Earlier this week I discussed some of the challenges that OLPC faces with regard to the announcement of the XO-1.5. However I believe that Sugar Labs will also have to deal with some interesting challenges as result of this announcement.
For Sugar Labs the XO-1.5 will mainly be yet another device that they'll want to support given that it's likely to be one of the best choices when it comes to low-cost portable hardware for developing countries. However given the pitiful state of Sugar 0.84 on the XO-1 hardware (check mavrothal's forum comments for more information) - which won't be improved until Fedora 12 is released in autumn - I remain skeptical of just how well Sugar will run on the XO-1.5.
Yes, I know technically Sugar 0.84 not running well on the XO isn't Sugar Labs' fault but while the solutions might lie upstream, downstream or in some sort of real collaboration between Sugar Labs and OLPC the fact remains that currently 99% of Sugar's installed user-base can't use the latest available version of the software and is basically stuck in late 2008 as far as Sugar is concerned.
Additionally there's the fun of figuring out whether a specific piece of software such as an activity will work on Sugar 0.82 (aka OLPC 8.2 aka Build 767), Sugar 0.84, the upcoming Sugar 0.86 and the relevant combinations with XO-1, XO-1.5 and other netbook hardware (never mind different Linux distributions and CPU architectures).
I think almost anyone will agree with me when I say that Sugar on the XO-1 still has quite a long way to go until it can really be considered a great solution. Introducing the XO-1.5 isn't going to make things easier but the goal of shipping XO-1.5s with the OLPC 8.2.x software release which will be more than a year old by the time it arrives sets the bar low.
So while it really is OLPC's responsibility to make Sugar run well on all of its hardware I'm afraid that the results could prove to be lackluster (at best) or chaotic (at worst). And while it's up to debate just how much Sugar Labs can do about all of this it's certainly not the best scenario to find yourself in.
Yes, I'm still excited about the XO-1.5 announcement. But damn, that's quite a bit of extra work and worries that just got dumped on everyone working on OLPC / Sugar related projects...