Feature requests

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For current information on OLPC's feature planning process, see Release Process Home.

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This page provides a space for aggregating feedback from deployments, organized by country, to facilitate the planning and prioritization of features in upcoming releases. This should include verbatim requests from technical leads or translated and reviewed rewrites of initial feedback. Only items specifically requested by a qualified technical lead, administrator, teacher or student in the country should go in this section. As specific goals, features, bugs, and requests accumulate here, OLPC engineers will create new entries on the Feature Roadmap to track them, linking to the raw feedback in this section as appropriate. This page goes hand-in-hand with the Feature roadmap page, as follows:

1. Feature requests 
Features, requirements and requests by country. This page contains verbatim requests from technical leads or translated and reviewed rewrites of initial feedback. Only items specifically requested by a qualified technical lead, administrator, teacher or student in the country should go in this section.
2. Feature roadmap 
Feature suggestions by technical strategy. Each item on this page should include reference to the;Requester: (e.g. country or engineer or URLs to relevant discussions and sites). It should also include a reference to which element of the strategy it fits in to (if available).

See also: Deployments

Suggestions for providing input

  1. Please sign in to the wiki when updating this page so we know who made the edits.
  2. Feel free to add to this page following the guidelines described above.
  3. Comments on the submissions of others are best provided on the discussion page, or the discussion page for that particular section.
  4. Edits to original submissions should be discussed with the original poster beforehand.
  5. Use the trac template when referencing tickets/bugs.
  6. Additional suggestions for providing input are welcome.
  7. Create a new section (At the == header 2 == level) for your country or request if none present are adequate.

Greg's Top 10 Requests

This section lists the items which I (Gregorio 19:48, 3 November 2008 (UTC)) think are most important to improving the XO experience in the school. These items were all gathered via direct input from deployments. These items are not listed in priority order.

  1. Activation lease management: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_roadmap#Activation_lease_security
  2. Better power management: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_roadmap#Power_management
  3. Reliable synchronous collaboration: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/9.1.0_Collaboration_Requirements
  4. Reliable touchpad: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_roadmap#Accurate_touchpad
  5. No lost files: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_roadmap#Journal_never_loses_work
  6. Performance improvements: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_roadmap#Performance
  7. Projects and asynchronous collaboration: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_roadmap#Asynchronous_collaboration
  8. Chinese and Amharic support: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_roadmap#Localization
  9. More easily run any Linux application. http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_roadmap/Run_Fedora_applications_on_XO. Add the ability to run any "standard" Linux application on the XO when the XO uses a "standard" windowing manager with unmodified Linux file system and an otherwise "stock" Fedora implementation.
  10. Full Flash and Youtube support

Requests by country


- USB - VGA projector capability. Reported by Brian from country workshop.


Greater than 100K x XOs deployed in schools.

New formulation of requirements from Uruguay. Build customization is top priority. Order of the remaining items does not reflect priority.

  1. Build customization, signing / upgrades
  2. Lease and theft management systems
  3. Journal to USB simplification
  4. Sugar performance improvements
  5. Reader should not create extra copies of PDF http://www.mail-archive.com/devel@lists.laptop.org/msg14839.html
  6. Collaboration (?)
  7. 802.1X (target roll out in 1 month) 802.11i (wireless version).
  8. Web signed certificate

Rough notes below this line.

From Emiliano and Erik in e-mail:
Allow Uruguay to sign their own builds so that they can take an image from us, add their customizations then sign it and deploy on the XOs with the existing OLPC provided upgrade tools (e.g. olpc-update and USB keys).

They would also like control over their developer key issuance, rather than relying on us to serve them. (Kim, 10/26/08)

An efficient system upgrade method (ideally this preserves user ata, ideally it can be done in schools with minimal manual effort).

"Efficient" needs to be more carefully defined for this to be actionable. What resource is most precious? --Michael Stone 00:00, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

List of changes in the new build (to be used to decide the best time to upgrade their deployed systems).

How are the present release notes inadequate? --Michael Stone 00:00, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Request from Uruguay for HW alerts:

In e-mail to Greg S:
Better performance of Sugar. Faster launch and close of activities, faster switching between activities, better network usage, more responsive Sugar including Journal.

Better Flash support. Minimum on par with FF 3 on XP.

From ErikG trip:

  1. Upgrade improvements including self signing
  2. Faster (better performance) including flash
  3. HW clock
  4. Journal to USB simplification (direct file system access) - teacher

Notes from the peanut gallery:

an important question which I do not see being approached in these notes is "how are the Uruguay-based folks going to help get these patches written, tested, merged, and released?" --Michael Stone 00:07, 24 September 2008 (UTC)


Peru Wiki section. Spanish
100K x XOs



40K XOs with 656

100K XOs with build 703

Request number 1: Activation lease security feature
Source: Kim trip from July 2008.

Requirement - if the laptop is stolen, and doesn't contact its local school server within some period time (activation lease time); then it will tell the user that it will not activate on next boot and provide date and time. When it gets in the vicinity of the school server again, it will be re-activated automatically.

Requirement - it is not possible to set the date on the laptop to keep it within the lease period or to force it to outside the lease management. This might mean you cannot change the date or there is no root access, or it might mean an alternate time source is used.

Request number 2: Improved performance
Source: Wad trip in April 2008

Speeding up the user interface especially time to launch activities (other?)

Request number 3: Easy creation of image with Peru specific activities and content
Source: Kim trip from July 2008.

This should allow them to add their own content and set of activities to a build after it is finalized and released by OLPC. The goal is for minimal or no OLPC involvement needed.

Request number 4: School Server monitoring of XOs
Source: Kim trip from July 2008.

I think there might be some work in the XO to make the information available; and a database and API spec from the school server. This is not as high priority for their deployment as the passive lease management, but I believe this feature will be important for any deployment. We should try to get feedback from other deployments as to the information we want to collect.

Requirement: Provide XS database and an API so that countries can create reports and monitoring for various aspects of XOs:

  • Version of code
  • Which laptops are being seen each day
  • Total number of laptops being seen per day
  • Number of laptops accessing the internet
  • List of URLs being accessed
  • List of URLs per laptop
  • Which activities are being used per laptop

Request number 5: Collaboration in groups
Source: Kim trip from July 2008 and Wad trip from April 2008.

Requirements for groups (in priority order for Peru)

  1. Project Groups, which can be set up on the XO. These groups might stay together for days, weeks, or months - for example to discuss growing different vegetables or flowers. Generally smaller than a classroom. These groups can be created by students.
  2. Groups per classroom, to be set up on a School Server by someone with special access (needs a UI that can be use by a teacher with password, for instance). Use case is to be able to hand out books, vocabulary lists, etc. these would be best to do within a class.
  3. Groups at the grade level because each grade will have some common curriculum. This would be set up at the school server and require special access.

Request number 6: Backup and restore of XO user data
Make it easy to backup of the laptops. Should allow backup of user data before upgrade or clean install and then restore. Partially met by http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XS_Blueprints:Datastore_Simple_Backup_and_Restore

Request number 7: Better power management and longer battery life.
Met by http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Feature_Longer_battery_life but needs to be a fully functional and supported feature.

Request number 8: XS server running on XO
Source: Kim trip from July 2008.
Can require additional HW (e.g. SD card or USB drive) on XO. Not completely clear how important this one is to Peru.

Other Requirements from Peru
Source: Carla report.

  1. Allow upgrading with Kingston USB keys
  2. Tool integrated with the XO to collect teacher feedback on trainings
  3. Build training tools and enhance the training experience

Source: Two interns back from Peru

  • More/all activities in Spanish.
  • Audio issues with Speak (bug id?)
  • XO failures (HW or SW) not easily repaired.
  • Many battery failures. May have been due to HW failure in the AC - DC


  • Frowny face of death (killed XO by hitting many keys at once?). Not

sure how this happened but required re-flash once it did.

  • Touchpad issues.
  • Getting everyone on the same Mesh channel was hard. Also a problem

when kids on one channel wanted to "chat" with kids from another channel.

Top activities:

  1. Write
  2. Chat
  3. Speak
  4. Spanish - English dictionary
  5. Memorize (good intro game)
  6. Simcity


13K x XOs

Rough feedback from Bastien. Unedited. Need prioritization and lots more details. Gregorio 20:40, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

  1. Power (battery)
  2. touchpads
  3. server updates, backups, used to recover from or prevent lost work
  4. record bugs?
  5. collaboration
  6. RF
  7. Application to sugarize activities

See also: http://lumiere.ens.fr/~guerry/olpc_feedback.php

Comment from Wanda:
Clear ideas of how to create applications.

  • Not just an explanation, but quick and easy ways to do it!
  • Convert Java applets
  • Activities with summer programs, kids exhausted scope of activities.

Wanted more. Application releases that will grow with the kids, have an application release periodically.


10K x XOs with English keyboards.

Raw feedback from Juliano and Brian. Needs clarification, updating and additional details:

  • power (better saving, how to charge 70 x XOs in one electric socket) Strips didn't work. porto alegre could use strips? but not Rwanda....
  • network
  • More activities with authoring and exploration. Scratch was main tool but not completely sugarized. (ask - which one?). Pippy was good for core team. More than Scratch for long term exploration.



5k x XOs

They need some fixes to Amharic implementation which require a piece of software called SCIM. See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/9.1.0#Localization for more details.

No Internet access currently available and no school servers planned.

May consider school servers if they can get critical features from them (e.g. lease activation).

Top request so far is lease activation that times out if XO doesn't call home.

Verbatim from Eskender:

  • Security / leasing using the school server
  • Content update using the school server
  • Amharic input method ( consonant + vowel) instead of vowel consonant. Ticket No.8494
  • we would like to have features where we can install .rpm files which we need for some activities

Dan's input on top priorities from Ethiopia:
Lease activation P1
Lower Power Consumption P1
Touchpad P1
Amharic fix bug ID 8494 P1
RPM install to allow Akili P2
Power button not understood P2
PDF reader issues P2
Amharic OCR P3
School server scale P3


500 x XOs






50K x XOs


Journal entries saved it Cyrillic can be opened. Ability to easily upgrade. So Students do not have to go to terminal and type olpc-update --usb. Build this into an "Upgrade Stick" similar to Customization Key.

20K x XOs

Comments from Elana: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-October/019994.html

Abbreviated here:
1) Computers are slow
2) Can't save files - this should probably be the first item on my list.
3) Basically - The journal is really hard for people/ kids to use over a longer period of time. Kids and teachers can't find things that they did unless it was done within the last 30 minutes.
4) Mesh problems - my sense is that you are all pretty aware of those issues.