OLPC (One Laptop Per Child)
by William Raymond (Buzz)
My wife and usually donate to our own pet causes at the end of the year. This year instead of an open source program I decided to go for the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child).
What happened is that if you bought one for donation you could also get one your self to do with as you wished.
Mine arrived just before Christmas. Opening the box and seeing the computer for the first time I could now see why people were asking how you open it. Well I opened it up and fired it up, btw, there is no instruction book, all information is in the on line wiki: Simplified user guide - OLPC
or forum site: http://olpcnews.com/forum/index.php
I will list some of the basic hardware and software used in this laptop and if you still want to know more than the above sites will quench you thirst.
Hardware: Core electronics
- CPU: x86-compatible processor with 64KB each L1 I and D cache; at least 128KB L2 cache;
AMD Geode LXfirstname.lastname@example.orgW (datasheet)
- CPU clock speed: 433 Mhz;
- ISA compatibility: Support for both the MMX and 3DNow! x86 instruction-set extensions;
- Athlon instruction set (including MMX and 3DNow! Enhanced) with additional Geode-specific instructions
- Companion chips: PCI and memory interface integrated with CPU;
- North Bridge: PCI and Memory Interface integrated with Geode CPU (info)
- South Bridge: AMD CS5536 (datasheet)
- Graphics controller: Integrated with CPU; unified memory architecture;
- Embedded controller: ENE KB3700 or ENE KB3700B;
Embedded Controller: ENE KB3700
- DRAM memory: 256 MiB dynamic RAM; data rate: dual-DDR333-166Mhz;
- BIOS: 1024KiB SPI-interface flash ROM;
- Open Firmware used to load the operating system;
- Mass storage: 1024 MiB SLC NAND flash, high-speed flash controller;
- Drives: No rotating media.
- CAFE ASIC (camera- and flash-enabler chip provides high-performance camera, NAND FLASH and SD interfaces); Marvell 88ALP01: CAFE Specification
Liquid-crystal display: 7.5? dual-mode TFT display;
- Viewing area: 152.4 mm ? 114.3 mm;
- Two modes: (1) grayscale (B&W) reflective mode (for outdoor use?sunlight-readable); and (2) color backlight Mode (for indoor use);
- reflective mode: high-resolution (200 DPI), 1200(H) ? 900(V) grayscale pixels, power consumption 0.1?0.2Watts;
- backlight mode: built in sub-pixel sampling of the high-resolution display results in approximately 800(H) ? 600(V) color pixels, power consumption 0.2?1.0Watts;
- The display-controller chip (DCON) with memory that enables the display to remain live with the processor suspended. The DCON also formats data for the display.
- This Liquid-crystal display is the basis of our extremely low power architecture. The XO is usable while the CPU and much of the motherboard is regularly turned off (and on) so quickly that it's imperceptible to the user. Huge power savings are harvested in this way (e.g. by turning stuff on the motherboard off when it's not being used (if even for a few seconds), while keeping the display on).
- Keyboard: 80+ keys, 1.0mm stroke; sealed rubber-membrane key-switch assembly;
- Gamepad: Two sets of four-direction cursor-control keys;
- Touchpad: Dual capacitance/resistive touchpad; supports written-input mode;
- ALPS Electric Dual capacitance/resistive touchpad;
- Audio: AC?97 compatible audio subsystem; Internal stereo speakers and amplifier; internal monophonic microphone; jacks for external headphones or microphone;
Analog Devices AD1888 and Analog Devices SSM2302 for audio amplification
- Camera: integrated color video camera; 640 x 480 resolution at 30 FPS; independent (and undefeatable by software) display of microphone and camera recording status; the camera and device driver support disabling AGC and automatic color balancing, to enable its use as a photometric sensor for educational applications;
Wireless Networking: Integrated 802.11b/g (2.4GHz) interface; 802.11s (Mesh) networking supported; dual adjustable, rotating antennas support diversity reception; capable of mesh operation when CPU is powered down;
- Marvell Libertas wireless chipset, 88W8388 controller and 88W8015 radio
- Status indicators: Power, battery, and WiFi (2), visible with lid open or closed; Microphone In-Use, and Camera In-Use, visible when lid is open.
That about covers the basic hardware configuration.
- DC power: 6mm (1.65mm center pin) connector; 11 to 18 V input usable, ?32 to +40V input tolerated; power draw limited to 15 W;
- Headphone output: standard 3.5mm 3-pin switched stereo audio jack;
- Microphone input: standard 3.5mm 2-pin switched mono microphone jack; selectable 2V DC bias; selectable sensor-input mode (DC or AC coupled);
- USB: Three Type-A USB 2.0 connectors; Up to 1A power supplied (total);
- Flash Expansion: SD Card slot.
Libraries to support all of the above, others can be installed by Yum or RPM.
Python (Version 2.5);
Csound, music programming language;
- The Etoys implementation of Squeak using Smalltalk, an object-based programming language;
- Please see Sugar Etoys for a detailed description of the Sugar implementation
Turtle Art, a graphical programming environment;
- Gnash, a free and open source plug-in for the Adobe Flash? file format supporting vector and raster graphics, a scripting language called ActionScript™ and streaming of audio and video;
- Adobe's Flash Player and Java™ virtual machine can be added via Yum or RPM install but are not part of the standard distribution
Flash space available for other software content ~800 MiB.
Sugar graphical user interface, written in Python, on top of the X Window System and the Matchbox Window Manager.
- "Zooming" interface to mesh network;
Journal interface to file system;
There are three types of activities distributed with the base system: tools for exploring, expressing, and collaborating. A matrix of applications that have been (or are being) built for the laptop can be found here.
Tools for exploring
Tools for expressing
- a web browser built on the Firefox engine;
- a simple document viewer based upon evince (including the ability to view PDF);
- News Reader, an RSS (?really simple syndication?) reader (PenguinTV);
- multimedia playback using gstreamer (the Real Networks Helix? platform has been ported to the laptop and is available for download but is not part of the base distribution);
- OpenDocument Viewer to read documents in OpenDocument format, a highly-compressed format that is a fully open international standard (ISO 26300);
- The Opera web browser and the Real Networks Helix™ platform have been ported to the laptop and are available for download but not part of the standard distribution.
Measure, a tool for exploring the physical world by measuring DC and AC voltages, observing them on a oscilloscope-like interface, being able to watch waveforms in frequency domain (spectrum analyzer), logging data at a specified time interval, and drawing the graph of logged data.
Tools for communicating
TamTam, a music synthesis and composition tool;
- Etoys (see above);
- a word processor based upon the Abiword project;
Record video, audio, and still-image capture and playback (a ?video wiki? is under development);
Draw, a pixel-paint programming;
- a journal;
MikMik, a wiki with WYSIWYG editing, using Crossmark (under development);
VIM and NANO text editors.
Chat and serverless instant messenger;
Video Chat (under development);
- a VoIP client (under development);
- Email through the web-based Gmail service;
- Native email client (under development).
- Spreadsheet (under development);
- a shell and debugger;
Develop, an activity editor (under development);
Remote Desktop, a tool to remotely control XO laptop;
See the games list on the activities download page Activities#Games
- Numerous games, including variations of the ?memory game?, strategy games, etc.
All applications share a common data store accessible through the Journal; Most applications, including reading, writing, recording and browsing, allow for collaboration; through the network: child-to-child and teacher-to-child. See Activity Sharing and Shared Sugar Activities and Tubes Tutorial.
- The specifications for the wireless networking interface include:
- Ability to act as a mesh point when laptop's main CPU is off;
- Support for asymmetric links/paths;
- Incremental releases?mesh networking is available immediately on XO; Upgrades will continue to improve functionality and adherence with standards;
- Simultaneously acts as a mesh point and an infrastructure node.
- Standards Compliance: follow 802.11s draft when possible.
The School server is software for a resource-rich peer to the laptop, which provides additional storage, and Internet access.
(Please see the Activities page for a more complete list of activities being developed for the laptop. Below is just a sampling.)
So those are the specs on the Xo laptop. First off I added a 2gig sd card to increase the memory. The laptop is wireless only at this time but some are trying to use a usb dongle for wired connection. The boot up is quite fast due to the os is on a 4 gig flash internal memory.
This is what the start Screen looks like:
OLPCities, a virtual world programming environment
FACIL, a webpage editor developed to be used by children. (In English at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/EASE)
Musical Editor, a music composition toolkit
Drawing Workshop, a shared graphics space
Tux Paint, a paint program with extreme ease-of-use
BlockParty, a Tetris-like game that exploits the mesh
- chat, serverless linux instant messenger http://retroshare.sf.net , VOIP, email
- a shell and debugger
Develop, an activity editor
Programs are referred to as activities, this is when you navigate to the activity screen and select from there.
The laptop come pre loaded with educational programs for students. Some of the programs teach the kids how to do simple programming in Python like Turtle art.
A chat program is also supplied so users can collaborate on school projects. I added Xoirc so I could communicate with other chat servers.
This is the Slug chat room.
You can also use gmail as your email program:
This is the reader configuration of the laptop.
Some of the other things I have done was update the laptop with a new build which was very simple..just open the terminal and enter the commands and a new build is downloaded and installed. Other programs that I installed included Over the next week or so I will be trying to set up the Xo to view video and to install some games.
One of the nice features is the reader function in which you turn the LCD sideways for reading PDF?s which can be downloaded off the school server on from the net.
Well I am still exploring the Xo every day... If anyone has any questions about it you know how to contact me.