Raspberri Pi/clone(s) most ruggedizable for OLPC fieldwork?

Adam Holt holt at laptop.org
Sat Feb 6 16:10:43 EST 2016

On Sat, Feb 6, 2016 at 3:35 PM, Adam Holt <holt at laptop.org> wrote:

> Dogi & All,
> You are the expert here (on the low end especially, with $5 Raspberri Pi
> Zeros!) leading OLE refugee camp deployments across many countries.
> Whereas most OLPC-like schools I talk to want to spend $100 (or more) for a
> mini-server that's truly resilient for years in tropical environments,
> against rodents/humidity, untrained-operators especially, and oh yeah kids
> smacking them around, stealing SD cards etc ;)
> (Yes some of us proudly confess we use XO-1.5 and similar mini-servers on
> the low end, e.g. in many after-school programs, despite Tony's friendly
> fundamentalism that XO's should not be allowed to serve others nearby,
> recycling these XO-1.5's into family/mentoring learning environments is a
> huge win, but more about that another day :-)
> Looking into the future, so many of these community deployment leaders
> want something beefier right now.  Sometimes even a hard disk drive "for
> just $50 more" (that's the fantasy anyway!)  Even now that 4 or 8 GB RAM
> appears essentially free--it does not fit on most of these tiny
> motherboards.  Nor does a 1TB hard disk drive fit, that many of these
> groups dream of (and are generally happy to shove in a live/spare HDD
> inside, when the prior one dies!)
> So, in conclusion we're exactly 4 years into RPi era (began February 2012)
> and showing a lot of maturity^h^hgrayhair now :)  I assume there are a
> gazillion Raspberry Pi clones -- the central question is which ones we
> should narrow down upon, now that push has come to shove in 2016, serving
> educational microserver applications (school and non-schools) across those
> ~4 billion "offline" people now asking us for that:
>    - Will the $15 http://pine64.com (which just raised $1.7M) become
>    genuinely productizable for truly hassle-free field use with 128GB MicroSD
>    cards by late 2016?  On the bright side, it accommodates 128GB maximum,
>    which is exactly what we need on the high end in 2016.
>    - Or are traditional RPi 2 clones, such as Banana Pi's and this $40
>    Korean unit more practical in the short-term?
>    http://www.computerworld.com/article/3030251/computer-hardware/make-a-40-linux-or-android-pc-with-new-raspberry-pi-2-rival.html
>    - Understanding full well this is as much a plastics / industrial
>    design question / economies-of-scale question first-and-foremost, more than
>    a computer specs question per se.  Still today, few people appreciate (or
>    even understand) how much OLPC's contribution a decade ago was a revolution
>    in plastics/maintainability/droppability.  When Apple/Google are daily
>    throwing gigahertz specs at us, that marketing-centric misunderstanding is
>    of course only natural :/
Don't make em like they used to!  e.g. this just in from Ghana:

"amazing is that NONE of the laptops we have brought, on and off, say five
years ago or so are working. Full of mold and who knows what. But the OLPCs
keep perking along. This is not a perfect world---but the 5th grade or so
level within walking distance are getting computer classes regularly at the
library. Perfect world? No, but they can say they’ve had the experience.
And who knows?? I myself grew up with no electricity, no running water,
horses instead of tractors, an old wall-based telephone that barely worked,
etc. A lot has to do with the individual taking the experiences put in
front of them and running with it!!"

Sadly today most people dismiss OLPC hype, preferring the cheapest possibly
junk, refusing to even consider what a "rugged" business model might one
day look like..

*Etc, Thanks in advance to those who've done so much more RPi field
> research and can share!!*
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