[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 11:28:00 EST 2016

On Tue, Dec 27, 2016 at 11:18 AM, Tony Anderson <tony_anderson at usa.net>

> measure the parameters of the video stream produced by the XO-1 after
> conversion to ogg. Any XO should be able to sustain that level.
> One current browser practice is to stream media where the browser is
> capable. This is not suitable for an XO. The media should be downloaded and
> played locally. One of the customizations is to patch the Browse activity
> to automatically download mp3 (unless a short Talk English clip), mp4, pdf,
> epub, and txt files.
> In the case of the book formats, a user is not going to be able to read it
> while online. This patch is simple and effective.

Great suggestions, thanks Tony.  I'll add these to
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Browser_improvements along with your general
recommendation to avoid HD video (and broadband glitz in general...)

On 12/27/2016 03:52 PM, Adam Holt 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~"*

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 !
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