Talk:Getting involved in OLPC

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Participate identifies this as an older page, so this Getting involved in OLPC needs the usual cleanup : change What links here to Participate, move over any content still relevant, then delete. -- Skierpage 22:56, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Non-Software Help

Me and a friend would like to start a fundraising campaign through coffee shops, thoughts/comments/suggestions?

Other parts of the software stack

Will you be using glibc, or an alternative lightweight libc? -- kjn9

The XO runs Fedora, so yes glibc is present. OLPC does adapt some packages but in general tries to keep "forks" to a minimum while contributing fixes to upstream projects. -- Skierpage 22:51, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Choice of software

Firefox/Mozilla may be inevitable, but it can be frustratingly slow on a 500MHz CPU running Linux. Also it does consume a very large amount of memory. I suspect that it will be an awful lot of development work to produce a "fast and light" Firefox - I am sure if it were easy, the Firefox developers themselves would have done it by now. Attempting this yourselves might become the biggest sink of your development resources.

Have you considered using Opera - it is not Open Source, but it is no longer adware, and its developers are familiar with adapting it for resource-limited platforms (e.g. PDAs, phones). -- kjn9

Perhaps the Minimo version of Mozilla will be able to address the concerns you raise. A positive aspect of the choice of a Gecko-based browser is there is native support of SVG for 2D graphics. Also, the it provides a platform for easy development of rich content, applications and extension software using XUL and javascript. Perhaps there would be interest in adding XPCOM and XUL support to Squeak, so that educational applications developed there can make use of browser services, components and resources. -- Frederick Kintanar, Cebu City, Philippines; my blog [1] on OLPC
The Browse activity uses the XULRunner platform underlying Firefox, and version 1.9 of that has all the memory reduction and improvements that Firefox 3 gained. Firefox itself and Opera are available as packaged activities, and they do use up much more memory if you start using tabs. -- Skierpage 22:22, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Bloated software choice?

I am somewhat concerned about the initial choice of software in this project. Specifically, it's possible that both Firefox and Abiword are too bloated for this platform, and this will alter the overall experience greatly. For a word processor, I think a simplistic interface would be best (see the legacy AppleWorks or MacWrite) with the primary concern being language support rather than bloated features. A minimalist browser and word processor are essential...people need to be focused on creating and viewing content, not struggling with a myriad of unnecessary features that have been commonplace in modern software development. Additionally, does OLPC have a team of software developers, or is everything riding on the contributions of the Open Source community? -- James Grubic

The Browse and Write activities use the underlying XULRunner and libabiword to present a simpler interface for exactly the reasons you cite. -- Skierpage 22:22, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Wiki Login

I have created an account (as user kjn9), but I cannot login - the server tells me that I do not have cookies enabled, while I believe that I have (I've tried with two different browsers, and checked their configuration).

I had the same experience, I suspect that this error message is generated if you have not yet confirmed your registration from the message sent to your email address (it disappeared afterwards). Perhaps somebody could provide add a phrase "do not have cookies enabled, or else you may have not yet confirmed your account registration ...", so that the error message is more informative. -- Fred Kintanar

Puppy Linux, other Linux distros

Several mentions of Puppy Linux prompted the admin to create a page called Minimal Linux distros to collect info about Puppy and similar distros that may be of use to the OLPC project.

Community Formation

OLPC needs to foster communications between communities: the project must be a community of communities to scale. OLPC server infrastructure is being established to support these roles, which includes email, bugzilla, wiki, project hosting, SCM systems, etc.

I have been integrating a dozen open-source software projects over the last three years and I think I have a solid framework for these comunities to be built upon, take a look

I would love to be a part of this effort.

Regards, Peter O'Reilly

Linux community engagement

Engaging the Linux community overall is very important. Memory consumption is an issue in much open source software, due to sloppy programming. We should be providing examples of best practice: the more that these practices are internalized into general open source community, the better.

(Reader's Contribution) PuppyLinux is an active member of the Linux community that so far has shown confidence in performing well despite the resource constraints of the OLPC machine. Its creator and lead developer is willing to customize (and further reduce its small size of 62 MB) for the OLPC: Barry Kauler, bkauler at goosee dot com.

Networking community engagement

The global connectivity of tens of thousands, growing to of order a million schools is a major challenge of network logistics. We must help spark the involvement of networking people all over the world to successfully scale to this level.

The built-in mesh networking capability of the OLPC provides new means for local networks. For these networks to connect to the whole internet and worldwide web, plans must be made to enable high-bandwidth access. The task of the Networks workgroup is to plan for universal access to high bandwidth connectivity over time. The idea is to:

  • set up optimal global and local networking
  • use the network for upgrading and maintaining the system
  • create new platforms and services for collaboration
  • use the network for ongoing teacher development
  • use the network for student peer-to-peer learning opportunities, creating communities of learners and communities of practice
  • development and distribution of traditional and newly enabled digital content
  • create a sustainable basis for continuous educational improvement

National situations will vary depending upon a variety of factors, including existing levels of development, geography, existing presence of cable and satellite access, and so on. This not only looks downstream at the OLPC communities, but also upstream towards government policies regarding bandwidth, frequencies, and so on.

The Networks workgroup will collaborate closely with the education workgroup so that deployment of the laptops has optimal connectivity possibilities. While productive use of the laptop does not require outside connectivity, obviously connectivity enhances its value. It is possible that a mixed-mode approach will be necessary at least in the short term. That is, providing high bandwidth connectivity to all areas immediately may not be feasible. Yet this should not prevent distribution to areas that cannot connect as they may present some of the more pressing educational needs. The workgroup should strive to enable all areas to do as much as possible. This may require local adaptations to add value through providing periodic value to the OLPC mesh networks via a new store-and-forward capability.

In addition to global access, it is essential that the workgroup prepare a dissemination plan for software distribution, upgrades, and maintenance. It is also essential to work with the education workgroup to develop and localize new collaborative environments for educational, technical, and social purposes.

An Independent Educational Network using Data/Power lines communication?

In order to avoid the mess of bandwidth use by: SPAM, mp3, pornography, etc.

I propose to use Independent Educational Network, using data transmisssion over Power lines which is coming up as a feasible technology. --Dagoflores 01:17, 1 April 2006 (EST)

Eductional community engagement

Since OLPC is an educational project, educational community engagement is fundamental. The overall objective is to maximize the potential of one-to-one access to connected computers to dramatically improve education for all. The task of the Education workgroup is to comprehensively prepare for the successful deployment of the laptops by creating an evolving educational action plan to take advantage of the learning activities that will definitely emerge.

The education plan should cover all levels, from basic improvement through access to computers and connectivity, on through dramatic improvement by enabling the development of collaborative clusters of expertise. The basic level includes ensuring the localization of existing content to be accessible in local language on the OLPC. This will enable the basic e-book functionality. However, we emphasize the need for the development of new content that takes advantage of the immersive presence of computers to facilitate learning of important material that is difficult to comprehend without computational technology. In particular, this implies using the computer as a creative, constructive, collaborative device. We also emphasize the need to plan for on-going teacher and educator development.

Financial contributions

Does anyone know about giving money to the project? --Samnsparky

See -- Skierpage 22:24, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
And the new just lets you donate funds for a laptop -- skierpage 01:21, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

How about using as an office suite? It is easy to use, fully customizable, and free/open source. It has a word processor, spreadsheet program, database program, presentation program, and formula editor. Plus, it supports most formats of other office suites, and supports the OpenDocument standard.

One reason is that it may be particularly difficult to meet performance expections. --Quozl 02:45, 13 September 2006 (EDT)


It may be a little early for this, but I'd like to know about working in-country for deployment, training, or maintenance. What's the thinking so far about what sort of qualifications you're looking for?

First step is to get involved with a regional group, see Participate -- Skierpage 22:37, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

OLPC Upstream Bugs

There are a couple of red links from this page to OLPC Upstream Bugs. Where should they point? 17:50, 25 January 2007 (EST)

Seems fixed. There's no wiki page or category for "upstream" (it's too hard to keep track) just individual projects. -- Skierpage 22:49, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Ways for Youth to Help

I would like to add an appeal to help create content at Wikiversity. "Also consider helping create educational content at Wikiversity. Draft proposal for a self paced reading comprehension improvement program is getting underway Suggestions, comments, critiques, are very welcome and useful at this development stage. To fill in a matrix of millions of resusable ten to fifteen minute lessons will take participation from thousands of people in approximately fifteen to thirty minute chunks of time over a period of months to get started and a couple of years to get ready for a billion youngsters looking for stuff they are particularly interested in. Our goal is the children will begin to help pick up the enhancement and maintenance of the project's materials after it is well started. Please leave any questions or comments at my Wikiversity discussion page Thank you. Michael R. Irwin, Coquille, Oregon, USA" or something suitably trimmed. Mirwin 13:40, 11 February 2007 (EST)

Wikiversity is indeed one of the many content repositories on the web, see Category:Content Repository. -- Skierpage 22:39, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Add Link to Developers page in the programming section


<a href="">Laptop Data Protection</a> If you lose your laptop, you can now be confident that your data will be safe. The mindSHIFT data protection service initiates a remote data wipe of the machine when it is lost or stolen. -- richee robert

Thanks for your semi-spam, but the XO has its own security system with an antitheft element that country deployments can enable; see Bitfrost -- Skierpage 22:34, 20 August 2008 (UTC)