Release notes/8.1.0

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for other discussion, see Update.1

SD cards may be corrupted by builds 703-709. Do not use SD cards with the XO with builds in this range.

What's new in the official-703 (8.1.0) release?

  1. Fix bugs
  2. Laptops now suspend when closed & resume when opened, for better battery life
  3. Each activity runs isolated from the others, for better security
  4. Sugar activities are now released separately, or in "Activity Packs", rather than as part of the operating system release.

Please also refer to the milestone and the official roadmap for schedule dates and features for each release.

2008-06-06: Given successful completion of the Release Checklist, we have released build official-703 as our Update.1 (8.1.0) release build.

Breaking Changes from official-656

Activities must be installed separately.

Motivation: OLPC cannot presently afford to maintain more than one stable build. Therefore, we have decided to provide a "blank slate" which must be customized with activities and content bundles at installation time.

It's worth mentioning "missing activities" here because it's a term that people might search for.

What's the recommended way to upgrade?

  1. Download the G1G1 Activity Pack (from here) and unzip it in the base (root) directory of a USB flash drive. You should see two directories (boot and bundles, and a file called customization-2) in the base directory. Commands such as "extract here" in ubuntu / windows will sometimes create a directory with the same name as the zip file, placing the unzipped files within it. If this happens, you will have to move the files to the base directory in order for your XO to see them on boot. (Note that the "boot" directory will contain two zip files, and This is normal; these files do not need to be unzipped).
  2. Plug the XO into an electrical outlet and connect it to the internet.
  3. Run olpc-update to the new build. (In a terminal, enter su -l (lowercase L, not 1) and then olpc-update 703 ) This may take half an hour or more, depending on your internet connection.
  4. Insert the USB flash drive and reboot the XO. It will display text on a black screen as the activities are installed, after which it will power off.
  5. Remove the USB flash drive. Connect the XO to AC power, so that it will be able to proceed if it determines that a firmware update is needed. Then power on your XO as per usual.

If you are upgrading from build 69X, the build is already separated from the activities in those builds. So you can run olpc-update 703 and your activities will not be affected.

(I couldn't get the USB flash method to work - some mention about holding down the gamepad X if locked firmware? Wrong filesystem on USB? - but Bert's Script method immediately below worked wonderfully. I think that is the better way, anyways!)

Finding Activities

OLPC hosts many Activities. These activities can be installed in en masse onto build 703 with either:

Some commonly installed activity packs include the:

(The Nepal activity pack contains some additional customizations made by OLE Nepal for their pilot).


  1. Download its zip file.
  2. Unzip it onto the root of a blank USB flash drive.
  3. Open the file. If there is only one folder, open it and remove the three files that are in it so they stand individually. If the three files are enclosed within another file, the XO will not find them.
  4. Insert the USB flash drive into your XO and reboot.
  5. If your machine is not a secure XO (its firmware is unlocked), you must hold the X game key while booting .
  6. When the installation is complete, the XO will shut itself off. Remove the USB key before powering it on.


  • The USB flash drive should be formatted with a VFAT file system (FAT16 with long filename support); this is the common format for most USB sticks with capacity up to 2 GB.
    • It is important that the USB flash drive have a partition table, and that the VFAT file system be in the first partition. Linux allows you to put a file system directly on the drive itself without a partition table (i.e. "mkfs.vfat /dev/sdi", rather than fdisk and "mkfs.vfat /dev/sdi1"), but then on boot, the XO will panic with an error from mount ("non-zero status code 255").
  • Do not use the SD card slot, you will end up with the same code 255 described above. You can use a SD card with a USB adapter.
  • You can perform steps 1 and 2 on another computer, or if you are familiar with the Linux command line, on the XO in a terminal using wget and unzip.
  • After step 2, the root of the USB flash drive should contain
  • After rebooting your machine you must go to the List View in order to select the activities you want to appear in the Ring View

Improvements from build 656

See OLPC_SW-ECO_4 for a more precise list of the changes, indexed by ticket, that lead from candidate-699 to official-703. To summarize, we added:

  • Open Firmware version Q2D14 which will delay firmware updates until power is available (easing mass laptop updates).
  • Better Spanish localization of the library and of the X and console keymaps.
  • The ability to customize installed activities, boot screens, and activity order via USB key.
  • Rainbow prevents faulty activities from damaging many parts of the system configuration.
  • OHM power management software can be manually enabled to provide better battery life in solo-use situations.
  • The XO announces its build identifier under the "About this XO" palette entry available from the central XO Icon on the Home View.
  • Miscellaneous stability improvements including a new libabiword that fixes a Write sharing crasher.

Notable Current Bugs

  • #6532 SD Card Corruption: partition table gets corrupted on ext3-formatted SD cards on suspend/resume
  • #7158 Upgrade from 656 to 703 leaves su unusable when you fallback to 656. This bug will only affect you if you upgrade to 8.1.0 and then "revert" to 656 by holding down the "O" game key on boot up. If you "clean install" 8.1.0 or revert to 656 by a "clean install" of that, you will not encounter this bug.
  • The contents of a USB key didn't show in the journal. So couldn't install activity bundles from the USB through the journal.

Customization Issues

  • Customization key won't install if the activities or library directories had already been created as root

Localization Issues

  • #6777 Library bundles cannot use non-ascii characters in their file names
  • #6973 Haiti keyboard doesn't match keyboard mappings.
  • #6945 'Switch [language] group' key non-functional on Amharic keyboards

Activity Issues

  • #6773 TamTamJam: Recorded microphone slots don't playback. ?need to test
  • Couldn't add feeds to news reader because clicking "+"/dropdown on the feeds tab didn't do anything. ?need to test
  • Read will not share a pdf document.
  • #6729 Read doesn't save the PDFs it opens (when sharing)
  • #4539 Sharing in Etoys only works if the laptops are in the same network (on same mesh channel, or connected to same access point). ?need to test

(Almost) full activity testing results for Update.1 RC-2, all results are from build 702

Touchpad Issues

  • The Nepal pilot reported "jumpy touchpad" problems in dusty conditions. In response, we have surveyed known touchpad issues and have examined potential software work-arounds: [1], [2].

Network Related Issues

  • USB ethernet adaptors will not work at all at first. #6917 The workaround is to upgrade the olpc-utils package manually to 0.71 or higher, or to enter this command in the Terminal after becoming root: echo 'SUBSYSTEM=="net", KERNEL=="msh*", OPTIONS="last_rule"' > /etc/udev/rules.d/10-olpc-netif.rules

Access Points

  • When a number of laptops try to connect to the school server (either over a WiFi AP or a mesh) at one time, random "failure to associate" will occur and the laptops will join a simple mesh instead #4153 (#5963 is dup). This is indicated by the network indicator in the home view (it will say "Connected to a simple mesh" instead of "Connected to a school mesh portal" or "Connected to <school_essid>" when hovered over. Simply click on the school Wifi AP or one of the mesh circles in the laptop's neighborhood view to restart the association process.
  • Sometimes when a number of laptops try to connect to the school server at one time, random laptops may be unable to connect to schoolserver presence service (ejabber) #5908. This is indicated by a greatly reduced number of XO icons in the neighborhood view (compared to a laptop which is connected to the presence service). Simply click on the school Wifi AP or one of the mesh circles in the laptop's neighborhood view to restart the association process (in extreme cases, restart Sugar (CTL + ALT + ERASE) or reboot the laptop).
  • Association with WEP/WPA encryption works. However this must be tested for a wider range of access points.
  • Sometimes obsolete APs show in the neighborhood view, or an AP is shown more than once. #6909

School Server/ Jabber Server

  • To register to a school server and connect to the school jabber server you must
    1. Ensure that you are connected to the appropriate Network by hovering over the Network circle in the Home View.
    2. Hover over the XO icon in the main view and select Register.
    3. Hover again over the XO icon and verify that the Register entry has disappeared.
    4. Restart sugar by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Erase.
    5. Confirm you have connected to the jabber server by typing olpc-netstatus from the terminal.
  • When registering with a school server, you MUST associate with the correct network before clicking Register for the first time. Otherwise, you wont be able to register until you restart Sugar (Ctrl+Alt+Erase) #6857.
  • You should restart sugar (Ctrl+Alt+Erase) to resolve the following bugs
    • You can't register with the school server. #6857
    • You can't connect to the default jabber server alhtough you have registered.#6881
    • You connected to the jabber server, and gabble is running, but no XOs, or few XOs are seen in the neighborhood view. #6883,#6884
    • You are running both gabble and salut. #6881,#6886

Simple Mesh / Salut

  • When XOs leave the mesh, the neighborhood view will notice with a delay between 10-30min.#6282,#5501
  • However, when XOs enter the mesh or start an activity it is shown instantly.
  • You can refresh the data of the neighborhood view by reconnecting to the mesh.
  • Suspend/Resume will not work with salut.


  • Sometimes in the neighborhood view, when connected to an Access Point a mesh circle continues to blink. This will also show up as two network circles in the Home view. This shows false information, but also causes no harm, so it may be ignored. #5459
  • When an XO joins a shared activity its icon should disappear and reappear next to the activity. It happens that the XO icon will just disappear. Its collaboration will work properly, and if it leaves the activity it will show again as normal. You can see the correct number of XOs clustered around the activity by restarting sugar(Ctrl+Alt+Erase). However the bug will continue from this point on when new XOs join the same or other activities. #5904