report: OS 11.3.0 XO-1 + Gnome + Auckland game jam?

Carlos Nazareno object404 at
Tue Nov 29 05:41:25 EST 2011

Hi guys!

Just reporting in. Just getting back into XO dev. Recently upgraded to
11.3.0 on the XO-1. Spent the entire weekend reformatting, reflashing,
trying out configuration & installing/uninstalling stuff.

Am looking at this more as a potential dev machine teaching tool in
upper grade levels & high school, and IMHO the languages of the web is
where things are at and it's the best way for kids to show off their
stuff and share them across the world. (one of the most amazing
thrills when we first experienced the net - talking to other students
on the other side of the planet)

As such, am personally targeting:

Since those technologies are installed practically everywhere.

Anyway, as most of you know, one of the biggest problems on the XO-1
is that it's quickly running out of space for newer builds esp w/ dual
boot. I couldn't even install Java anymore before or open slightly
more complex sites/larger PDF ebooks without the machine hanging for
lack of storage, memory & swap.

Anyway, here's what I did and how it went:

1) Got a 4GB SD Card to be used for primary storage of data & whatever
apps can be offloaded to it. Since I'm not as adept in Linux, the
suggestions earlier were a little bit too scary for me. What I did was
copy over the installation directories of the ones I could easily find
on "drive C" (internal Flash), copy them over to the SD Card (had to
format it to ext2 - Linux file permissions (needed for executing
stuff) don't work on FAT16/32 - something that was a bit of a puzzle
until Google came to the rescue).
After copy directory on C, deleted it & did ln -s to create a symbolic
link to the new location on SD. Worked like a charm :)

2) Created 512MB swapfile on SD. Seemed to help with
crashing/freezing. Looks like some processes that would normally kill
the XO-1 from lack of memory/swap are now more survivable, just have
to be patient enough to wait 2-10mins for the system to finish paging
in & out. (having to do a hard reset during a hang is scary due to
storage corruption)

3) Deleted unused/non-critical activities from Sugar (build more
geared towards older users). Something most people have to hunt around
for, apparently activities can now be easily deleted (they can be
re-downloaded later on anyway) by switching to list mode in the home
view, hovering and choosing delete from the context menu (this needs
to be made more obvious in the docs). Got about 400+MB free on C after

Software installed & confirmed to work well (takes a few seconds to launch):
- Opera 11.6 Browser
- Java JDK & JRE 1.6 update 29
- Processing 1.51
- latest VLC  (able to play proprietary formats well with
gstreamer-plugins bad & ugly installed)
- latest Flash 11 browser plugin
- additional mesa drivers to address some OpenGL complaints
(openGL doesn't seem to run well though - really slow, might as well
be a software decelerator?)

Really interesting bit for me: When switching to back to sugar &
attempting to run some of these programs meant for desktops like Gnome
from the command line, except for the larger fonts, they run okay,
like Processing (properly running with multiple windows, unlike when I
tried it out a year or 2 ago).

Also, with swap enabled, Evince performs much better than the ebook
reader on Teapot's Ubuntu 8.10 for XO :)

Next up: try to get Arduino running. We know it can be done since the
Project Butia guys got em up and running!

Will document these + processes on wiki pages once I get more time.

Just found out there's an Auckland OLPC group. Anyone here in the
devel list over here in AKL? (just arrived here 1.5months ago) Posted
over at the OLPC-NZ list, maybe we can talk about possibly organizing
the game jam here in coordination with the Auckland game developers
group since we have a go signal at announcing it at the January
Gamedev meetup if we can organize something.

Sorry for the late update guys. Have very little time for
extracurriculars with my current sked. Will re-ping PMs about
sugarizing DHTML, Flash & Java Apps + see about documenting those
processes on the appropriate wikis in order to attract additional
content devs & game jam participants from "non-OLPC native" platforms.

Now in this era of cheap android tablets from China, why is the XO
still relevant?

4 words:
fully-featured dev machine.

You can't author Android Apps using Android or iOS apps using iOS
devices despite the more than ridiculously capable overpowered
hardware (I once asked Woz about that why not give iPad users the
ability to author apps given the powerful hardware, he was kind enough
to reply and said although it would be awesome, it was out of his
hands and only something the powers that be/decision-makers at Apple
could make happen)

Been checking out the Tangleball Hackerspace (of which people cross
over with the gamedev group) over here too and showed the XO-1 tue
last week, some newer membes were pretty ecstatic about checking it
out (we had a mini netbook running different linux distros + android
show and tell over at a corner, heh). Some of these guys might be
interested in jamming/additional volunteer devs.

Guys from Christchurch NZ Open Source Society were also in town that
day, got to have interesting discussions & meet more awesome people :)

That's it for now. Cheers!


carlos nazareno

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