Release notes/8.1.1

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Release 8.1.1 is Synonymous with Build 708

Improvements from Update.1/8.1.0

See OLPC_SW-ECO_5 for a more precise list of the changes, indexed by ticket, that lead from milestone Update.1 (release 8.1.0, build official-703) to 708. To summarize, we added:

  • More accurate Amharic and Kreyól keyboard maps for Ethiopia and Haiti.
  • Updated wireless drivers and firmware.
  • Support for USB ethernet adapters.
  • Several UI and library bug fixes.

These changes build on the improvements in Update.1 (AKA 8.1.0 AKA Build 703); refer to the OLPC Update.1 Software Release Notes for its improvements.

Please also refer to the official roadmap for tentative schedule dates and target feature sets for forthcoming releases. Refer to the main Releases page for links to documentation on current and future releases.

Changes from official-656

SD cards may be corrupted] by build 708 (<trac>6532</trac>). Do not use SD cards with the XO in this release. Later releases fix this bug.

Activities must be installed separately.

Motivation: OLPC cannot presently afford to test and support all the activities that people want in every language. Therefore, with this release, we have separated the activities from the OS build and people can decide which activities to add back. In future releases adding activities will be through the Software Updates on the control panel. This feature is not yet ready for 8.1.1.

See instructions on adding activities from a USB drive and Activity installation.

Upgrade Instructions

Follow the instructions to upgrade your XO to release 8.1.1,using 708 as the build number.

When upgrading from build 656 via the Olpc-update command you will need to reinstall all activities. Make sure you have the activities downloaded and on a USB stick before you start the upgrade. Click here for instructions. You will not have access to the Terminal or a Browser until you restore those activities from USB.

Upgrades from 703 to 708 via Olpc-update will not need to reinstall activities.

Clean install upgrades will need to reinstall activities in all cases. Make sure you have the activities downloaded and on a USB stick before you start the upgrade. Click here for instructions. You will not have access to the Terminal or a Browser until you restore those activities from USB.

Finding Activities

OLPC hosts many activities. These activities can be installed one at a time over the Internet by navigating to Activities from your XO and clicking on the activity (a .xo file) which you want to install.

Activities can also be installed in packs as described here:

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

Notable Current Bugs

  • #6532 SD Card Corruption: partition table gets corrupted on ext3-formatted SD cards on suspend/resume
  • #7158 Upgrade from 656 to 708 (AKA 8.1.1) leaves su unusable when you fallback to 656. This bug will only affect you if you upgrade to 8.1.1 and then "revert" to 656 by holding down the "O" game key on boot up. If you "clean install" 8.1.1 or revert to 656 by a "clean install" of that, you will not encounter this bug.

Customization Issues

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

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 reliably 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

Network Related Issues

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
  • If you are not at a school (e.g.: if you are a G1G1 user) you can connect to a Community Jabber Server with this method.

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 and 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