very simple datastore reimplementation

John Gilmore gnu at
Thu May 8 13:55:10 EDT 2008

Another way I think of (what I think is) Jim's naming issue is:

  A kid uses their OLPC for a few years, does all her work on it, then
  graduates, moves to the capital city, and goes to college.  She's
  written papers on her OLPC, done experiments and logged the results,
  exchanged significant messages with friends, taken photos, etc.  She
  has an eToys environment that she's been building for years.

  Her folks get her a shiny new Linux, Windows, or Mac computer
  for her college work.  It's 100x as fast and has 1000x as much
  storage.  Some of the keyboard keys on her XO are pretty flaky now.

  How does she get her data out of the OLPC, in a form that she can use?

It's all in open formats, using free software, so if she could just
transfer her files, she could open them usefully.

Clearly she can spend weeks scrolling around in the Journal looking for
specific things and manually copying them out to a USB stick.  But can't
she export the whole thing in bulk?  Nobody else has a filesystem that's
structured like a blog; everyone else uses directories and file names.

Is her work merely lost, because it's all filed under deliberately
randomized names?  The OLPC never encouraged her to use names for her
documents, anyway; and when she took the trouble to name an important
document, the system saved 40 different versions of it, as she worked
on it and then closed her laptop.  Which is latest?

If she grabs the whole filesystem of the OLPC (somebody teaches her
about "tar" or "rsync"), then she can find some things with grep -R;
but is that what she's reduced to?


PS: There's a second level of this problem, in that her internal flash
storage probably won't hold all of this.  How will her school provide
her with a way to *take away* all her backup journal'd datastore'd
data?  Say over the Internet, or on a $20 terabyte SD card or USB
stick.  Since journal backup storage isn't really "done" yet, let's
first solve this issue for the simple case where the data's all in the
still-running-fine laptop in her hand.

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