OLPC upgrades

Albert Cahalan acahalan at gmail.com
Wed Feb 4 04:38:05 EST 2009

Bobby Powers writes:
> 2009/2/2 Tiago Marques <tiagomnm at gmail.com>:

>> 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.

Python is less forgiving if you want performance on the XO. :-)

For teaching, remember that Knuth uses assembly. C is an awful
lot closer to that than Python, and isn't the XO about teaching?

> 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 :)

I'm assuming that "personal [...] project" means small.

The fact that you consider "a few seconds" to be acceptable shows
just how much people have lost touch with the concept of performance.

IIRC, that's about how long it took my old Pentium 200 MMX with 64 MB
of RAM (a quarter of what the XO has) to launch Netscape.

Today on an XO, I can write code that pops up a window far faster than
it needs to. Xlib can do the job in what looks like a few tenths of a
second or better -- it's really too fast for me to tell.

Even with a feature-rich monster like Tux Paint, I can at least pop up
a window much much faster than a Python activity ever does. The stupid
generic splash screen causes a very noticeable slowdown for any activity
that wasn't horrifically slow by itself.

Current usage of Python can be mostly explained as follows:


The remaining bit of the explanation is that the developer pool
is now full of Python people. Nearly all others have run away.
One can't expect to attract non-Python talent when Python gets
a non-negotiable privileged position.

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