Talk:Our technology

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Design Decisions

The structure of this talk page is copied from the article so you can find the part you want easily.

Why is it important for each child to have a computer? What's wrong with community-access centers?

It is desirable for each child to have a computer, but I believe there will be cases where there is only OLP Classroom - In that event it is desirable for each child to have an ereader, which can be loaded from the computer, and cost about 10% of the computer cost. No ereaders have yet been designed (as OLPC is) for low cost. If the OLPC costs $100 then ereaders could cost $10 in comparable quantities, utilizing (very low power) static screens like Sipix and E-ink.

Why do you think the ereader will be significantly less expensive than a laptop? I don't know much about the quantity pricing of Sipix, but an ereader using eink would currently (2007) be much more expensive than the XO. And the ereader still needs a CPU, memory, local storage, IO capability, probably wants a network connection... If you want the children to be able to make margin notes, it will need input of some sort. Add it all up and you are talking about something similar to a laptop. Also, an ereader is not going to help children learn to write, do mathematics, etc. --Walter 22:09, 1 July 2007 (EDT)

First Generation Project

How to get the price down

I use computer for 30 years and what I see is the price getting down and the power up.

You may have some good political reasons to limit the spreading of the OLPC to some countries.

What I think is the OLPC can become for rich countries a cute device like the iPod, and you could sell millions getting the price down. I am sure that getting a low price (with a good quality) is very important for the poor children of developping countries.

I see another point, by selling OLPC to the developped world you create a mode (like iPod) that would make easier to negociate with governments and make the OLPC more accepted by people. Did you like me to give (or sell) you, poor guy of Vietnam, a special device just made for you, a device that I, and my children, would not use. That mean that this device is just good enough for you. It is not very pleasant. But if I give or sell iPod (or Nokia phone, or ...) I will be welcome.

My idea is OLPC must be a "must have" in Paris, NYC, London, ... before to be given to children or teacher in Ouagadougou.

Remy Pericard from Versailles, France (I have 4 PC and 1 MAC at home and I don't need OLPC but I would buy one OLPC just to help decreasing the price.)


Will the XO-1's software include flash player?

Just wondering if flash player will be included because without it many invalueble resources cannot be used.

No, the official Flash player will not be included, but according to the RestrictedFormats page, it is possible for the users to download and install it themselves. —Joe 19:43, 29 November 2007 (EST)

There is now a new version of fedora~ fedora core 8, so will that be used now or will the onnes that participated on G1G1 have to update it themselves?

Internationalizable Python code

In response to "It is no harder to develop internationalised Python applications in Japanese than it is in English.":

While I have never actually tried developing Python applications in any language other than English, I am reasonably confident that Python does not accept reserved words in languages other than English, and as far as I know, many non-English keyboard layouts lack certain punctuation characters that are required for various aspects of Python syntax (such as ( ) [ ] { } _ \ and probably some others), and thus I would expect it to be rather difficult to develop a Python application that needs those characters.

Of course, if all of the keyboards have all the necessary keys, it won't be a very big deal, especially once those particular reserved words are understood by the students (even if English is not). Ben Urban at 23:39, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

Any place where OLPC applications usage experience is documented?

I've looked at the several Wiki pages on OLPC activities (applications) and done extensive Googling, but I don't find any place where those experimenting with OLPCs are documenting what they find out about using them. While the essence is trial-and-error to teach yourself, it is easy to just plain get stuck or to overlook some feature.

For example, and this is just one example, I've started to use Write to compile my comments on using the OLPC. While I appear to be saving the document from session to session, I absolutely can't find a way to give the document a name, so that if I accumulate several documents I can find the one of interest. Gotta be there, but I'm knocking myself out trying to find it.

There's a box in the top left side of the screen in most activities where you can give it a name. Crazybus 00:43, 25 August 2007 (EDT)
If there is such a box in the Write activity, I don't see it. I've poked, prodded, and clicked every place I can think of in Write and can't figure out how to save a file by name or then, later, open it by name. - Bubba Bob
On the first tab in the Write Activity's toolbar, there should be an oval containing the text "Write Activity". This is actually a text entry box for the document's Journal entry label; "Write Activity" is the default label for things made in the Write Activity. You can change the label by clicking in the oval and typing something else. —Joe 09:35, 26 August 2007 (EDT)

Here's another reason for wanting to know the file name. I concluded that there is probably not an email activity installed yet. So I used the Web browser to go to my Gmail account and send myself some email. I wanted to email myself the Write document, but what to attach, how to navigate to the file itself? Best I could do was try attaching my current Write journal, but on the receiving end that proved to be an indecipherable binary.

Besides, these specifics, this is the kind of discussion I'm looking for, across the range of activites. - Bubba Bob

There has been some discussion of applications, initial impressions of Sugar, and cross-platform communications on the Sugar mailing list. A lot of this stuff is still being decided (and changes weekly, it seems), so the mailing list tracks it better than a wiki or web page. You might try asking your technical questions there. —Joe 11:07, 25 August 2007 (EDT)

how is it fun?

What can my children do to have fun?

Play games, learn, create content, draw, make music, film videos etc Crazybus 19:47, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

Can they install games?

That depends on the game. There are lots of Linux games already out as well as some on the laptop already (See Activities). The hardware is also not suitable for playing the advanced 3d games. Crazybus 19:47, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

My children play an online game. Is that possible on this?

For the most part, yes. Most web-enabled activities run in the browser. There are some games that will not run under Linux (e.g., Shockwave is not supported).
Actually, I saw an XO demo unit recently, and Flash (or some sort of Flash substitute) was working well enough to play videos from YouTube in the web activity. I don't know if the final distribution includes Flash capability, but it seems likely, given that the demo unit did. —Joe 00:36, 10 August 2007 (EDT)
I just tested on my laptop with a base install of build 542 and it has Gnash installed by default. It can indeed play a lot of the flash games though some may not work () Crazybus 02:39, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

How far does the internet reach?

That depends on your router or wireless provider. If you mean the mesh network then there has been a test of over 2.1km line of sight on flat ground from machine to machine. Of course this would be much less in buildings. Crazybus 19:47, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

I provide free English as a Second Language lessons to students in different countries. My main method of communication is Skype. Will this laptop and its peer-to-peer network be able to handle Skype? Crazybus 19:47, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

Where are you and your children from as all nations have not recived the laptop yet?-- 17:52, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

A Camera For Education?

I need to know... how does a web camera (or digital camera whatever it so be called) help educate children? Don't get me wrong, I think education is extremely important and I use computers to learn more than I ever learned in school. The OLPC is a great idea with pros and cons like any tool ever invented. However; being a graduate of a Computer Security Investigations diploma and working with law enforcement on the subject of technology involved with online child exploitation, it is evident that yes a powerful and positive tool may be used for most any ill intended act.

What I do not understand is why a web camera is essential in a tool for education. I understand that a large portion of communities who receive this laptop will not have Internet access, but it doesn't take Internet access to exploit children. One camera that can self develop digital photos is just as dangerous as having so many young children prowling through the Internet. I do not see loosing any educational value by removing the web camera from these laptops. The only outcome would be less power consumption, lower cost, and a safer experience for any child. I agree that Internet safety training can help educate children safe Internet use, but even with just community networking, is “safe computer training” really as efficient as removing a piece of this laptop that does not contribute to any educational purpose. D, Canada.

A big part of this project is the idea of the children creating content themselves. And a camera allows them to do this in a large way. Whether it's just filming each other for fun, or creating a video to show others (showing people across the world what your town looks like or a video showing a cow giving birth etc ( The camera only uses power when it's on, and the cost is small due to the improvements caused by mobile phones. I will leave the exploitation question up to others since its late and I must sleep. Crazybus 10:39, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
Any science-fair, nature-observation, or drama project can benefit from a camera, just to start.
As for exploitation, it would be good if you elaborated on what specific threats you see. I'm especially confused by your statement that "it doesn't take internet access to exploit children"; while obviously true, it seems that any such threat (for international profit, or by simply local perverts) would also not need this laptop to succeed. As for other threats: this laptop has extremely high security against traditional "virus" and "spyware"; and its social and sharing features make it relatively likely that willing participation of children in their own exploitation will be caught before it goes too far. Homunq 12:30, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Yes! As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words"... be a picture of yourself, your friends, your house, your pet, or whatever critter may be crawling around that weird plant... great for learning biology and/or botany; being able to capture something (in a picture or video) is a great way to learn about many things: time based pictures that show how a bean grows into a plant, or how the position of the sun changes through the year, and these are just off the top of my head.
I think that there are many more positive (read educational) uses for cameras. A strawman argument is to replace 'camera' with 'pencil': you can write lies, rumours, even poke yourself in the eye with them... but nobody is about to take pencils away from children, are they? Xavi 13:08, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

From maybe sometimes kids want to video tape themselfs or something but i agree why is a camera there but its a use full idea for kids that ill like to purchase one myself for my child!

is it wireless? and what is the operating system?

Yes, it supports wireless networking (802.11b/g). It uses a modified version of Fedora Linux. —Joe 01:51, 26 September 2007 (EDT)

can you watch youtube videos on the green machine?

yes, you can watch youtube but it is very slow, I've tested it both on a B2-1 and B4 with an Adobe Flash player plugin installed on the XO. ~User:Wenmi01
And you can create videos on the XO to post to youtube!!

What about perl? Will this be added? -paul

We opted to use Python as the primary scripting language on the laptop. You can certainly load Perl, but it is not part of the default build.


How many amps will be needed to run this machine?

Guess is 2 (up to 15) watts. Voltages? Nitpicker 21:37, 5 October 2006 (EDT)

What are the plans for the battery?

Keep the AltairNano Lithium Ion SAFE battery in mind for power to weight and long life combined with fast recharge from power line. Probably too expensive this year, but ask. Nitpicker 21:37, 5 October 2006 (EDT)