[Server-devel] physical security of the XS and XO-as-XS

Bryan Berry bryan.berry at gmail.com
Tue Oct 14 20:14:16 EDT 2008

Martin, you make some good points. Sorry for the late reply.

On Sun, 2008-10-12 at 10:56 +1300, Martin Langhoff wrote: 
> [Note: this is a resend - with some better editing - the earlier email
> got sent prematurely...]
> On Sun, Oct 12, 2008 at 3:43 AM, Bryan Berry <bryan.berry at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 2) IMHO using
> > the XO as XS is not a good idea.
> Nothing explains in your post why it's a bad idea. If you are going to
> setup a "safe" cabinet of some sort for the server, it's not very
> different to make an XO safe from making a tower pc safe.

I just fail to see all that many advantages to using the XO. We can add
a lot of value to the XS and deployments in general very quickly w/ a
more powerful system.

> Your points about other bits of infra are very valuable. Cable theft,
> antenna theft are also important. Interstingly, _deployment countries_
> are asking us whether the XOs can be used in the XS role. People on
> the ground there are asking for it.

> - Procurement process is complex. Once they have the govt OK to get
> XOs, it's relatively easier to request extra XOs for the role. Getting
> other hw for the XS can take months if not years.

Sadly, it is very true that government's often have extremely onerous
procurement procedures. This point is very true.

> - Very few hw makers are offering machines that are solid state,
> heat/dust/humidity resistant. The XO has all of that and is cheap. The
> few hw makers I've seen offering similar features are rather
> expensive.

> > Additionally, I am convinced that school administrators would see the
> > XO-as-XS as a spare XO and distribute to kids who don't have XO's at
> > their school or take it home to their own child.
> It won't even boot to Sugar, and user education call take a part here
> -- I don't think the confusion will last very long.
> You may not want it for the Nepal deployment, but we cannot argue with
> the fact that there is intense interest.
> There are also other use cases where it's useful to be able to run the
> XS sw on an XO - for example, the warehouse scenarios where you take 1
> XO and use it as the server that will update all the other XOs.

> The issue of theft is real, but is not limited to the XO hw -- and in
> fact, a normal tower pc is in some cases more desirable - as it's a
> general purpose machine. Uruguay has -- I believe -- done some
> interesting work in securing their school servers, though I don't know
> the details.
> This is work that needs to happen for a long list of reasons. Within
> the constraints we have, I aim for flexibility: give the local teams a
> range of options, and this is a _very_ valuable one, one that is
> within reach now that a vanilla Fedora boots on the XO.
> cheers,
> m
> --
>  martin.langhoff at gmail.com
>  martin at laptop.org -- School Server Architect
>  - ask interesting questions
>  - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
>  - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff
Bryan W. Berry
Technology Director
OLE Nepal, http://www.olenepal.org

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