedia Software

Other software that has been tested on the OLPC systems includes Adobe Flash, and Real's Helix® and Sun's Java.

Finding the Latest Test Builds

See Friends in testing