Fri Dec 5 06:30:59 EST 2008
graphics is more processor intensive than painting bitmap sprites
onscreen. Couple that with the XO's high resolution and you have more
work cut out for the CPU.
These days, 433MHz may seem unusable to the average Moore's
law-spoiled user, but it was more than enough for me who grew up on a
4.77MHz 8088 as a kid (yeah, that's nothing to you guys over here who
are older :P), a Pentium 166 MMX with 64MB RAM in college during the
late 90s, and then an AMD K6-2 500 w/ 256MB RAM as my primary
workstation during the early 2000's.
That K6-2 500 w/ 256MB RAM's specs are practically the same as the
XO's and performs more or less the same as proven by this circa 2003
experiment of mine: http://www.object404.com/lab/aquarium.php -- it
runs at practically the same speed on the XO as my aforementioned K6-2
The main difference was that back then in 2003 on my K6-2 Win98 rig, I
was running the Flash MX IDE, a text editor, the Opera 6 browser with
about 20 browser tabs open, Winamp and that CPU & Memory hog: Norton
Internet Security (antivirus + firewall) simultaneously.
Barring virtual memory/swap space I don't see any reason why can't we
get similar performance out of the XO.
Back on topic, I'm really thrilled that OLPC core is considering the
mainstream support/usage of environments like XFCE on the XO, as
opposed to it being relegated to unsupported hacking.
Sugar is fantastic, but I feel that the XO is not being used to its
full potential because Sugar is meant to be used in a specific context
with a much narrower scope than normal laptops and targeted towards a
very low age demographic.
Anyway, really I hope this proposal to support an alternative UI like
XFCE pushes through.
I really believe that with more traditonal desktop environments on the
XO, entities that previously required the the support the Windows
environment as a precondition for ordering XO units can be shown that
the same functionality that they require from windows can be fully
achieved by a linux environment (firefox, thunderbird, open office,
etc), and thus deliver the linux adoption coup that so many people
hoped OLPC would provide.
Now that alternative systems like the Deep Blue UMPC
http://www.ilikeblue.net/products/umpc.htm (1GHz Via processor, 1GB
ram, 40GB HD)
can be had for about $200 ($240 with WinXP) brand new in places like
here in the Philippines, I think OLPC needs to re-evaluate its current
direction in order to stay relevant in places where access to
electricity is readily available.
Delivering laptops to less-privileged students in more developed urban
areas (where efficient power usage is less of a concern) may not sound
as romantic as deploying them to infrastructure-poor remote rural
environments, but these places are no less relevant and laptops can
serve as an even more effective force multiplier because proper
support and infrastructure is more readily available.
interactive media specialist
zen graffiti studios
naz at zengraffiti.com
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