[XSCE] 2007 -> 2017 browser experience on XO-1, XO-1.5, XO-1.75 and XO-4

Adam Holt holt at laptop.org
Tue Dec 27 10:42:51 EST 2016

On Tue, Dec 27, 2016 at 8:52 AM, Adam Holt <holt at laptop.org> wrote:

> Thanks Terry Gillett for accentuating this central point that I'd failed
> to highlight -- now added to http://wiki.laptop.org/go/
> Browser_improvements :
> "*Perhaps Most Important: can we communicate concisely/explicitly best
> browser & video "what works" guidelines, so that hard-working free content
> aggregators/publishers (many of whom volunteers) understand their tight
> packaging requirements across old Androids, old XO's, etc? Hence greatly
> enhancing the XO's practical purposes during its remaining years~"*

James Cameron's recommendations (that I'd missed earlier, on the
"discussion" page) added too:

"It may be more effective to agree on a single representative test video
which is transcoded into different picture sizes, frame rates, codecs, bit
rates, codecs, container formats, and delivery network protocols. A smart
proxy may be imagined that will transcode on the fly."

Thanks all for keeping the browser longevity/appropriateness
recommendations coming!

To help as many deployments/communities as we can~

On Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 10:47 AM, Adam Holt <holt at laptop.org> wrote:
>> Thanks Tony for your voluminous and very thoughtful experiences below!
>> I'm pretty swamped with holiday prep over the coming 48 hours, but is
>> there a good time I can call you in the coming 7-10 days?
>> I don't want to miss (or misrepresent) anybody's hard-fought "fieldback"
>> / usability testing lessons, recommendations & opinions @
>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Browser_improvements
>> On Sat, Dec 24, 2016 at 2:04 AM, Tony Anderson <tony_anderson at usa.net>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi, Adam
>>> I hope the scope of this discussion is Sugar, not just the Browse
>>> activity.
>>> First, the performance of the various models of the XO has not changed
>>> and will never change.
>>> Second, the last major change to the Browse activity was the move from
>>> Hulahop to Webkit. My guess is that the problems reported have nothing to
>>> do with Browse (or Firefox or ....). I suspect that the problems have to do
>>> with the burden on the server and the network.
>>> Three, solving performance problems depends on measurement, not
>>> speculation. Through its history, Sugar developers (XO and XS) have
>>> not measured anything in the real environment (a classroom of 40 XOs
>>> collaborating or using a server). While XSCE incorporates Munin, I have
>>> not seen any reports of the Munin measurements of an XSCE server in a
>>> classroom of XOs. At the Malaysia summit it took about 30 mins to establish
>>> by actual use that an access point was limited to 15 connections.
>>> Four, in my experience when there is a hiccup on an XO, the problem
>>> needs investigation. The Log activity is frequently a good tool. Since
>>> Sugar and its activities are written in Python and the source code is
>>> immediately available, it is possible to add print statements as needed to
>>> determine where the problem is. Python includes a simple means to measure
>>> time elapsed between two points in code to find badly written loops, etc.
>>> Over the years, I have developed a 'customize' script to add needed
>>> features to Sugar. I view this as comparable to what a person installing
>>> Fedora or Ubuntu does to configure the system for their use. While Sugar
>>> developers seem to consider such changes as blasphemy, the standard
>>> distributions encourage this.
>>> The Sugar developers have implemented the third different configuration
>>> utility: gsettings replacing GConf and the configure file Howeve, in line
>>> with their religion, the developers retain control by providing  the user
>>> with access only to selected settings made visible through 'mysettngs'.
>>> The XOs in Rwanda are locked so these changes must be made post-install,
>>> so the devlopers suggestions to make a Sugar build locally is irrelevant.
>>> The xo-custom script is executed after the XO is flashed by:
>>> cd /run/media/olpc/xo1
>>> bash xo-custom
>>> where the usb stick label identifies the target XO model, in this case
>>> the XO-1. There are five models: XO-1, XO-1.5, XO-1.75, XO-4, XO-1SD.
>>> A current project is to create a single stick that can be used with any
>>> model. This project also intends to provide a Sugar activity custom-1.xo.
>>> The goal is that the user can flash any model from the same stick and
>>> then can install the custom script by:
>>> cd /run/media/olpc/xomaster
>>> sugar-install-bundle custom-1.xo
>>> This has the advantage that the customization script can be run by
>>> launching the custom activity (and erasing it upon completion). Meanwhile
>>> the stick can be used to flash another XO. In a classroom with mixed
>>> models, the same stick can be used.
>>> The customize script currently does the following:
>>> 1. Install miscellaneous modules; zip, path.py, pexpect, ftp.  Probably
>>> only pexpect is needed since path.py can be included in the activies that
>>> use it. Sugar now inlcudes zip. For sending files to the server, scp is
>>> used instead of ftp.
>>> 2. Remove ~/.ssh/known_hosts to prevent problems in registering the
>>> server.
>>> 3. Customize Sugar
>>>     a. Change corner detection in frame to 0 (never). The goal is to
>>> require the frame to be opened by the frame key and not by cursor position.
>>>     b. Implement a default where activities launched from the Home View
>>> start new. Resuming activities can only be done from the Journal.
>>>     c. Change activity.py in /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/sugar/activity/
>>> and in /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages/sugar3/activity to correct an
>>> error
>>>         in the Journal where a resumed activity can not be saved under a
>>> new name without losing the original. The modified version with 0.110 will
>>> also
>>>         provide Utkarsh Tiwari's code to provide a requirement that
>>> user's give saved files a name (comparable to changing 'untitled' in
>>> Office). This change
>>>         was not implemented in 0.110 because of quirky reasoning by the
>>> Sugar developers. It also will provide similar ability to give a screen
>>> shot a name
>>>             without having to switch to the Journal.
>>> 4. Update sugar-launch and sugar-install-bundle. These changes were
>>> needed because of problems which probably now have been fixed.
>>> 5. Update SimpleHTTPServer.py to add some needed mime_types such as mp3,
>>> mp4, and so on.
>>> 6. Provide custom index.html in /home/olpc/.library_pages. The standard
>>> screen is nearly useless for an XO not connected to the internet. The
>>>     custom screen identifies the school or institution at the top and
>>> provides direct links to the school server (This may the intent of the
>>> 'captive portal' in xsce).
>>>     I suspect many users are not aware that the opening page in browse
>>> is file:///home/olpc/library_pages/index.html).
>>> 7. Add and remove Sugar activities to achieve a standard set. It is very
>>> difficult for teachers to deal with an assignment to use a specific
>>> activity such as
>>>        Memorize only to find it is not installed on one or more XOs in
>>> the class.
>>>             Currently, the script replaces Browse (installing a version
>>> with the jsfiddle feature and causing certain mime_types to be downloaded
>>> and not displayed
>>>             online( The current fashion in browsers is for the browser
>>> to attempt to display any mime_type it knows - this is not helpful for XOs
>>> where the object
>>>             needs to be displayed away from the server. I can't imagine
>>> a school where students are given class time to read War and Peace). So,
>>> for example,
>>>             pdfs, txt, mp3 (with one exception), mp4, epub, webm files
>>> are downloaded to the Journal for offline access by Read or the Jukebox.
>>> Recent versions of
>>>             Sugar have included documents in the Home View along with
>>> Sugar activities. Another example of the quirky thinking of the developers.
>>> First, the
>>>             library_page already includes documents stored locally.
>>> However, documents in the Home View and in Browse require space on local
>>> storage even
>>>             though only a few users may ever need access to them. With a
>>> schoolserver, these documents can be located there and downloaded to the
>>> Journal as             needed. The script will be modified so that a
>>> deployment can decide which of these to keep and which to omit. The script
>>> adds the Quiz activity, and
>>>             replaces the Jukebox activity. The Jukebox activity is
>>> retro-fitted version 26, the last version that supported gstreamer 0.1. The
>>> scripts enabling playing             of mp3, mp4, etc. work only with 0.1
>>> due to undocumented changes in the design of 1.0. Supposedly deprecation
>>> means that the new version
>>>             provides all of the capabilities of the original and is
>>> better. Clearly this is in the eye of the beholder.
>>> 8. Install needed Gnome programs as Sugar activities.
>>>         Currently the script installs Gcompris which includes installing
>>> GCompris as a gnome application and then installing gcompris-7.xo. It also
>>> intstalls the Zim
>>>         Desktop Wiki. The install takes two steps, install Zim as a
>>> gnome application and then install the zim-7.xo Sugar activity.
>>> 9. Install flash support.
>>> 10. Install media support for mp3, mp4, webm, and m4a.
>>> 11. Install Libre Office as a gnome application (only on XOs with at
>>> least 4GB storage).
>>> Tony
>>> On 12/23/2016 10:19 PM, Adam Holt wrote:
>>> On Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 3:09 PM, George Hunt <georgejhunt at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> pursuant to our discussion this morning, chrome on older 32 bit
>>>> machines running linux will not be supported after March 2017.
>>>> http://www.pcworld.com/article/3010404/browsers/googles-kill
>>>> ing-chrome-support-for-32-bit-linux-ubuntu-1204-and-debian-7.html
>>> Fascinating if unfortunate that Google wants old hardware to just
>>> magically disappear, among the global poor.
>>> another vote for firefox
>>> Noted.
>>> I will continue to write up the best suggestions from all @
>>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Browser_improvements (please write your
>>> suggestions directly there as well, if you so choose!)
>>> --
>>> Unsung Heroes of OLPC, interviewed live @ http://unleashkids.org !
>>> --
>>> Unsung Heroes of OLPC, interviewed live @ http://unleashkids.org !
>>> --
>>> Unsung Heroes of OLPC, interviewed live @ http://unleashkids.org !
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/attachments/20161227/59f6c29c/attachment.html>

More information about the Devel mailing list