SHLUG meets the XO

Scott Douglass scott at
Sat Apr 18 09:10:07 EDT 2009


Last Friday (17/04/2009) evening I presented the XO laptop to the  
Shanghai Linux Users Group (SHLUG) in Shanghai, China. Despite the  
laptop being manufactured in China, none of those in attendance had  
ever had a chance to get their hands on one. Most everybody knew about  
it however and the inevitable, "What is happening with OLPC and  
Microsoft?", "Hasn't OLPC been a failure?" questions came up. ("In the  
case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true,  
beneficial, but unendearing and disagreeable to others, he has a sense  
of the proper time for saying them.")

Intel develops the Classmate here in Shanghai, and the group had hands  
on with that a few weeks ago. After my presentation, most everyone  
agreed the XO was superior. There was great disappointment that the  
product is not available for retail purchase. (Incidentally the guy  
from Intel who did that prior demo was in the room too!)

The meeting was conducted in a Chamate (Taiwanese imported "teahouse"  
chain) near People's Square. Chamate offers free Internet access via  
WiFi but, all too typically, the XO running staging build 801 refused  
to negotiate a connection successfully. To this audience, switching to  
a virtual console, killing NetworkManager and using iwconfig and  
dhclient to connect successfully actually increased interest in the XO!

I attempted to interest several developers who work on Linux device  
drivers for embedded systems to help with the project of getting the  
OLPC power management, DCON, GPIO, audio, etc. kernel patches accepted  
upstream. I described the new "Fedora XO" community that is coming  
into being to keep the hardware alive, and there was interest in  
helping out. But I'm not holding my breath, after all these guys can't  
even get an XO. Not to mention these guys are already working like  
slaves 12 hours per day here. It's management style X in China I'm  
afraid... (they even have developers punch time cards, which just  
reminds me of the Flintstones...)

I lectured for about 30 minutes, and then I handed the XO out to the  
crowd and answered questions. Please don't ask me to translate any of  
the Chinese in the above links :-)


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