[Community-news] OLPC News (2008-07-28)

Jim Gettys jg at laptop.org
Mon Jul 28 10:39:36 EDT 2008

Community News
A weekly update of One Laptop per Child, July 27, 2008


Rwanda:Preparations continue for the distribution of the first five
thousand laptops. The core team completed translation of Sugar and
Scratch into Kinyarwanda, the Rwandan national language. They received
digitized textbooks for most grades and started the scanning process for
the remaining books. They also were able to reduce the PDF file size
more than 16 times, making it possible to load several books inside the
XOs. The school selection process goes on. It is a challenge to match
community saturation with available electricity. Carine Umutesi from
RITA and Eugene Karangwa from the ministry of education are searching
hard for such a cluster of schools. The scheduled date for laptop
distribution is August 11th.

Haiti: The core team is wrapping up Camp XO 2008 at Ecole Nationale
Republique du Chile.  On July 31st, the last day of camp, the kids will
display their work and demonstrate their skills to several officials and
the media. Thursday, August 1st, will be parents’ day. 

The team also is running full speed in preparation for the start of
school in September. They have decided to go with solar panels. This
week, they will visit two schools in the region as part of the XO school
selection process.


Mongolia: Nicholas visited the scenic Lake Khuvsgul region, where he met
with the Mongolian team at the end of their latest rural swing - three
stops in the north. The village/town has a population of 2000. The team
includes six Mongolian teachers from Ulaanbaatar who are being trained
to carry on the learning workshops as more laptops roll out at the
beginning of the school year in September. Nicholas meets President
Nambaryn Enkhbayar on Tuesday to press for full deployment, every child
in the country, as in Uruguay.

Perú: Kim Quirk visited the Chavalina School in Chincha, a poor
community of 50,000 located about 200 km south of Lima. Chavalina and
three other Chincha schools were selected by the ministry of education
to receive XOs. Her report:

“Chincha was hit very hard by the earthquake last August, and they are
still rebuilding the school and many homes in the town. The school we
visited has 70 students, aged six to 12, in three classrooms with three

“The teachers are very excited about the laptops, the program, and the
fact that their students were selected to participate. The kids are
obviously excited about the laptops and showed us how they are using the
machines - write, record, paint, puzzles, memory, and more.

“They received their XOs in late April, and already have had five or six
problems with the 70 machines deployed, which has made it a little
difficult for them. When a laptop breaks, the child goes without. It
also takes a long time to charge the laptops as they only have one
working electrical outlet, and one power strip. There is little direct
sunlight in Chincha for four to five months out of the year, so solar is
not a good option.

“They have no Internet connectivity, so this might be a good place for
us to help get Telefonica involved.

“We discussed with them the formal process for submitting a repair or
spare parts request, so they could do their own repairs. We also
suggested that all the Chincha schools form one repair center.”

More details:http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Chincha

More pictures from Chincha:


India: Satish Jha, OLPC India’s CEO and president, has started working
with Manusheel Gupta. Satish will be formally introduced locally be
Nicholas on August 4 during OLPC India Day. (See poster below)

Satish already is discussing a customs duty exemption for the XO with
government officials, and will pursue the subject in upcoming contacts
with various agencies, including the Ministry of Finance. 

Nepal: Rabi Karmacharya reports “the government of Nepal has allocated
three million rupees in this year's budget for the One Laptop per Child
project. It is not a huge amount, but it is a significant step by the
government to indicate that they are seriously considering OLPC in
Nepal. We are now insisting that the Department of Education seek more
funding from donors to implement One Laptop per Child in two districts.
We have told them that Open Learning Exchange Nepal will take care of
piloting in three other districts.”



1. Ricardo and Brian Cavagnolo have finished testing the unified code
for programming the active antennas. The active antennas used to require
different utilities and/or drivers, as well as different wireless
firmware to be programmed. 

With the new driver support and recently-released 5.110.22.p17 wireless
firmware, they can be programmed from an XO without the user having to
manipulate firmware files and load/unload special drivers. Programming
the operating channel is now also supported. 

With the upcoming addition of the thin firmware driver in our builds,
our radios can be used in client, access point, mesh, and stand-alone
mesh repeater mode as well as take advantage of the latest developments
in the linux mac80211 networking stack. 

2. Ricardo, Michail and Prof. Luiz Magalhaez from UFF in Niteroy,
Brazil, drafted an action plan for engaging Luiz's graduate students in
applied XO networking research. Among the projects they defined was an
ns-2 module for OLPC's mesh networking protocol, MAD (Mesh Adaptation
Daemon) heuristics as well as an error-correcting UDP tunnel for
internet access over the mesh. 

3. Ankur Verma worked on integrating SMS capabilities on the XO. He
interfaced a GSM cell phone as a participant to an XO chat session so
that users participating in the chat can send and receive SMS messages.
This being his last week of internship at OLPC offices, he gave a brief
presentation about his 

work. He will continue with the last year of undergraduate engineering
course at N.S.I.T., University of Delhi and plans to continue working
for OLPC while at school. 

4. Deepak Saxena further debugged the suspend/resume issues we are
seeing during stress testing (#7458). While he has not determined the
exact root cause, Deepak has determined what the overall issue is. 

5.Richard Smith provided an updated firmware to help with testing. He
also spent time debugging UnionFS in support of Erik Garrison's work for
handling the NAND full issues that our Uruguay deployment is seeing. 

6. Deepak also worked on another small kernel power management change
(#7356), a boot from USB bug (#7620), reflected on kernel build
repository and build setup to prepare us for having multiple release
streams (2.6.22, 2.625) that we need to maintain, and attended OSCON,
where he met some local folks from OSU who are working on printing
support for Sugar. 

7. Mitch Bradley is very close to feature complete for Windows XP
support in OFW2, booting in non-secure mode from an SD card. His
progress includes stabilizing the suspend/resume support and adding ACPI
support for battery status reporting. The remaining work is mostly
testing. Support for booting Windows from NAND FLASH is still in the
design phase, as is Bitfrost security for booting Windows. 

8. Michail and Mitch had a conference call with Microsoft engineers to
discuss progress on OFW2 efforts, as well as paths towards a higher
flash memory capacity XO. One alternative is to use a "managed" NAND
chip, in which the Flash Translation Layer functionality is handled by a
separate microprocessor on the NAND module. The industry seems to be
moving in this direction for the next generation of NAND chips. We are
evaluating such a device on an XO board.


9. On the school server track Martin Langhoff finished off the XO backup
packages. A big thanks to Rahul Sundaram from RedHat/Fedora for his help
with those packages.

10. Marco Gritti implemented new logic for the new window handling in
Browse to fix a problem in the latest builds related to web sites not
working correctly.

11. Sayamindu Dasgupta worked on the keyboard layout related bugs, and
managed to track down the root cause for Amharic Compose keys not

12. Chris Ball added new tests to the Tinderbox, and worked on the
wake-up events mask in the kernel.

13. Mohit Taneja reports that a substantial amount of work has been done
on the FoodForce2 project this week. The major remaining work is related
to the qualitative analysis of some of the game quantities and inclusion
of features in the “Wishlist.”

14. Faisal Anwar of Media Modifications continued his work on the Sugar
Almanac. He has documented examples of the Sugar clipboard in
consultation with the core Sugar team and the extended developer
community. Please be sure to
checkhttp://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sugar_Almanacand contribute to this
community resource based on your experiences as developers or end users.


15. Joe Feinstein, Charlie Murphy, Sean Hooley and Frances Hopkins
continued testing 8.1.1 and 8.2.0 builds. This included backup build 708
and Joyride 2200 ("work-in-progress"). Charlie worked on the test case
template and started creating test cases for the new graphical Sugar
control panel. Seth Woodworth and Francesca Slade assisted.

16. Joe continued testing the XO with a new motherboard as well as
testing of the current Joyride 2200. Per agreement with the development
team, every Wednesday the QA team will be provided with the current
Joyride for ongoing testing towards 8.2.0 release. 


17. A number of people are at work on a problem, reported from Uruguay,
where a laptop that has been working well for a long time can fail to
boot when its flash memory fills up. We believe we have a good fix that
will be available in the next release, 8.2. We are continuing the
discussion to come up with good solution for laptops that already have

18. Walter Bender's Sugar digest:

Jim Gettys <jg at laptop.org>
One Laptop Per Child
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