[Community-news] OLPC News 2007-09-08

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Sat Sep 8 20:40:58 EDT 2007

1. Schedule/features: As mentioned, there were Sugar, network, and
security reviews this week resulting in the reporting of some new bugs
and future features. One outcome was the identification of some
last-minute features, so we will not be ready for code freeze on
Monday—we are probably off by about a week. Next week, we will have a
major push to get all remaining blocking bugs addressed.

2. Testing/Support: Alex Latham joined OLPC for a fall internship and
has already contributed to the testing efforts, finding and reporting
bugs. Over the next few weeks we need to concentrate effort towards
both more "random" testing and our more formal test procedures (See
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User_Stories_Testing). Anyone who has time
and a laptop can help by loading the latest release and going through
some of the test plans. Please report your bugs to trac
(htp://dev.laptop.org) and your high-level thoughts to the Test Group
Release Notes page in the wiki (See

3. Update to Trial-2 software: A change in our build system caused
several languages to not be properly included in our Trial-2 build. A
new build, 542.3, was released to fix this. There remain some problems
with the Spanish and Portuguese versions of TamTam that are still
being worked on.

4. Updates: Scott Ananian spend this week working on upgrades.  He got
an rsync-based upgrade server now running at http://updates.laptop.org
under a fakeroot; and he modified the manifest format and code to make
it easier to read incrementally (so we don't need to keep the entire
filesystem manifest in memory during sync and validation).

5. Activities: This week there were updates to the Write Activity,
TamTam, Memorize, Chat, Etoys, Record, and Calculate. Also, XoIRC—an
Internet-relay chat client activity written by Eduardo Silva and
dedicated to the #olpc-help channel—made its first appearance. Chris
Ball released a new version of Pippy that allows you to access a fully
interactive Python interpreter, as well as the example programs.
Muriel de Souza Godoi fixed some Memorize bugs (and released v16).

6. Kernel: Andres Salomon has been been working with Arjun Sarwal,
author of the Measure Activity, to determine what we actually want the
laptop sound driver to do. As a result, Andres reworked the way that
the sound driver handles high-pass filter/analog input and V_REFOUT.
Andres synced his sound driver with master—they are slowly working
their way through upstream's ALSA tree. Andres also synced the master
branch up with the stable branch's EC code, making debugging cleaner
in the process. He also made the EC-delay timeout configurable
(olpc_ec_timeout=<ms>). Richard Smith also supplied a fix for the
always-charging bug in the battery driver.

7. Universal serial converter: Joel Stanley finished up his last week
of his OLPC internship with work on testing the new XO universal
serial converter, which is used for breaking out a serial-port and
debricking capability on the laptop. Thanks to Joel for some great

8. Firmware: Lilian Walter started research on IP security (IPsec) for
IPv6. Internet key exchange (IKE) v1 can be readily tested using
racoon—an IKE daemon for automatically keying IPsec connections that
is distributed with FC7. IKE v2 can be tested with racoon2 after
building it. That will be the next phase.

Mitch Bradley made a stripped-down OFW that will fit in 128K,
including SD and (probably) USB mass storage drivers, but without
networking, to enable us to have a backup recovery path in case of
boot ROM reflash problems. He is waiting for testing on the OS signing
and activation features that are in the firmware was released last

Mitch is also working with Quanta and David Woodhouse to track down
some more instances of NAND FLASH corruption (possibly manifestations
of Trac #1905, but it is perhaps a new problem).

9. X Window System: Stefano Fedrigo (a volunteer from Italy) profiled
our graphics performance at 16-bit and 24-bit color depth; this will
help us decide which depth to use, since there are trade-offs
involved. Stefano, Bernardo Innocenti, and Chris Ball are working on
further analysis.

Bernardo Innocenti has been working on merging all recent changes to
keyboard definitions from Walter Bender, Sergey Udaltsov, and Jim
Gettys into an OLPC patch for our xkeyboard-config package. The RPM is
in the builds and looks fine so far. Bernie is planning to send the
upstream and maybe propose this package for F8.

Sergey, Walter, Lidet Tilahun, and Mako Hill have provided additional
bits and suggestions for comprehensive Ethiopian support. Bernie has
been able to assemble the various pieces, but for moment, they are
only adequate for demonstration purposes. Next week, Bernie will work
on packaging these bits for the builds.

10. Games: MIT's GAMBIT program started operating this summer out of 5
Cambridge Center, under the direction of Philip Tan. They run a
practical design course in the fall and will have a group working on
game development for XOs.

11. Jams: Game Jam Brasil is scheduled for the last week in September.
 Mel Chua expects to be in Manila for their Jam the first weekend in
October. Chris Torstenson and Kevin Driscoll are planning a Boston
Content Jam for the same time.

12. University chapters: Olin College started a university chapter on
Wednesday, and are drafting a model for other universities to follow.
People from other universities are encouraged to help define the model
(See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/University_program).

13. Translations: Todd Kelsey and Lingotech are working on
translations of demo notes for the laptop, as an example of
short-turnaround localization of specific useful documents. Draft
documents in Spanish, Amharic, Portuguese, Thai, Arabic and other
languages are in the wiki (See
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/542_Demo_Notes). These are being
reintegrated with the on-wiki translation system. To get a document
translated, post it to the wiki and note the need for translation (See
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Translating for a more detailed description
of how wiki pages get translated).

14. Cartoons and Comics: The Avallain comic maker had an alpha release
this week: you can make your own layered comics with custom
backgrounds and resizable characters in Javascript; and save your
creations. At the moment, these simply work through the browser;
exporting to a flat image and sharing are coming next (See

15. Our Stories: Asabe Yabani is working on a detailed implementation
plan for OurStories in Nigeria. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon,
Queen Rania of Jordan, and former child-soldier Ishmael Beah are
recording audio clips about Our Stories over the coming weeks, in
preparation for a site launch (coordinated by Google) on October 15.
XOs remain a focus for recording of stories.

Walter Bender
One Laptop per Child

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