[Olpc-open] Problems with 8.2

Michael Stone michael at laptop.org
Wed Oct 22 14:56:54 EDT 2008


Thanks very much for the detailed experience report; I'm glad to hear
that you were excited to install 8.2 and I'm sorry to hear that it
didn't meet all your expectations. We'll try to do better next time.

As to your specific points:

On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 08:37:10AM -0400, Tom Stewart wrote:
>The kids like the laptops, too, although in  
>a house full of computers, they often choose to use the bigger, faster  
>ones instead :-(. 

Do your kids use the XOs and their "bigger computers" for similar

>Another stumbling block has been the wireless. They  
>have always had a hard time connecting to the wireless network  
>provided by the ActionTec router that came with our FiOS service,  
>which is setup with WPA2. It would prompt over and over and over again  
>for the password that was (or should have been?!) stored on the  
>computer. Sometimes, you could type in the pw 20 times with no  
>success. Sometimes, it would seem as though letting the computer sit  
>idle for 5 minutes would let you get on the network. These  
>difficulties certainly discouraged the kids from using them.

We've had a couple of reports of issues that sound similar to yours,

   http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/6370 and

would you mind searching http://dev.laptop.org/ more thoroughly for
tickets which more precisely match your complaints and updating them (or
filing a new ticket if you don't find any)? 

(Some rough instructions on how to file tickets are available at 


>So it was with great anticipation that I installed the 8.2 update on  
>both. The wireless connected the first time. But then, on subsequent  
>attempts, not so much. It was back to the old behavior. 

We added a control-panel feature to assist with network debugging which
'resets network configuration.' (You can find this feature on the
'Network' control panel entry.) Are you able to connect to your access
point properly after resetting the laptops' network configurations?

>I have a hard time understanding how this could still be a problem
>after all this time, and am somewhat discouraged by it. 

Most likely, no one with the power to fix your issue knew that it
existed. Possibly, they knew that it existed but were unable to justify
spending resources to debug and fix the problem in the face of other
more pressing problems. 

As a gentle suggestion, have you considered helping to test release
candidates (or even earlier development builds) before they become
official? (This is a good way to make progress on issues like the ones
you've presented here because we tend to be much more sensitive to
bug-fixing when we're really focused on bringing raw changes to release

> That said, if there is something I can do to capture good, useful
> debugging information on one of the laptops, let me know, and I'll do
> it. 

Thanks for the offer; I'll try to find someone to take you up on it!

>One solution I was hoping for was to setup a school server at home,  
>with the OLPC approved wireless network adapters, but that idea has  
>been squashed (ref. an earlier msg from me). 

The Active-Antenna project has been mothballed for the moment, among
other reasons, because of issues we discovered with the protocol it was
designed to implement.

However, the school server software is known to work well with many
standard access points!

>Two other issues: since this update I have seen (exactly one time thus  
>far) erratic behavior with the touchpad. This was a pretty big issue  
>early on, and I thought it was solved, but wanted folks to know that  
>it's still lurking. 

Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of physics and firmware, the touchpad
jumpiness is unavoidable with current hardware. Fortunately, 8.2 is much
better about detecting jumpiness and recalibrating. However, to get good
recalibrations, you need to stop touching the touchpad for a short
duration (one second should be more than enough) and then resume normal
usage. Does this information help? Are you able to reproduce the

>Finally, the cached wikipedia activity seems  
>extremely slow, taking more than a minute to bring up a page after
>clicking on a link. 

Which link are you attempting to view?

>Is it possible that this is related to not having
>a network connection?? Part of me hopes not, in that clearly the whole
>point of the local copy is to have the reference material there even
>when you have no internet; the other part of me hopes that it is,
>because I can't believe that it got released in its current state if
>that's the way it works for everyone.

We chose to trade speed for better compression ratios. Would you prefer
a different choice?

>Oh, one last question: when will the side parts of the touchpad (the  
>stylus activated drawing pad) be usable?

Unfortunately, the change made in 8.2 to better detect touchpad
miscalibration interferes with use of the resistive PenTablet sensor.
This means that there are no specific plans today to make use of the
sensor. (The problem is compounded by an impending move to a new
single-mode touchpad part forced on us by separate economic

Finally, those caveats aside, the PenTablet was usable in release 8.1.1
(build 708) and can be used in that build. (Note that there are some
other issues with 708, in particular, involving SD cards, which may make
it unsuitable for your usage; please read the release notes carefully.)



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