OLPC upgrades

Tiago Marques tiagomnm at gmail.com
Tue Feb 3 16:55:59 EST 2009

On Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 8:38 AM, Bobby Powers <bobbypowers at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2009/2/2 Tiago Marques <tiagomnm at gmail.com>:
> > On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 4:03 AM, Mitch Bradley <wmb at laptop.org> wrote:
> >>
> >> Guess what? The people at OLPC, who aren't stupid, already considered
> >> every point in the message cited below, a long time ago. So why aren't
> >> we doing them? ...* *On Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 9:57 PM, Carlos Nazareno
> >> <object404 at gmail.com>wrote:
> >
> > Nobody's saying anyone is stupid. It is perfectly natural for people to
> > complain about things they don't understand. I also wish I could, from
> time
> > to time, to ask this or that, to understand many things I don't
> comprehend,
> > to know what I can do to help. This without getting into any kind of
> fight
> As you note in this email (which reads more like a rant than
> constructive criticism, I must say), there is a lot to help with!
> What are you areas of interest and expertise?

Sorry... It was not my intention, I try to avoid ranting, but can't help it
I like to do optimization, I usually do compiler optimization tests and
benchmarking on some stuff at work, although I'm also interested in doing
code optimization if needed.
The XO has several areas I'd like to see improved but I think I'll start by
this one. I've seen a bit of ongoing effort on the wiki, I'm thinking of
talking to the people involved when I get some results from my Gentoo tests.
I also saw the "Browse needs tabs" ticket and I thought I might try a shot
at that also.

> > with the people involved with the project, who are the only ones who can
> > answer those questions.
> > As with any critical comment I may issue in this mailing list, please
> take
> > it as something constructive, to help (if it does, in any way) and not to
> > criticize the people who are hard at work. That, I think, is what Carlos
> was
> > trying to do.
> > I got my XO three weeks ago and there's a lot I was surprised to learn
> that
> > some of the more important features are WIP or simply don't work,
> especially
> > given the news that I've read, already detailing prototypes of a second
> > version, when there's still a lot to do with the first one.
> > Sugar is a fantastic window manager/desktop/user interface/learning
> > tool/whatever. I don't understand how can any government give 6 year olds
> > anything that's not Sugar - it is wonderful, it integrates very well with
> > the XO and I would like to be able to use it more but it doesn't really
> > blend well with the rest of the Linux software ecosystem.
> We need a lot of help in this area, interested?

Definitely. Anything particular in mind?

> > This, among other things, may be the cause that the G1G1 program wasn't
> > successful this year. There are too many better options, for a regular
> user,
> > currently available, and cheaper. Most people don't care for a reflective
> > screen if they can't have Youtube. They already can have 5 hours of
> battery
> > life(or more) in some netbooks, a lot more flash memory/HDD, better
> *color*
> > screen. Even then some people claim the performance of netbooks isn't
> good
> > enough - imagine what they would say about an XO.
> > I'm surprised how much stuff still doesn't work in the XO. I can't, for
> as
> > much as I think about it, how can you be shipping these things without
> space
> > for swap memory. I can open a PDF and a browser without the XO being
> > apparently crashed and this is the most basic stuff. I know why the
> system
> > "crashes" but you can't expect a politician to understand why Intel's
> > offering doesn't crash and yours does all the time, it just makes it look
> > like crap, which it certainly isn't. Doing SWAP in the embedded flash is
> a
> > bad ideia but there's an SD card slot and having the XO crashing all the
> > time is a worst case scenario - it may be a compromise in Africa but not
> in
> I use debXO and haven't had a single crash.  if activities are
> crashing, please please please look up or create tickets for the
> crashes, with as much info and logs as possible!  (take this as
> constructive criticism, on how to make your constructive criticism
> reach the right people faster and more constructively :) )
I thought of submitting a bug that said "XO needs SWAP badly" or something
like that, which I abstained of doing until I could understand the
motivation behind not using swap at all in the XO, when a 2GB SD card costs
3eur at retail here - seems a good compromise given what is achieved from
the small extra cost. My XO was constantly "crashing", now it's just a bit
slow moving from app to app.
>From what I read since I subscribed the ML, it seems to relate to battery
life dropping with SD cards but that's the only thing that I've read until
now. Having the XO constantly crashing will probably kill the battery life
more than having the SD card there.
This review by a 12-year old (
special attention to the fourth paragraph, if it was a 12 year old who
wrote that) pretty much sums all the biggest problems I see in the machine,
as does the praise for what's awesome with it.

> > the least developed country.
> > There's no stylus support yet, there's no view source working(AFAIK) and
> the
> The current dual mode touchpad hardware is being discontinued and new
> machines are either currently, or will be in short order, being
> produced with a 'standard' capacitive touchpad.  IN FACT, the stylus
> mode had been implemented and enabled in the driver in previous builds
> (joyride, up to the beginning or middle of summer 08), but was
> disabled and removed from the driver because having the device in dual
> input mode made things worse for a large number of laptops.  The dual
> mode hardware is pretty flakey.
> I believe view source is implemented to some extent in Sugar 0.83 (the
> current development branch).

Hmm.... ok. Is it possible/easy to use the whole touchpad as pointing
device, instead of just the middle. Since the middle has no "bump" that
could give some feeling of where it ends, enabling all would make it more
usable. At least I, frequently, need to look at it to understand if it's
going bonkers on me, or if I'm just trying to use it out of the it's limit.
I don't see a practical use for all that wideness but it would just to be
less error prone.

> > wireless range isn't as awsome as announced. My mother has an Acer One
> > which, apparently, has a significantly better wireless signal, at least
> from
> > small experiences, I haven't messed with it much, it's an initial
> impression
> > - which for most people is the one that matters.
> > Worse is the battery life, I can't get more than 3 hours out of my XO and
> > all seems fine with the battery. If I was to heavily depend on the 24
> hours
> > touted(when not even 24 in suspend), I would be very disappointed, let
> alone
> > 6 hours which I also don't get. Experimental results isn't something that
> > the project should be shouting about all the time - that's just
> vaporware.
> > Worse, it makes the OLPC Foundation loose credibility as a whole. No
> company
> > can be constantly over promising and underdelivering, let alone a
> non-profit
> > foundation.
> Have any experience with the kernel or suspend/resume issues?  I'm
> sure CJB would love some help here.

Not really, I just hacked a driver once to add AGP and IDE DMA support for a
VIA chipset, just added the hardware IDs.

> > Currently, aside from the screen and mesh networking, you're loosing by
> big
> > points in all the rest. The advantages the XO still has are things that
> > don't matter for most potential buying governments, the ones who have the
> > big bucks.
> > I don't know where the foundation got the numbers in the first time, but
> 50
> > million laptops was far from anything that can be achieved. Especially
> > without retail availability of a $170 laptop. IMHO, or the XO-1 has
> retail
> > availability soon, that can(finally) bring that number to the desired
> > target, or you eventually loose out to Intel (with dire consequences).
> After
> > all, retail availability has been bringing production costs down for
> them.
> > Either you make it unprofitable for them or they make it unfeasible for
> you
> > to follow the vision.
> > You can't expect most people to pay $399 for a laptop (spectacular for
> third
> > world countries) of no (or limited) usefulness for a regular person. Not
> > with faster netbooks available at $199 (have you seen an acer one
> > booting???) - not everyone is so good at their heart to give one away,
> when
> > they can save $199 for themselves. Not everyone knows that your battery
> > lasts four times more, that it costs only $25 to replace, that all parts
> are
> > cheap, if they ever break! That doesn't matter for most people, even
> though
> So help spread the word!

More than what I'm doing already, I can't. Even more when the government
here is financing Atom based Classmates with both Windows and Linux for
50eur. I can't lie and say it's a more capable device for us, although in a
third world country it is.
Just wish they would've put Sugar in the Linux distro, it's just a KDE basic
stuff. At least, Kids seem to like Supertux - not all is lost for M$.

> > they should, and that leaves the XO in a competitively bad position. And
> > that's what you should also talk about, nowadays everyone knows they're
> > ripped off in their laptops, iPhone, PSP, whatever battery, that's part
> of a
> > good image that the project can benefit from, if retail availability ever
> > comes.
> > Python is killing the XO, what's being done in that regard? The $100
> laptop
> > will always be hardware limited, how can python be a benefit and not a
> > *huge* burden? I for one can't get my head around that.
> The idea is to give kids as much transparency into the software stack
> as possible, AND make it easy to hack on and easy to create new
> activities for.  Python is much more forgiving than C.  Its killing
> the XO?  A personal pygtk based project launches in a few seconds on
> my debXO install on an XO, but much much longer on 8.2.  It is a
> completely loaded statement to say that Python is killing the XO, and
> didn't really deserve a response :)

That's my view on it, although I don't have any experience in Python
programming. Launch time doesn't really bother me, memory consumption on a
device with no swap and 256MB of RAM does. Is it just Sugar/Fedora/XO distro
Please elaborate on what you mean by 8.2 taking much longer to launch. That
would be something I would be interested in looking at, although I don't
think I have what it takes to "fix" Pyhton itself, if that's what's needed.

> > I got my XO to help someone also, if I didn't, I would have bought a PSP,
> a
> > DSi, a Eee 701, something cheaper with wireless. All I wanted was a
> smaller
> > wireless device with good battery life to read books, browse the web and
> > little more. This could've come cheaper but I like my XO - I already knew
> > how underpowered it would be.
> > I could also go on and on of what's about great about the XO, and there's
> a
> > whole lot, but that's not something that can be improved, that's already
> > great as is, and you know what it is!
> > What's bad is what needs to be improved, to be talked about, it's
> necessary
> > to fix the rest so there's nothing left hampering a bright future for the
> > machine, and for the project.
> Glad to have you on board!

Glad to be on board!
Best regards,
                          Tiago Marques

> yours,
> Bobby
> >
> >
> > Best regards,
> >
> >                             Tiago Marques
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Devel mailing list
> > Devel at lists.laptop.org
> > http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/devel
> >
> >
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