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Software Portables Education Linux Hardware

OLPC's "Give 1 Get 1" Comes To Europe 134

Christoph Derndorfer writes "Last year OLPC's XO-laptop was among the hottest Christmas gadgets thanks to the organization's G1G1 program, where you could donate $399 to give one XO-laptop to a child in the developing world and receive one yourself in return. However in 2007 the program was only available for US and Canadian citizens. This year's program, which takes off November 17, is also available to citizens in the EU member states, Switzerland, Russia, and Turkey. This is certainly awesome news for all the OLPC / Linux / gadget enthusiasts here in Europe! P.S. Before anyone asks, these XOs will come equipped with the child-friendly Sugar platform, which is based on Fedora 9, and not Windows XP."
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OLPC's "Give 1 Get 1" Comes To Europe

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  • by GBC ( 981160 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:11PM (#25725929)
    I am based in the UK but ordered an XO in the initial G1G1 programme and had it delivered to a friend in the US who then sent it on to me here in London. All I can say is that the experience was an absolute debacle. If you check the forums of OLPC News [] you can see just how bad it was - repeated broken promises as to delivery dates, support staff who couldn't provide any answers and an end product less than what was initially promised (e.g. no separate power generating devices).

    I was and still am a supporter of the OLPC; whilst the product itself is not aimed at me, even still I think it is a great computer and a lot of fun to use. I give them full credit as well for creating the "netbook" market from nothing. However, the G1G1 experience turned a lot of people off the OLPC organisation. It is hard to have confidence that they can execute their mission when they couldn't even get the logistics right for a first world country. I just hope we don't have a repeat of that this time around.
  • Re:Child friendly (Score:3, Informative)

    by Diss Champ ( 934796 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:13PM (#25725949)


  • Re:Pandora is better (Score:5, Informative)

    by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:15PM (#25725985) Journal

    ah, for those who don't know what I'm talking about, here's the website []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:32PM (#25726171)


    But on a serious note - It's been said for a long time that the price point of $100 was an eventual goal, and that manufacturing scale did not allow it to meet that goal (yet). As such, the laptops cost roughly $200 ($188 to quote OLPC's information precisely) - hence the "Give 1, Get 1" program name.

    As for the spec, this is the same thing with a new OS. That being said, the OS improvements are supposedly vast in the performance department.

    Lastly, on the topic of giving it to a 5 year old - well, that really depends on the child. On the one hand, they may become bored with the somewhat slow processor. On the other, they may not have the experience to know that you can do most of the things it can do much quicker. Having purchased one during the previous G1G1 initiative (and having experienced NONE of the problems that plagued it, though it was sadly stolen), I would say that it would be a good bet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:07PM (#25726607)

    This [] (google cache - the OLPC wiki seems to be down) should help you (it's a bit clunky, but it works fine)

  • by Sir_Kurt ( 92864 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:21PM (#25726769)

    I one (actualy two) for the personal use of me and my family in the original G1G1 program. They arrived on time, are very robust little computers. Great battery life, super screen and with the latest software load, suspend to ram and other goodies work just great. We use them as our travelling computers. I loaded mplayer, opera and midnight commander on the little beast, built a cord so we could run it off the power plug in the car, and we are good to go. I bought a 120 gig usb powered HD for the little beasty, and ripped and loaded our dvd collection on the hard drive. Many hours of driving entertainment for the kids. The wifi is fabulous, and it never met a hotel setup it couldn't connect to instantly. For those hotels with hardwired ethernet, a $10 usb ethernet port does it all.

    We are pleased.


  • by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:52PM (#25727137)

    A few features that remain unmatched:
        - screen that works in sunlight
        - ebook mode (although I can read a PDF on my EEE and it looks great)
        - more rugged than other computers
        - battery life (?)
        - hand crank (did they provide it this time?)
        - wifi mesh

    Among those features, some are still not fully realized on the XO, due mostly to software. Sunlight-readable, check. Ruggedness, check.

    But the ebook mode is not nearly as usable as it could be IMO. For one thing, when you rotate the display orientation using the rotate button, the scroll buttons don't rotate to match. Also, it's surprising how little UI activity you can accomplish from the ebook mode. (The XO's ebook mode is when you fold the display to cover the keyboard. You have access to a four-way arrow pad, a rotate-screen button, on/off button, and the four-button game pad which is used to give you page up, page down.) In particular, you can't access any menus, or use arrows to move the mouse, or anything like that.

    On battery life, the vaunted powersaving potential of the XO's micro-sleep ability is only just beginning to be implemented in the latest software. It is considered experimental. After x seconds of inactivity, the display dims and presumably the CPU naps until a key is pressed. This came out in the latest supported release. When the original G1G1 came out, you couldn't even do the normal Linux suspend/resume, which was a bit of a shock. Things have come a long way, and my guess is this will continue to be polished.

    The hand crank concept was replaced with a pull-cord. It isn't provided to G1G1 users, who live amongst reliable electrical infrastructure.

    The wifi mesh isn't useful for G1G1 users, unless maybe you GnGn for n > 1. The mesh is one way that application collaboration is enabled. From my reading, it seems to be problematic in the field, at least for fair sized meshes (> something like 12 users, could be > 30, I forget where this stands now).

    Collaboration is one of the coolest features of the XO in its target environment, but typical G1G1 folks won't get to play much with it.

    Going back to ebook mode, I also found it difficult to adapt to the Sugar journal when it comes to storing my PDF books for later review. Kids not habituated to typical file hierarchies may not have that problem. And of course you can put some variant of a standard Linux distro on it, there are lots of ongoing efforts at making that easier and better.

    In summary - this year's G1G1 donors will be in *way* better shape than last year's, because OLPC is teaming with better order-fulfillment partners and because the OLPC/sugar software has begun to realize more of the XO's potential. But frankly, the software still has a ways to go, and suffers from the herculean strain of making modern software work on very limited computing resources with a development staff that is smart, dedicated, and amazing -- but not very large for the size of the task.

  • Re:Disillusion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brain_Recall ( 868040 ) <> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:48PM (#25727679)
    I can't defend everything, so I'll just post some info. Full-scale OS updates aren't intended for its intended audience. I've had bad upgrades, but only when playing with the development branch (joyride). Activities can be updated easily with a new Sugar build. Sugar was just updated very recently. I would post a link, but the wiki is down at the moment. It has some changes, modified layout, better power management, and a control panel with a software updater. Wifi with security is a LOT better than it was. Mine syncs right up with WPA for me without any trouble. There are localized Wiki activities now available. And, these do often come specialized for the country they are being delivered to, including electronic books that they use. These are often special builds not available to the public, so you wouldn't see much of them.
  • by inasity_rules ( 1110095 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @03:19AM (#25730845) Journal

    If you're a kid, it may be a usable computer, but I'd advise against getting one for personal use. The sun screen is incredibly awesome and the hand crank is neat. If I could just pay $600 for an eee that could take variable power source and had the OLPC's sun viewable I'd totally do it (

    Its called a DC-DC converter. Its fairly simple and cheap to build(1 IC, an inductor and a FET are the major components), and if you put a step-down after a step-up you can build a high current system that will take anything between 6V and 28V and provide the correct output for any laptop. I run my laptop off such a system without problems. Efficiency is above 80%. Just make sure the supply can provide sufficient current. Sealed Pb-Acid batteries work well.

    The sunlight readable screen is just a bit harder though..I had an idea about replacing the white paper behind the TFT matrix with a mirror, but I think it would distort the colours.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.