Fwd: Flash + AIR on OLPC

Stanley Sokolow overbyte at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 12 19:10:37 EDT 2010

Sorry, I keep forgetting to put the list manager in my addresses.   Here's
my latest message:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Stanley Sokolow <overbyte at earthlink.net>
Date: Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 4:05 PM
Subject: Re: Flash + AIR on OLPC
To: mikus at bga.com

I forgot to answer your statement below about Linux on the XO:

On Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 1:13 PM, Mikus Grinbergs <mikus at bga.com> wrote:

> ...
> p.s.  People keep showing various Linux platforms (e.g., Ubuntu, Debian,
> etc) running on the XO.  As far as I am concerned, if these people
> *want* to run Ubuntu, Debian, etc., then buying a modern netbook for
> that purpose will give them better performance than using the XO.
When I started helping my wife develop an interactive math tutoring
capability for the XO we bought from the 2008 G1G1 campaign, I looked at and
tried the Sugar activities.    None of them were capable of her necessary
features:  2-way interactive whiteboard and 2-way interactive video and
audio communications.    Sure, some activities were in development trying to
achieve these capabilities, but they weren't real yet.   We tried a web
services approach -- looked at various things like "Go to Meeting".    When
we found www.Vyew.com, we saw what we needed.   It worked on our PCs.
Turning to the XO, the Browse activity with Gnash just couldn't run Vyew.
When I installed the version of FlashPlayer that the laptop.org wiki
recommended, it didn't work the XOs camera and microphone and didn't even
operate the Flash settings dialog properly.    Doing more searching, I found
a version of Ubuntu that had been adapted to the XO by a user who called
himself "Teapot" on the forum.   It's a stripped down, lightweight version
that uses Xfce as the window manager (hence it's called a Xubuntu
distribution) and incorporates the same kernel that olpc used in the version
of Fedora that came on our XO beneath Sugar, so it knows about the XO's
unique hardware.    After some work, I got it running from an SD card so I
didn't have to trash the native operating system.    I didn't do this
because I wanted to run Linux -- I have other Linux machines -- but rather
because it would let me get the job done, the system built with the features
necessary for the tutoring project.   If the XO comes up to that capability
with Browse and Gnash, I'd run the native system.    But it's not there,
yet.  We also tried to use Skype on the native Sugar/Fedora OS, but at that
time, you had to do so many hokey work-arounds to fool the software into
running Skype, it just wasn't feasible for a deployment with low entry

The 6 to 12 year-old kids that are the prime target of the olpc mission
don't care what platform is behind the screen.   Just as in the Wizard of
Oz, "Don't pay any attention to that man behind the curtain."   As the
laptop.org mission statement says, "It’s not a laptop project. It’s an
education project."   To me that says that the mission is not to empower
kids to write programs or tinker inside the system, but rather to use the XO
as an educational tool to learn about the world and life and such, to
collaborate with each other across the room and around the globe, to explore
the depth of knowledge on the Internet, etc.

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