Feature roadmap

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Note: currently undergoing major re-edit. The page is in transtion right now and I hope to have a first pass edit ready for comment by Wed. future feature planning meeting. Gregorio 18:47, 20 October 2008 (UTC)


This page intends to layout a long term strategy for prioritizing software development on the XO. Feature lists for individual releases will appear on their respective pages as listed features get prioritized, scoped and a targeted. In addition to outlining goals and strategies, an extensive feature roadmap is maintained on this page, and is split in to two major parts:

1. Features, requirements and requests by country 
This section should be 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 suggestions by technical strategy 
Each item in this section 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).

Features are prioritized based solely on their value towards achieving the goals and executing the strategy. The amount of effort required and the availability of engineers to expend such effort is not included in the prioritization decision. The engineering and test work, the availability of relevant software and the available resources will be added as critical decision factors when determining what features are delivered in each release. This page is meant to be abstracted from releases and it should therefore include a superset of priorities for any given release.

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. Follow the template when Requesting Features or Enhancements.
  6. Use the trac template when referencing tickets/bugs.
  7. Additional suggestions for providing input are welcome.
  8. Create a new section (At the == header 2 == level) for your country or request if none present are adequate.


Educational goals

Technical goals


Educational strategy

Technical strategy

This section outlines the main areas of technology focus. All of the specific features should address one of these primary concerns. The choice of these comes from listening to users and deployment leads and hearing what their concerns. If a proposal for development does not fit in one of these areas, it should still be listed. Then it can stand on its own or the strategic priorities should be adjusted or added to.

Requests by deployments

See also: Deployments


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. Collaboration (?)
  6. 802.1X (target roll out in 1 month)
  7. 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).

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)


100K x XOs



40K XOs with 656

100K XOs with build 703

Expected to update them each year at the beginning of the school year (Feb).

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


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 o 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
RPM install to allow Akili P2
Power button not understood P2
PDF reader issues P2
School server scale P3


500 x XOs




3000 x XOs


English, other?


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.


1000 XOs


500 x XOs




200 x XOs


500 x XOs


600 x XOs


15k x XOs


1000 x XOs


Equitorial Guinea



South Carolina


New York City





URDU & English

Requirements and Feature Requests

Requesting Features or Enhancements

This section lists major features to be added to Sugar over time. Each request should use the feature request template (you can copy/paste from below), providing as much information as possible.
Please sign in to the wiki before adding or editing feature requests.


The elements of such a request are described below. The text for these elements may be listed on the same line as the parameter, just after the equals (=) sign, or on the following line(s). Where appropriate, please use numbered or bulleted lists to identify individual requirements or specification ideas.

A brief, one-line summary of the feature, used as the title on the page
Deployments, engineers, or both who support the request
User level requirement definition; Links to detailed wiki pages, mailing list threads, or other resources are welcome
Design and technical implementation ideas; Links to detailed wiki pages, mailing list threads, or other resources are welcome
Names of developers and/or champions of the request who will ensure that progress is made

See also: general suggestions for providing input.

Activity-related work

New activities

Requesters Birmingham, Juliano
Requirements From Birmingham:
  • Firefox, Flash, mplayer
  • A spreadsheet (I'm going to use gnumeric until Socialcalc is ready for production)
  • A more full featured pdf reader (yes, I know there's the Read activity, but I'm planning on installing the full evince and making sure Firefox can open PDFs with it)
  • A document editor the user can insert images into (the full Abiword would be great for this, but the current workaround [after editing a file] is to open write, then hit ctrl+n)

From Juliano:

  • More development environments.
  • Better Flash support. Minimum on par with FF on XP. From test report by Emiliano and thread on sur list.

Sugarized color picker

Requesters Juliano
Requirements A better color picker in Paint & Write. Current one "...is made for professionals to get the HTML code of the color, but it also leads to error since people need to select the color in the circle and then in the triangle. It is giving bad time to people around here [Rwanda]". From Juliano in e-mail 9/1

Easy "Sugarization"

Requesters Wanda, David
Requirements Make it easy to sugarize third party applications. It should be trivial to take an existing application which runs on Fedora (or other Linux too?) and install and run it on the XO. The basic sugarization interface for that should be usable by a non-programmer. Not all sugar features need to be enabled (will define exact list if this gets to requirements definition stage). Additional sugar capability may require programming (e.g. collaboration). The goal is to allow deployments to use any state of the art application available in Linux/Fedora. Secondarily, make it easy to do the same for web based applications (Google Gears, Picasa, etc.). tbd if this needs to include client side Java support.
Specification See related X-windows threads on devel (links and references appreciated). This may also impact datastore and other areas.
Owners Greg

Power management

Improved battery life

Requesters Kim, Carla, Gnu, Ethiopia, Juliano
Requirements A list of UI actions which may affect power usage: Requirements#Power Management Requirements Our job is to increase battery life in as many modes as possible.
Specification Background on power draw including a break down watts used in different modes:

Significant technical actions (as suggested by John/Gnu) that could reduce the laptop's power draw:

  • Allow users to disable the mesh: reduces power consumption of the WiFi chip, allows the WiFi chip to enter power-save mode, and most importantly, allows lid-closed suspend to totally power off the WiFi chip. #6955
  • When the lid is closed, and the mesh is off (Wifi could be off or on), the laptop should totally power off the WiFi chip. This would lengthen the duration of lid-closed suspend (before totally draining the battery) from about 8 hours to several days. WiFi with an access point rather than mesh is now the default configuration in most schools, so this would have a dramatic impact on most deployments, particularly those with off-grid power. #7879
  • Put the EC into deep sleep when in a lid-closed suspend. This will cut its power from about 60ma to about 20ma (check with rsmith), which would further increase the duration of a lid-closed suspend before the battery drains.
  • Speed up Resume, which currently takes more than 1000 ms. A cheap shot at this is to unload the USB bus modules. The Extreme power management setting was supposed to do this ("USB-disabling") but it doesn't yet. This would make auto-suspends much less visible to the interactive performance of the laptop, probably cutting the resume time to 500ms, which would let us enable auto-suspend in more circumstances. Beyond this cheap hack, we should actually fix the USB drivers so that you CAN be using the USB -- the wifi/mesh in particular -- and still not hang for half a second uselessly on every resume.
  • Fix serious bugs in resume and networking. These have so far prevented us from turning on autosuspend by default for three major releases (650, update.1, and 8.2.0), and in each release, we decide at the last minute that we can't fix these bugs because it's too late in the release cycle and we didn't fix them earlier. Multicast, ARP, mDNS, the Presence Service, and collaboration must all work in the presence of autosuspend. Much work has gone into fixing these, but neither the final nits, nor polish, nor system-level testing in a network testbed, has occurred.
  • Reduce packet traffic during sharing -- particularly multicast traffic, which loads many machines (and wakes them up from autosuspend). This will require diagnosis and improvement of the presence and collaboration protocols. Some work was done on this, after the high packet traffic melted the WiFi bandwidth in early deployments (e.g. turn on 30 laptops in the mesh, none of them can usefully get anything done), but our main response was to tell later deployments "Don't use the mesh, use access points" -- a significant reversal that we should keep working to fix.
  • Improve cpu idle detection. Currently we can't auto-suspend very often (only after >1 minute of no user interaction) because it's so heavy-handed. The cpuidle infrastructure in the kernel should be able to tell us when it's safe to suspend because no process wants access to the CPU for the next few seconds. Most of the pieces are there.
  • Reduce useless polling by kernel, daemons, and activities. There's still a major Python bug that causes multi-threaded pyGTK2 programs to poll uselessly once a second (#4680, #4677). Much work was done to close it, but there is still a small sprint required to get it done. This not only reduces power use directly, but also allows the system to suspend because it doesn't appear that activities need to do some work soon.
Owners Gnu, Chris

Hardware support

Accurate touchpad

Requesters Carla
Requirements User talk:Gregorio#Priorities from Carla
Owners Wad


Synchronous Collaboration

Requesters Carla and David, Teachers on OLPC-Sur, Peru technical leaders
Requirements See detailed collaboration requirements here: 9.1.0 Collaboration Requirements

Inter-school communication

Requirements What I see as most missing and most necessary is a safe space for collaboration between students at different schools, even in different

countries. http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/localization/2008-July/001249.html


Scalable presence service

Requirements * Complete Gadget implementation, which should hopefully fix our current scalabity issues and offer new features as activity and buddies search. (cassidy)
  • Integrate Gadget in glucose. It will require work on several modules, including sugar-presence-service, sugar-toolkit and sugar. (cassidy)
  • Integrate gadget in the Sugar UI. #7711 (erikos, eben)
Specification See Gadget integration TODO for more details.
Owners Guillaume Desmottes, Dafydd Harries, Eben Eliason, Morgan Collett

Scalable Link-local presence

Requirements Undefined
Owners Morgan Collett, Sjoerd Simons, Elliott Fairweather, Polychronis Ypodimatopoulos

Collaboration Groups

Requesters Peru
Requirements Group support in gabble and salut (Trac #4043)
Owners Eben


Faster activity launch and save

Requesters Peru, Uruguay
Specification http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/6472

Faster task switching

Requesters Peru, Uruguay
Owners Erik

General UI sluggishness

Requesters Uruguay, Peru
Specification From: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/sugar/2008-July/007471.html
Owners Marco, Erik


Memory Pressure

Requesters Elana, Peru, Carla
Requirements http://sugarlabs.org/go/DevelopmentTeam/0.84/Reliability#Memory_bloat


Requesters Everyone
Requirements http://sugarlabs.org/go/DevelopmentTeam/0.84/Reliability#Datastore_rework


Requesters Eben
Requirements http://sugarlabs.org/go/DevelopmentTeam/0.84/Reliability#Solid_clipboard
Owners Eben, Tomeu, Marco

Journal, File Manipulation

"Candy Bag" or "Bulletin Board" activity

Requirements Idea for a new activity: Candy Bag. You open a bag (i.e. you launch the CandyBag activity), then you put journal entries in it, then sharing

this activity means that your friends can grab a candy in your bag. From: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-July/017459.html

Specification I'd be curious to see if there is a benefit to having a task like this manifested as an activity. It might work well. In fact, this might be the "Bulletin board" activity we've been wanting all along. There's also a design for a more embedded XO to XO object transfer system. Eben 19:40, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Object transfer

Requesters several deployments; not sure which
Requirements A way to send objects from one XO to another without a USB key, and without sharing the activity.
Specification XO to XO object transfer system. Eben 19:40, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Owners Simon, Eben

Copying files between Journal and USB

Requesters Bastien, Uruguay
Requirements As close to one click to cpoy files from Journal to USB.

File name and directory access

Requesters Gnu, Ben, Erik, Greg, Marvin
Requirements Allow listing, copying and finding files with standard Unix commands in the terminal view. See also point #1 at: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/9.1.0#e-mail_from_Ben_S


Translation Technology (See an earlier post, Scaling and localization in package management, for background.)

Spell checking

Requesters Sayamindu, Sur list
Owners Sayamindu

Language customization

Requesters Sayamindu, Sur list
Requirements An ability customize language (and related settings) without OLPC intervention

Chinese language support

Requesters Kim

RTL support



Requesters Sayamindu
Owners Sayamindu

Security, activation and deployability

GUI OS Updates

Requesters Eben, Scott
Requirements Easy GUI update of OS over net or from USB; Mostly for G1G1 but useful for all.
Specification (I believe this needs to be divided into 'customization key' and initial install. The install has to do with the logistics, USB keys and wireless downloads. Customization has to do with how the image is created before the logistics of how to get it on laptops. Kimquirk 17:25, 9 October 2008 (UTC))

Many deployments have noted how hard it is to install or upgrade, especially on thousands of XOs. One issue is that inevitably, the Xos ship from the factory with an older build and countries need to upgrade them before deploying. I call that "upgrade in a warehouse". In other cases the XOs get deployed but there is little or no WAN available to upgrade.


Faster imaging

Requesters Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti
Requirements This feature request is needed to minimize the time to install a custom image over a wireless or wired network. It will be used when an XO comes from the factory with an older release. The deployment then needs to upgrade to the latest release and possibly install some customizations (e.g. content, language pack, activities, see also separate customization requirement below). The solution must be faster than imaging via USB sticks for imaging more than 1,000 XOs. Must allow install of new image via wireless or wired network. Possibly sub-variants of in school case for Mesh, Wireless AP, XS.

Workflow example for the network case above:

  1. XOs leave the factory with an older image (e.g. 8.2.1) which includes this OFW code.
  2. A custom image based on the same or a later release including activities, content, language and maybe other customizations is prepared and loaded on the XS.
  3. An AP is setup and wired to the server.
  4. The XOs are turned on, as many as they have power jacks for. On boot up we can require that they hold down some special keys (game keys).
  5. Release the keys and the XOs find the AP and start listening on preconfigured multicast broadcast address.
  6. The XS broadcasts on the preconfigured address and each XO starts receiving.
  7. In case of errors which are more than what can be recovered by error correction the XOs, pick up again on the second broadcast or third or up to ... n (where is configurable or they just turn t he server off).
  8. When the XO has a complete image it notifies by putting a special image on the screen.
  9. On next reboot of the XO its running the new image. Subsequent boots do not do this multicast listening unless configured specifically by the user.
Specification See also: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Multicast_NAND_FLASH_Update

Some open issues to be addressed by the design proposal:

  • Do we pre-configure an ESSID and multicast addresses and hard code those in the factory?
  • Can we get it down to no intervention of hold down games keys only?
  • What happens if you turn on "too many" XOs? Can we just let them turn on as many as they want and we'll fill them in some order or should we

limit it to set # of XOs at a time? Can we scale it by using more "channels" or more APs?

  • Any other security points?
Owners Greg, Reuben, Mitch

Image customization

Requesters Uruguay, Ethiopia, Colombia, Mexico (the last two especially for startup image customization). See source thread from Colombia at: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-July/017299.html
Requirements When imaging a new laptop or upgrading a laptop we must allow the deployment to create a custom image. This special image will allow XOs to be re-imaged via USB or over a network (via olpc-update to internet, via olpc-update to XS, via Quicker Imaging feature above). The customized image must allow configuration of the following items. These should be settable when creating a new image or when upgrading unless otherwise noted.
  • Must not require any user interaction with the keyboard. Can require holding down a game key on startup.
  • Must allow setting the language
  • Must allow installing a language pack
  • Must allow configuring the keyboard for a language
  • Must allow inclusion of activities and other content
  • Must allow installing an RPM (Ethiopia)
  • Must allow setting Time, Date Timezone
  • Must allow setting of all elements of the sugar-control panel, CLI and GUI versions.
  • Must work with activated XOs and non-activated XOs. In the non-activated case must activate them so the XO is ready for use in the school when done.
  • Must no require more than one reboot.
  • Should turn off when its done or show "success" screen then one key stroke and shutdown.
  • Must allow changing startup picture by copying an image to the XO. This should not require any OLPC developer intervention and should not need a new or special build.
  • Must not require that deployments request a new signed build from OLPC. This can be addressed by allowing them to sign their own builds or by allowing all the customizations listed to be made on a signed build without requiring that it be re-signed.

See also:

The following two points need redefinition and clarification:

  • Must work with activated XOs and non-activated XOs. In the non-activated case must activate them so the XO is ready for use in the school when done. (rewrite to cover pre-activated and lease feature disabled cases).
  • When imaging in a warehouse must activate the laptop
Specification * http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-March/011553.html

School server push of XO images

Requesters Peru
Requirements * The XO should be able to get the latest build from the school server
  • The administrator makes the desired build available in the designated directory. When ready, the administrator requests to 'push' the build to all laptops as they come on line. Both of these activities should be an easy-to-use UI at the school server.
  • A test requirement is the ability to create a white list of serial numbers that should be upgraded with the push.
Owners Martin

Activation lease security

Requesters Peru, Ethiopia (points 4 and 5), Uruguay?
Requirements * II-A1: 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.
  • II-A2: 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... (not trying to solve the problem, just want to note this requirement).
  • II-A3: Requirement - Must allow setting of the lease time by the deployment lead (User interface required). That is, they can set it for 90 days (or whatever they want) on the first lease expiration and can set it to 30 days on the second. The granularity should be at 24 hours and be from 1 day to never expire. Must allow generation of the keys by the deployment.
  • II-A4: Requirement - Support the same as described above for Peru but allow the server which determines the activation to be across the Internet (AKA over a WAN and ibn a data center run by the deployment).
  • II-A5: Requirement - Support the same requirement as described above but allow the reset of the activation to be done via USB key. That is, when an XO's lease expires, it must be booted with the USB key containing a special code. This can be done before it expires to extend the lease.

Actual security requirements: User:Mstone/Commentaries/Security_1

Specification * http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/4043

Theft reporting

Requesters Peru?
Requirements Sometimes known as 'active kill'. If the laptop is stolen, the serial number can be added to a 'stolen laptop' list so the laptop's activation can be turned off the next time it finds either a local school server or a global tracking server.
  • II-T1: Requirement: A trusted administrator can log into a central system (either regionally controlled or OLPC controlled) and add a serial number to the 'Stolen' list.
  • II-T2: Requirement: Any laptop that connects to a local or global server that finds a match on the 'Stolen' list, and it was originally activated with an activation key, will be de-activated.
  • II-T3: Requirement: The security must ensure that the person adding the stolen laptop is a person who has been given that access; and that the server causing the de-activation is a server that has been given that right.
  • II-T4: Requirement: Re-activating the laptop again requires the same procedure as initial activation or lease management.

XO Monitoring

Requesters Peru
Requirements Provide XS database and an API so that countries can create reports and monitoring for various aspects of XOs such as:
  • 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
  • Number of minutes in each activity per laptop; can we determine (and subtract) idle time?
  • Number of minutes in each activity within and outside of school hours (perhaps this means we capture the 'start' time of each activity and allow the reporting to decide if this is during or outside of school hours).

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.

Specification I (Kim) think there might be some work in the XO to make the information available; and a database and API spec from the school server.
Owners Kim


802.1x Support

Requesters Uruguay
Requirements Must allow association with APs running 802.1x
Specification http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11#Standard_and_amendments

Reliable access to encrypted APs

Requesters G1G1
Requirements Must reliably (better definition needed) associate with APs running WEP, WPA and WPAv2

Network Manager GUI

Requirements Needs definition of exactly what should be changed, why and how.

Document and Improve default network connection

Requesters ?
Requirements Better default network connection choice algorithm (e.g. if USB - Ethernet is connected, use it first source: A Callahan).
This already happens, but perhaps there are bugs. -DanielDrake 16:37, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

This algorithm should be "smart" in its first choice but should also be adjustable in the GUI.

  • Must include choosing wired over wireless, choosing one AP vs. another and choosing Mesh vs. AP.
  • Must minimize time trying to connect to an AP not desired (e.g. must not try to connect to mesh when user expected AP).

Needs further definition.


GUI, Usability

Hardware alerts

Requesters Uruguay
Requirements http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/sugar/2008-July/007086.html
Specification Designs ideas from Scott and Eben in thread. e.g. I hope our alert system will use the freedesktop.org standard: http://www.galago-project.org/specs/notification/index.php There is a visual design for the notification system as well.

Contextual help

Requesters Brianne
Requirements One idea from Eben. From: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/sugar/2008-August/007547.html

All of our initial discussions on help focused around a contextual help system, and I still hope that this is where we'll be taking this in the future. By embedding (?) icons within the secondary palette menus for various devices, objects, activities, and even individual buttons and controls, we can provide a way to launch into the help activity and dive directly to the relevant info for the activity, control, etc. selected. In addition, I'd like to support a community driven help system by which, in addition to the activity/olpc provided help, it's possible for kids to add tips, tricks, images, tutorials, and other info to these sections for later consumption by peers.

This is a noble, but ambitious goal, which is why a simple and static help activity is the present solution, and why it's only integrated into the system at a single point - the activity itself.


Trash can

Requesters Bastien
Requirements http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/sugar/2008-August/007889.html

Scalable zoom levels

Requesters UI Team, Collabora
Requirements We need to support a mechanism for auto-filtering the view to a "reasonable" set of activities and XOs, and provide rich mechanisms (search and filters) for adjusting one's perspective on the view to find items of interest.
Specification Gadget is the core of this effort. We need some additional UI work to hook it up. One aspect of the solution is the addition of list views to all zoom levels, making it possible to list the entire set of people, activities, access points etc, see their icon and name at a glance, sort alphabetically or by type, and also filter as desired.
Owners Eben, Collabora


System Clock

Requesters Birmingham and seen on devel list (anyone have time to search for the threads?)
  • Must have a clock on the XO. Can be visible in the frame or built as an activity. If built in to the frame, must be configurable in graphical control panel to show it or not.
  • Must allow analog (aka hands) or digital time.
  • Must allow setting the time. (also sets the XO's time Linux? if so allow configuring NTP?).
  • Should include an alarm clock and a stop watch mode.
Owners Greg

Screen Zoom

Requesters Greg
Requirements This idea came from watching kids and grownups gathering around an XO and trying to see what someone else is doing.
  • Must allow zooming the screen in so that a portion of the screen is "magnified"
  • Must allow centering the zoom on different parts of the screen. Possibly chosen by centering where the cursor is or possibly selecting a box with drag or keyboard input.
  • Must allow several zoom (magnification not sugar zoom levels) levels, preferably a smooth range from 1x to 10x
  • Must allow scrolling to move the magnified image to see things otherwise off screen. Preferably a smooth scroll but can be discrete steps if needed. Must allow scrolling via cursor or keyboard input (keyboard needed in case XO has a gimpy cursor). Must allow user choice of scroll input by user configuration (cursor or keyboard).
  • Should allow one touch snap back to 1:1.
  • Should have as clean interpolation as possible.
Specification Ben said that the Geode has HW scaling with interpolation. This feature should come at no/bare minimum cost to CPU cycles and performance.
Owners Greg

Priorities from Engineering

The following is maintained here for the history and a look at what people want to do by engineer. However, I hope that everything in this section will also have a place in the Feature list above. If you added something here, please also find a home for it in the section above.
Thanks Gregorio 13:13, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Upgrade journal per: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Human_Interface_Guidelines/The_Laptop_Experience/The_Journal

Less flickering in starting activities and other screen changes - Michael

Show memory usage to user:
We provide no end user feedback on memory usage, either. We should investigate whether revisiting our previous attempt to give such feedback, now that Linux can provide much better information than it could when we abandoned our previous donut attempt. The users could really help, if only we let them know a bit about what was going on... From Jim e-mail to devel: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-September/018944.html

Fedora 10 rebase?

Fix all GPL issues and get sign off from FSF that we are fully compliant.

Ensure the blinking of the lights is meaningful.

Debug tool that easily allows plug of diagnostic USB stick which analyzes and reports back detailed status.
ErikG idea from Uruguay

Backup to Internet idea from Walter:

Stability suggestion from Albert C (and his children) re. protecting against out of RAM conditions:

Sugar roadmap


Easier Access to and Help Using Source Code

Put a link in the library on the XO which links to GIT or other relevant source. (source: John/Gnu)

Improved clipboard

Here is a rough specification of the intended design for a usable multi-item clipboard. I'll add a list of related tickets shortly.

Sugar architecture ideas

From thread started by Michael S

e-mail from Ben S


1. The datastore
Sugar's design calls for a centralized rich data storage system, the datastore. The datastore provides secure, limited file access to Activities, manages file metadata, maintains a differentially compressed history of all work, ensures reliable backups to a trusted server, and mediates the connection to removable media. Every one of these features is crucial to Sugar's functioning, and almost none are really working at this time. We cannot afford another release based on the present datastore, as it fails to implement the features we require, and is unreliable even in the features it supposedly implements.

There have, at this point, been at least five distinct proposals for a next-generation datastore design, all differing in underlying implementation and user-facing functionality. We need to have a Once And For All datastore summit, draw up a compromise datastore design, and implement it. We can do this by 9.1.0, if we are willing to make it a priority.

Additional Links:

- Expose the file system on save, open and in the journal. Source: Marvin Minsky

2. OS Updates
We now have hundreds of thousands of laptops deployed in the field, running a variety of OS versions. OLPC cannot afford to support a multitude of decrepit versions, and children cannot afford to suffer defects that have long since been fixed. We need a reliable, fast, update system that does not rely on the network, so that children everywhere can move to the latest version of Sugar without losing their data. The update system must support tremendously invasive upgrades, like repartitioning the NAND and replacing JFFS2, because we expect to do this in short order.

A secure usb autoreinstallation stick is required. It is not technically challenging to implement, but it must be made a priority, and then be made widely available and idiot-proof.

3. File Sharing
Students and teachers have no good way to distribute files directly from one person's Journal to another. If all Activities that open a file do not implement Collaboration, then there is simply no way to transfer that file over the network. This is the most basic possible network functionality --- FTP was standardized in 1971 --- but it is completely missing from our system.

A number of technical proof-of-concept programs have been written for distributing files, using methods like HTTP over stream tubes and Cerebro's Teleport. There is an excellent set of [[Specifications/Object_Transfers|UI mockups for this] functionality. All that is left is to Get It Done.

Additional Links:

4. Activity Modification
A keystone of the Sugar design has always been the user's ability to edit any Activity, and to cement this a "View Source" key was designed right into the hardware. This functionality is simply missing, and that prevents us from making our principal claim regarding an emphasis on user modification.

"Develop" must be polished, finished, and included by default. This will require modifications to the core system, in order to support an endless variety of slightly modified Activities. It will also require work on the Develop program itself. If volunteer efforts are not moving fast enough, OLPC must ensure that someone is working on the problem as a professional.

Additional links:

5. Bitfrost
Sugar, as it currently stands, is among the least secure operating systems ever, far less secure than any modern Linux or Windows OS. I can easily write an Activity that, when run by the user, escalates to root privileges and does anything I like with the system. Given Sugar's competitive status against Windows XO, this failing threatens the very existence of the project. The Sugar designs have long stated that safely running untrusted code from a classmate is a key goal for learning, but the current software accomplishes precisely the opposite.

NO ONE IS WORKING ON BITFROST. That's right. Everyone who was working on Sugar security (after activation) has either left OLPC or moved into another role. Someone must be assigned to continue the security work, or it will certainly never make progress. Anyone who _does_ take on this challenge will start from a much better position than previously, because many of the Vserver features have moved into the mainline kernel over the last few versions. The kernel now contains a number of new, powerful isolation and control primitives.

6. Power management
Power management is the raison d'etre of the XO hardware. It is the reason that the hardware took four times as long to develop as a standard laptop, the reason that we suffer from the closed Marvell operating system, the reason that OLPC's best engineers flew around the globe fighting with details of voltage and capacitance. In an increasingly crowded low cost laptop market, it is one of OLPC's few remaining distinctions. As of 8.2.0, aggressive suspend is available, but its functionality is still far from the target.

Enabling aggressive power management is a major challenge, perhaps more difficult than anything else on this list. We know what is required for a first step: ensure that we can reliably wake up from a hardware timer.

This single feature would be enough to enable a basic sleepy approach that is truly transparent to software. Other work includes removing USB from the critical path on resume. Aggressive suspend may not be ready for 9.1.0, but if no one is working on it it will never be ready.

Easy update for G1G1

I think this is the biggest missing feature for G1G1 users, honestly. The software update control panel for activities is a great step in the right direction, but to really get people into Sugar moving forward, we have to make one-click updates a reality. They have no school server or other centralized source doing it for them, and we can't expect many to go through the manual update process. Once we have a super-simple control-panel-integrated dev key request process, we should also adjust the update UI to offer cutting-edge updates to those with keys.

From Eben and Joe

Suggestions from User:CScott

Moved to User:CScott#Desiderata_for_9.1.0. Crib proposals from there. The canonical source for my 9.1.0 proposals is now the postings to devel@ I made, with subject lines beginning, "9.1 Proposal:".

TODO list of User:Sayamindu

  • Language Packs version 3
    • Packs should be as RPMs
    • Utilize patches from Ubuntu for Python and Glibc to define a separate install location/search path for PO files installed via the packs
    • Also see CScott's wishlist above.
  • SCIM support
    • Conversion of all existing layouts to m17n db format , along with refinements and better support for modifiers whenever possible (<trac>6280</trac>
    • Modification of relevant startup and configuration scripts for SCIM support
    • User experience for keyboard layout switching should not change
    • Proper handling of Amharic characters (<trac>8494</trac>)
    • Implementation of OLPC_Nepal_Keyboard
  • Enhanced i18n
    • Better support for translation of content
    • Investigation of the possibility of using native digits for translations <trac>7857</trac>
  • Read improvements
    • Better Ebook mode support (still vague on this.. expect more details soon)
  • Terminal improvements
    • Copy paste and drag and drop support enhancements
    • Pippyfication (<trac>5543</trac>)
    • Better handling of "Run as root in the UI"
  • Support for standard desktop applications in Sugar
    • Replace matchbox with something more friendlier to standard desktop applications
    • Support for .desktop files in the launcher list
    • Support startup-notification
    • Support standard application icons on the frame

Thoughts from User:cjb

  • Power turned on by default.
  • Translation of Sugar inside Sugar?
  • A working Distribute activity for journal objects (could be in the Journal)

Thoughts from User:Mstone

  • Security already contains my immediate security roadmap.
  • My user page links to several of my other ideas, many of which are procedural improvements with software components.
  • My largest ongoing concern is that we have not yet smoothly carried a deployment through an update to a new major stable release. (Peru may become our first exception to this rule, but this remains to be seen.)

Notes from sj

This page shouldn't be broken down by contributor; it needs serious refactoring and organization by topic and scope.

Library and bundle updates:

  • API and .info unification across content and activity bundles. Making both and a general generic bundle clearly described within an overarching bundle format.
    • thought experiment : how does one present an activity (has its own isolation-friendly code) that includes a library bundle (its own browser-browsable static content, help and supplemental materials) and a generic resource bundle (a repository of sounds and images) look like? How do other parts of the system (the Journal, Browse, other activities) see and interact with these three collections of material (to browse and copy the code, to view the static content, to aggregate the resource collections with other collections)?
  • a Dynamic library implementation
  • coordination of a unified help interface building on top of the library bundles defined for each activity on the system.
    • integration of some way to update and share this. related to how to leave a comment on/about an activity or file/resource
  • coordination of local library bundles, and regional caches of viewed material, school server caches of bundles, and web caches.
  • cleaner display of available bundles via a bundle updater; relatd to but not the same as the current software upgrade function, which has a strong emphasis on olpc-stamped/signed materials

Sharing updates:

  • provide a way to send a file to someone else. related to bundle (activity).
  • provide a way to publish material to the world. related slightly to how edublog works now? see also robson's and juliano's interests here
  • add support for asynchronous sharing over time : the sharing of an effort should not require everyone to be online at once.

Adding basic interface pieces that we want to support in the long term, and making them do something familiar, reliably, every time they are at hand. "escape", "stop/start", "share", "view source", "keep", "cut" and "paste" should all do fairly reliable things across activities. Make them do something recognizable even when the activity developer hasn't provided an app-specific hook for same.

Replacement file system

The current file system used on the XO ([JFFS2]) was developed in the days of 32/64MiB NOR flash devices and does not scale well to the 1GiB NAND devices we are using today and certainly will not deal well with larger devices in gen 1.5 and gen 2 systems. The main issues are that JFFS2 needs to scan all blocks at mount time and that the garbage collection algorithm increasingly consumes CPU cycles as the system fills up. The first issue manifests itself as large delays at boot up to mount the file system as it is full (need to quantify this), and the second issue simply means less CPU cycles can be dedicated to user task processing. In the last few years, there has been much activity in the embedded Linux world on alternatives to JFFS2 and we need to investigate these to determine which one best fits our needs:

  • YAFFS2 : Has been around for several years and in active use in the embedded space. It does not provide compression out of the box as the devices that use it often carry already compressed data such as MP3 and MPG files.
  • UBIFS: A new file system recently merged into the kernel designed for use on large flash devices. Supports compression out of the box and supports disabling compression on a per-inode basis, which is something we desire.
  • LogFS : Another JFFS2 replacement designed for fast operation and scalability. Still fairly new and not in very active use AFAIK.
  • Btrfs : A very new file system that is primarily targeted for large storage systems with features such as snapshotting, RAID support, and online fsck. David Woodhouse has expressed that he will look into getting this to work on NAND, but it is too new of a code base to consider for 9.1
  • Managed NAND : (Not an option for existing XO machines, but might be a direction for future hardware) The industry seems to be moving away from raw NAND in favor of a NAND-chip plus microcontroller solution. The microcontroller implements a Flash Translation Layer that hides the low level NAND details, presenting a higher level interface that looks like an ordinary hard disk, so an ordinary filesystem layout like ext3 could be used. The driving force behind managed NAND is rapid hardware evolution toward multi-level-cell NAND chips and smaller process geometries, which change important NAND parameters like page sizes and ECC. The situation is similar to what happened with hard disks in the 80's, where raw-disk interfaces gave way to SCSI and IDE, which hide the ugly low-level details that changed every technology generation. Managed NAND options include LBA-NAND from Toshiba (pin-compatible with NAND chips), eMMC from multiple vendors (with an SD/MMC-compatible hardware interface), and various "disk on chip" products (IDE-compatible interface).

Development process

  • Analyze and quantify the use patterns that trigger issues with JFFS2.
  • Gather requirements for a new file system that go beyond solving above issues.
  • Develop/integrate a set of tests for FS performance and reliability that take into account our use patterns, the above issues, and any other features we wish to validate.
  • Study the three main alternatives (YAFFS, UbiFS, LogFS) to determine what requirements they meet
  • Run our FS test suite on above alternatives
  • Analyze test results and requirements study and make a decision on which alternative to use.

Deployment process

Once a file system is chosen from the above process, we will have to:

  • Integrate the file system into our kernel if it is not upstream (YAFFS2 or Logfs)
  • Integrate the file system support packages into our build system and file system images
  • Update our build scripts to generate the proper image type for

Activity impact

This change should not have any impact on activity developers as it is at a very low level of the stack.

End-user impact

End users will see faster boot up time and will not see (as much) performance degradation as the file system fills up.

Comments from other interested parties

Browse/XULRunner opportunities from User:Skierpage

XULRunner 1.9.1, the Mozilla code powering Firefox 3.1, should be released in the 9.1.0 timeframe.

Activities and content can use its new features, at the risk of incompatibility with earlier Sugar releases.

<audio> and <video> in the browser

XULRunner 1.9.1 supports the HTML5 <audio> and <video> tags, providing the ability to play OGG audio and video files natively in the browser. This will probably improve performance and reduce memory footprint compared with embedding the Totem plugin, the trade-off needs to be tested and Browse configured accordingly.

Wikipedia articles and thus Wikislices can take advantage of this, and richer multimedia in Browse becomes practical.

Key modules and relevant module roadmaps

Standard information

(These are all semantic annotations that other pages such as Releases can query.)

Release notes: Release notes/Feature roadmap

Status: status::gathering requirements and setting priorities

Primary maintainer: not chosen yet

ECO: not yet

Primary objectives:

The process is not final. It is a set of rough guidelines still being worked out and subject to change.

Lead customer: ?

Build number and URL: Build number::999

Schedule: tbd, should be first half CY 09 and possibly as early as December 2008.

Template proposal

A proposed template for managing this page:Template:Feature_request. In addition to looking nice, use of a template makes it easy to update or adjust the appearance of all feature requests easily in the future.

My cool feature

Requesters Some countries
Requirements Some requirements
  • or
  • a
  • list
  • of
  • them
Specification Detailed specification
  • or a list
  • of relevant links
Owners Some developers