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Installing Ubuntu On an OLPC XO 50

Matt Lincoln Russell writes "Installing Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the OLPC XO is not for the faint of heart, but Drew Beckett has got the process down. This setup is pretty slow on the XO, but the good news is that Netbook Remix is a work in progress, and can be expected to get better."
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Installing Ubuntu On an OLPC XO

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  • by clarkn0va ( 807617 ) <> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:05AM (#24064333) Homepage
    Will these children in developing countries have access to an AMD64 machine with Gentoo in order to be able to follow these instructions exactly?


    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why would they want to? Sugar is more than adequate as an educational UI and has great collaboration abilities and sits on top of a Fedora port.

      • Why would they want to? Sugar is more than adequate as an educational UI

        Citation needed.

        Sugar seems to be an embodiment of somebody's unproven hypotheses about education. (Good discussion here. [])

        Sadly, I think it was the OLPC project's decision to go with such a strange interface that opened the door to people wanting XP on the things - you show it to a bunch of government executives, and they ask, "Is there some way to get this thing to act like, you know, a computer?"

        Oddly, I've heard of people put

    • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:02AM (#24064531)

      My name is Mike Abacha, I am the son of former Nigerian President Sana Abacha. I will send you $1M (ONE MILLION) US dollars if you send me your AMD64 machine with Gentoo.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:10AM (#24064357)

    Nothing new here.
    I have ubuntu with xcfe running on an XO for quite a while. Dual boot off of a SDHC.

    teapot is the one to thank for this.

    • It *IS* new (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:03AM (#24065179) Homepage

      I have ubuntu with xcfe running on an XO for quite a while.

      You are dualbooting *STOCK* ubuntu of your card.

      What TFA's author is trying to do is to test Ubuntu *Netbook Remix* which is a distro variation specially developed for sub notebooks.

      He wasn't just trying to get ubuntu up (as already done by countless other howtos) he was willing to test the new flavour specially geared for this kind of machine.

      Verdict : kidda works, not snappy enough, but will probably improve in the future

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by xenocide2 ( 231786 )

        You realize that the netbook remix at this point consists of like five packages added onto Ubuntu in a PPA?

        • On the other hand, some people *have to* test it while it is still at this point, in order to provide useful feedback.

          It's because *today* people are already trying Netbook Remix on OLPCs (and pretty much every other similar platform like Asus' EEE PC, MSI Wind, etc.), that the developers will get some valuable feed back (in this case : the interface is sluggish compared to what stock ubuntu achieves) and that down the line, five years later, netbook remix will be a successful and valuable platform as today

  • Ubuntu on XO (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:18AM (#24064381) Homepage

    When Ubuntu Hardy was being released in April, I have posted installation instructions [] for it on XO. This is still probably the best way to install a "mainstream" Linux distribution on that laptop -- XO has rather unusual screen pixels layout with 1200x900 "visible" resolution, so Xubuntu desktop with a GTK theme made to accommodate XO's unusual screen behavior is better suited for it than a desktop made for plain low resolution and mostly touchscreen input that XO does not have.

    I have posted videos of this version of Ubuntu in action [] on Youtube, and photos of the installation procedure [] (still with old GTK theme) on my Livejorunal.

  • How in the world do hackers get their hands on these while the children they're intended for don't? BTW there's an interesting article about the OLPC XO's current situation in a recent article in Business Week.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Hackers have money. The children do not.
    • by clarkn0va ( 807617 ) <> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:31AM (#24064439) Homepage

      How in the world do hackers get their hands on these []


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ya really ( 1257084 )

      How in the world do hackers get their hands on these while the children they're intended for don't?

      There was a promotion when OLPC came out that allowed you to purchase one. In doing so, another OLPC was sent to a child as well.

      The OLPC project had stated that a consumer version of the XO laptop is not planned.[8] However, the project established in 2007 the website for outright donations and for a "Give 1 Get 1" offer valid (but only to the United States, its territories, and Canadian addr

  • by ya really ( 1257084 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @02:48AM (#24064501)
    I guess this is a real item, though it seems a bit strange OLPC Postage Stamp []
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's in commemoration of the international day against child labour. It says "12th of June, International Day against child labour - EDUCATION: the correct answer to child labour".
      Over here in Uruguay the XOs have been generally well-received, and the government is very proud of their program (called CEIBAL BTW)... I guess this is the kind of stuff they do to show how proud they are, and yes, it looks rather weird.

  • But, but..! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Korbeau ( 913903 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:17AM (#24064559)

    ..when will the one-iPhone-per-middle-class-white-man campaign start?! I can't bear the view of those still not having one :(

    Actually, I'm jealous, I'd really like to have an OLPC =)

  • Qemu? Oh dear. I guess this guy never heard of debootstrap.

  • Why Ubuntu gets again this kind publicity and not other GNU/Linux distributions what has be working on it long time and has instructions too?

    Is this again one kind trick to separate Linux community by promoting Canonical as 'superior' OS manufacture?

    Doesn't Ubuntu users anymore know what Ubuntu means?

    • by pdusen ( 1146399 )
      What in blazes are you babbling about?
  • too late? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:58AM (#24066665) Homepage

    I'm not trying to bash olpc -- I liked it enough to donate one. But I wonder whether the olpc is simply coming to market too late, and at too high a price, to be relevant. This article is an example of how fuzzy the boundary is between xo+sugar and a standard linux distro running on commodity hardware such as a eeepc or a standard laptop or desktop machine. There are basically three reasons I can see why olpc can be relevant:

    1. It's so cheap that it can be given away to lots of kids in developing countries.
    2. It's rugged and portable, can run on a generator, and has a combination of price and features (like wireless) that you don't see in ordinary laptops.
    3. There's something really cool and innovative about sugar that makes it better suited for use by kids than a standard desktop environment.

    I've never tried sugar, so I can't say anything for sure about #3, but I'm pretty skeptical. My own kids use gnome, and it works fine for them. The fuzzy boundary demonstrated by the article makes me doubt whether sugar by itself is all that relevant.

    Re #2, I'm not convinced that it's really all that important for these kids to have this particular combination of features. Is portability really that critical? How much does it matter if the machine stays in the kid's home, or at school? Is the wireless really that useful in real life, in the environments where xo's are getting used? These features seem to be tied to a particular educational philosophy and imagined model of use, but it's not clear to me whether that's really happening. One of the big killer apps for olpc was supposed to be distribution of free electronic textbooks, and that is something I know something about (see my sig); basically the free electronic textbooks that exist today are disproportionately slanted toward esoteric graduate-level books on things like quantum field theory, with less for college freshmen, and essentially nothing for K-12.

    And then there's #1, price. So far they've only got the xo's price down to $200, and $200 is not all that competitive against commodity hardware at this point. I'm going to have to compare with retail options here in the developed world (US), since that's what I have experience with. You can get a gPC from walmart for $200. I recently walked in to a Salvation Army thrift shop and bought a perfectly fine used desktop system for $89 -- and that wasn't a fluke, because there were two other machines on the shelf at the same price point that looked just fine. Memory upgrades for used machines are ridiculously cheap these days, ~$13 (including shipping) on ebay for 512 MB. So for the same price as the xo, I could spend $89 for a used desktop, $13 for a memory upgrade, $8 for a mouse and keyboard (typical sale price at Fry's), and maybe $70 for a cheap LCD (again, not an unusual sale price at Fry's). Now I'm not saying that this particular method of assembling a cheap, used desktop system is appropriate for getting a machine into the hands of a kid in Cambodia, but I think it does show that commodity hardware is getting so insanely cheap so fast that there's a real possibility that olpc will simply become irrelevant because it's overtaken by events.

    • XOs are built differently from the eeepc. If I had a choice, I would get the OLPC over any of the "netbooks" or other cheap ultralightweights, even at the same price point.

      USD 200 to USD 300 is not a small increase, either. But the price of OLPC will come down as the volume ramps up.

      The price of eeepc and similar is at the bottom of the commercially viable pricing point for this kind of hardware. There's a reason that you don't see anything dropping under that price point, or anything really beating

      • [...]the price of OLPC will come down as the volume ramps up [...] The price of eeepc and similar is at the bottom of the commercially viable pricing point for this kind of hardware. There's a reason that you don't see anything dropping under that price point, or anything really beating it at that price point. Market pressure for this class of machine is still to drive the price of the hardware up. (Look at the recent eeepc models.)

        I think what you're saying is partly right and partly wrong.

        One reason yo

        • One of the things that keeps consumer prices high is that consumer oriented companies think that pushing the price below a certain point will ruin their profitability. (Sales channels, mostly, I think, but packaging and advertising, as well.) So they push the functionality up to keep the price up.

          But, as far as used computers for the underprivileged, in yesterday's USofA, it worked because power is cheap and generally available. Also, the environment in the USofA tends not to be as punishing. (Although, in

  • How is this different from installing [] ubuntu mobile on OLPC?

  • I've been running the Fedora tree for a couple of years because at the time of my last installation, I wished to play around with the IBM Cell development tools, and Fedora was best supported. Since then I moved a server to Ubuntu and was anticipating moving my desktop as well, which I attempted last weekend.

    I was expecting the Ubuntu migration to be relatively pain free, but that was far from reality.

    The first disappointment was that dual head did not activate itself automatically. I haven't tried to imp

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