XO Setup User Guide

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This page is a rough guide on how to quickly setup a xo with enhanced functionality.
At this point we assume, you have a fully working emulation or real xo-laptop ready to go.

The Terminal

Starting & Users


To open the console; click on the Terminal-Activity's icon.
Your input will look something like that:

[olpc@xo-79-BA-A5 ~]$ 

Important is the $ at the end. This means you are logged in as user 'olpc' and cannot change system files.
Sometimes it's neccessary to do that (installing software with yum), then we log in as user 'root' with this command:


This will change the imput to:


The # indicates, you are logged in as root (administrator).

Using Aliases

In the console, we can assign a shortcut to any command using aliases. Syntax:

alias shortcut='command arg1 arg2'

For example:

alias imfeelingcrazy='rm -rf /'

To save it, write the command in the file '~/.bashrc'

nano -w ~/.bashrc

Useful aliases

n='nano -w'
ll='ls -alh'

Package Manager

They handle installation and removal of software and activites.


Yum, Fedora's package-manager, is used to install, update and remove system software.


If you like a frontend, yumex (317 kb) works fine on the xo:

# yum install yumex
# yumex



First we want to update yum's database:

# yum update


is the process of updating the installed software to the newest versions.

# yum upgrade

Searching for Software

To find software, you can use 'yum search [...]'.

# yum search htop


bash-3.2# yum search htop
Excluding Packages from OLPC development (koji sources)
htop.i386  : Interactive process viewer
htop-debuginfo.i386  : Debug information for package htop

Installing Software

yum -y install [app_name]

# yum -y install htop

Removing Software

yum remove [app_name]

# yum remove htop


Xo-get is a little python script (running as user 'olpc') which can install and remove activities, supporting this commands:

xo-get update
xo-get list     ['categories' / category_name]
xo-get search   activity_name / tag
xo-get install  activity_name / activity_file.xo
xo-get remove   activity_name / activity_file.xo


1. Download

$ wget xo-get.linuxuser.at

2. Make script executable

$ chmod u+x xo-get.py

3. Create an alias to access the script anywhere by "xo-get" instead of "./xo-get.py"

$ echo "alias xo-get='/home/olpc/xo-get.py'" >> .bashrc
$ source .bashrc


We can use this command, to update xo-get's database:

xo-get update

Find Activities

  • xo-get search search_string: finds activities with matching name, category or tags (use % as wildcard)
$ xo-get search quiz
  • xo-get list: lists all available activities
    • xo-get list categories displays available categoris
    • xo-get list category_name lists activities in a given category
$ xo-get list
$ xo-get list categories
$ xo-get list games

Install & Remove

Quite the same as yum:

$ xo-get install imagequiz
$ xo-get remove imagequiz

Additional Software


Process Monitor: htop

# yum -y install htop

Start it with:

$ htop

Htop list.png


XO ImageQuiz

$ xo-get install imagequiz


$ xo-get install simcity


Set passwords

The command 'passwd' is used for that. Since it's empty by default, we have to log in as root and set it from there:

$ su

If you want to set the password for user 'root':

# passwd

Or for the user 'olpc':

# passwd olpc
Changing password for user ....
New UNIX password: 
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.
# exit

Get the xo's IP

Ethernet (in an emulation):





eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:40:F4:A4:C2:53  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::240:f4ff:fea4:c253/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:137618 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:123415 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:165367078 (157.7 Mb)  TX bytes:10169508 (9.6 Mb)
          Interrupt:21 Base address:0xcc00 

Browse the directories

Open the 'Browse'-Activity and enter as url: 'file:///home/olpc/'

Change colors and display-name

Edit the file /home/olpc/.sugar/default/config

$ nano -w /home/olpc/.sugar/default/config

Find installed activities

Preinstalled activities are stored in /usr/share/activities. To browse around, enter file:///usr/share/activities in the 'Browse' activitiy.

Exchange files with the xo

  • To upload the file test.py from a pc to the xo (into /home/olpc), use: scp FILE_NAME USER@IP:TO_DIRECTORY
scp test.py olpc@
  • To download the file /home/olpc/xo_test.py from the xo to a local pc, simply flip the arguments:
scp olpc@ ./