Presentation & questions

Guylhem Aznar olpc at
Sat Aug 4 21:35:42 EDT 2007


I have many many questions but starting with them would be rude - so I
will first introduce myself :-)

My name is Guylhem Aznar, I am a medical resident doing a PhD in
computer science, working on computer support for a written form of
sign languages. (for a good introduction on the topic, see I have been using GNU/Linux since 1993, wrote
various application (xiterm, etc), documentation ( played
with Linux on ARM devices (first with the zaurus, then,

For my CS PhD thesis, after having worked on the other aspects of the
problem of global computer support, mostly revolving on the
encoding/Unicode issues, I am now working on the display and the entry
process of signwriting support,

Following a real-life test of an XO at the RMLL in Amiens, France, I
reoriented my work from the basic Gnome support (which isn't research
work by itself) to the more interesting issues an OLPC implementation
would bring (which is full of unknowns - like will the faster
algorithms I proposed will be fast enough on an OLPC?)

Anyway, I currently have  2 research topics :
 1. how can the OLPC display signwriting text. I read some good
guidelines on
but I wonder how children will perform with signwriting, which is
quite different from written text
 2. how can the stylus area be used to help writing in signwriting.
This is still an open problem, for which current methods relies on
either on-screen pickup of signs or keyboard based "shortcuts"

After this quick introduction, here are the questions I have.  Spent a
lot of time with google,  the wiki, etc. but I still have no
definitive answer, so I'm asking. Tell me if there are dumb questions,
I could understand :-)

1. Is the keyboard on a B4 identical to the pictures posted on the wiki ? doesn't say anything.
I need to know because I may have to use shortcuts until other entry
methods have been completed

2. Is the touchpad working in pen mode?

I'm asking because I found conflicting information : I read on page 30 of

"10.3.2 Because GS is designed to be operated by a finger, a finger
wearing a glove, a pen, a ball-point pen or  pencil will not make it
work. GS will not behave normally with two or more fingers
on the surface or with something laying on the surface. "

I thought pen mode was supported? : on Jim
said it wasn't possible *yet* - at least that brings hope. let me think it is possible now.

In the end, is it?

3. Can you disable anti aliasing for the color mode ?

The anti aliasing in the dcon specs is interesting; I will have to
test it to check how much it may impact on the display process sice
the wiki says it currently can't be turned off, while the DCON specs
let me think it could be. Another open question for me.

4. Who is working on the display issues ?

While studying the wiki, I noticed on the display page a mention to
perception tests which had been performed, and whose results would
soon be published.

I wanted to run various tests before doing on-field tests with deaf
children, but such information could save me some time and effort, to
concentrate on the sign writing specificities.

I was initially asking my dumb questions to Jim Gettys, but I figured
they would fit better on the mailing list and save his time.

It's a bit late here (3:30 am here in France) and I'm tired, so I may
forget something - feel free to ask for more details if I haven't been
clear enough

I'm eager to join all y'all in this interesting project, and hopefully
help making the OLPC more usable to deaf children.

Thanks for any help,

PS: if any of you is in Porto Alegre, please contact me offlist

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