[Community-news] OLPC News 2007-09-29

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Sat Sep 29 17:37:51 EDT 2007

1. Mumbai: Carla Gomez Monroy has been working with a team from
Reliance to launch a new trial at the Khairat School.

2. Sugar: Simon Schamijer, Tomeu Vizoso, and Marco Pesenti Gritti
spent most of the week sorting through trac entries to determine what
needs to be done for our first release (FRS). Simon fixed a bug with
"set title"; activities now have the same title on the home screen and
in the Journal. Tomeu worked on the key dialog in the neighborhood
view so it accepts ASCII pass-phrases in WEP networks. He discussed
with Marco and Benjamin Berg possibilities of improving the preview
support in the Journal. And he improved Journal's tolerance to
malformed entries.
There has been a good discussion on the Sugar mailing list about
integration of the datastore in the security framework; progress is
being made.

3. Kernel: Andres Salomon merged bugfixes into the vserver branch of
the kernel; updated the playground branch; and fixed the "green boxes"
bug (the DCON driver was restoring bogus register states). He is also
fixing the "smbus is unstable on resume" bug. In the process the "VMEM
being funky" bug was discovered and fixed (via ECO). The DCON kernel
code has slowly drifted away from the Open Firmware DCON code, so
Andres is synchronizing the two.

Chris Ball found some time to work on our power manager, OHM. It now
knows which power state we're in when deciding which action to take;
the first behavior change is that we no longer suspend when the lid
closes if we're on AC power. This and more power changes will be in

4. Laptop Suspend/Resume Hunt: The hardware team was consumed with the
continuing search for suspend/resume problems. We have been
identifying the source of glitches on the laptop power rails, and
fixing them one by one. We are still seeing a mix of bug
manifestations, although the frequency of crashes has been reduced. At
this time, modified laptops typically run for ten- to twenty-thousand
suspend/resume cycles, being woken each time by the arrival of a
network packet.

We are reaching the point where testing to see the effect of a
hardware change is time consuming; we have a testbed of eight machines
cycling continuously whose serial consoles are being logged to allow
us to qualify where in the cycle a crash occurred. If woken by a timer
instead of the arrival of a network packet, modified laptops have not
been seen to crash, but we have not yet run one for
more than 50-thousand cycles.

5. Firmware: Mitch Bradley implemented a full firmware secure-boot
sequence including firmware updates and developer-key checks. The
secure-boot sequence will doubtless undergo some revisions as we shake
it out. Mitch also implemented the firmware end of pretty-boot,
including the XO-man background and graphical depiction of the secure
update/boot sequence He also defined and began implementing NAND boot
speedups, using existing upstream kernel features for making a small
boot partition on NAND.

6. Schedules: First candidate release of Trial-3 code was dropped to
Quanta, build 608. Next week we will do final testing on the OFW
security features, finalize on EC and kernel fixes needed for suspend
and resume, and create Candidate 2. We will also focus on
prioritization of the first deployment (FRS) bug/task list.

7. Testing: There was a big push this week to get to a lot of
functional testing, document the open issues and find work-arounds
whenever possible for the Trial-3 release. Alex Latham tested:
transfer of files using USB; human-readable file names in the Journal;
clipboard objects; and Gstreamer (the browser media player) and Watch
and Listen. He also compiled group of test files of all supported mime
types. Alex tested upgrades (from Build 542 to current builds) and
noted that some activities that have changed greatly cannot resume old
journal entries. And he tested upgrading from web. Zack Cerza and Yani
Galanis focused their efforts on wireless and collaboration.
Collaboration is not as reliable as we'd like it to be; for example,
one is not notified when one's buddies leave a session. WPA will not
be supported in Trial 3.

8. Journalism Jam New York: Last weekend's journalism jam included
presentations by Eben Moglen and Susan Crawford; with coordination
from Brendan Ballou and help from Lauren Klein, Danny Clark, and a
team of high school testers, it came off smoothly. The result was a
working prototype activity for recording and blogging articles, and
some guidelines for how to write a good article and how to present it
to an audience (See http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Report). Dan Sutera, who
worked on the project, has offered to maintain it and turn it into
something that will scale to thousands of schools.

9. Libraries: The Boston Public Library has offered to curate a
collection similar to the school libraries their librarians help
develop for local schools, for international use. Bernie Margolis, the
BPL's president, and Maura Manx, heading their digital collections,
got general approval for the idea from their board and have Brewster
Kahle's explicit support. They would like to make some of their first
collections for children and specifically for schools, and would like
to showcase the results on laptops in their main library; including in
a display indicating the lifecycle of a digitized work.


Walter Bender
One Laptop per Child

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