OLPC upgrades

Wade Brainerd wadetb at gmail.com
Wed Feb 4 14:14:14 EST 2009

On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 1:38 AM, Albert Cahalan <acahalan at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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?

Ha, ahat age group is Knuth teaching assembly to??  What level of math and
science skills are they expected to have?

> > 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.

Python is not the problem. Just strace the activity startup process to see
everything that goeson.

A lot of it appears to be erelated to
a) Rainbow
b) Journal instance creation

Also I agree that the huge animated loating icon is probably not helping on
XO.  Could'nt it be replaced by a large non-animated icon in the center of
the screen, and then smoe dots that appear around the icon in a circle,
adding one dot per second, like a clock?  That would take no overhead and
would even give an informal way to measure startup time by counting the

> Current usage of Python can be mostly explained as follows:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost_fallacy
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrational_escalation
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_of_no_return
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_previous_investment
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_in_the_door
> 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.

Please don't try to hijack a technical discussion into a political one. Use
of the Python language is not the cause of the performance problems on the
XO or in Sugar in general.  Every system must be optimized no matter what
language it is written in.  It just takes a little effort.

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