Negroponte: XO-1.75 goes ARM, XO-2 is canceled

This morning I woke up to find an e-mail in my inbox which contained a link to an xeconomy.com interview with Nicholas Negroponte. While reading it over breakfast I managed to spill my tea because I couldn't believe I was really seeing the words I was looking at. XO-2 development canceled? An XO-1.75 to replace it? Talk about an XO-3? Going from OLPC to olpc? But let's take it step by step, shall we...


Nicholas Negroponte of OLPC

From XO-2 to XO-1.75 to XO-3

NN: 2.0 has been replaced by two things: 1) model 1.75, same industrial design but an ARM inside, 2) model 3.0, totally different industrial design, more like a sheet of paper.

Now there's something I didn't see coming! While I never believed that the XO-2 had gotten much beyond the concept stage I always considered it to be a strong vision of where OLPC was going in terms of device design. Sure, both the hardware and the software for an XO-2 are massive undertakings which would probably overstretch OLPC's limited resources but then again that's what everyone thought of the XO-1 design as well and arguably they did a great job there.

An ARM based XO-1.75 on the other hand is much more of an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary step into the future. So many people, especially a certain Charbax, had long expected OLPC to move from an x86 to an ARM design. I've been following the ongoing x86 vs. ARM race quite closely and it's my understanding that they're now closely matched when it comes to the all-important price / performance / power-consumption metrics. What I however cannot estimate is how much engineering by OLPC, Sugar Labs and Fedora it takes to make the current software run, and run well, on an ARM platform. It also remains to be seen when OLPC plans to release the XO-1.75 but I'd be very surprised if it happened within the next 12 months.


Early XO-2 mockup

On the topic of the XO-3 xeconomy updated their original story with a quote from Negroponte:

Not much to say other than its aspirational aspects: 3.0 is a single sheet, completely plastic and unbreakable, waterproof, 1/4" thick, full color, reflective and transmissive, no bezel, no holes. 1W. $75, ready in 2012.

To me that sounds like a slightly souped up XO-2 vision and given the timeframe for such a device I can't help but simply not care about it at this point in time.

From OLPC to olpc

X: Are there any new goals, and if so, what are they?

NN: We have separated the Foundation and Association, making two non-profit entities, moving from OLPC to olpc. The Association, based in Miami, deals clearly and professionally with sales, support and deployment. The Foundation, by contrast, is more focused on advocacy, engineering and humanitarian missions.

It's interesting that Negroponte talks about olpc here since for many of us this term has been used to describe the global one laptop per child community for quite some time (as opposed to OLPC for the Cambridge, MA based organization). Seperating advocacy and engineering from sales and deployment generally strikes me as a good idea though from the outside it's hard to judge what effects this organizational difference has on day-to-day operations.

olpc accepted?

One of the most interesting quotes comes towards the end of the interview when Negroponte says:

NN: People no longer question olpc as a concept. It is accepted. There is only one question and everybody asks it. That is: how do we pay for it? Turns out that is not hard, because the total cost of ownership, including buying the laptop, maintaining it and connecting it, is $1 per week, per child. While that is high for the poorest nations, it is not outrageous. The issue is how to front the money.

Now I don't know where Negroponte hangs out but whenever I talk about OLPC I definitely hear this "why one laptop per child" question. A lot that is. While I personally also believe in the enormous potential of each child having it own device (else why would I be here;-) I think it's way too early in the game to confidently say that the whole notion really makes sense. Let alone that it's been widely accepted. On the topic of cost it's good to hear a more realistic view of things that goes beyond the $100 laptop term. However I think that the true cost will turn out to be higher once things like digital educational content development and extensive teacher training are included.

At the end of the day I have to say that the interview turned out to be a good and interesting read though as ever so often it leaves me with more questions than I had when I got up this morning...


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I think poor and rich nations alike will now prudently await the arrival of the wonderfully efficient XO-3.

Why buy a product (XO 1.75) to be discontinued in a few months? Think about it: by the time Dear Nicholies finishes production of his XO 1.75, countries place their orders and computers are delivered, a brand-new, spanking razor-thin computer marvel will have replaced the ugly, clunky monster the poor country just wasted its money on.

Definitely, not a good deal.

Irv,

What nonsense you speak. You actually think the XO-1.75 or XO-2 or XO-3 will ever be produced? Ha! You're a bigger believer in OLPC than I thought.

Let's be real. OLPC has as much chance making an ARM XO-1.75 than it has an XO-x at this point. Like Christoph says, they don't have the pull with software develoeprs to make Sugar or Fedora run on ARM.

Unless... XO-1.75 with Android

It's all lies, Wayan, of course! (sorry you missed the sarcasm in my post...)


Prof. Nicholies Negroponte has been promising these elusive, always-moving targets as a way of deflecting attention from the simple, obvious fact his project is dead - and for very good reasons: he has never delivered on whatever he has promised.

For the last year, the moving target was the XO2. Now, it is the XO 1.75 (guess the lower version number is due to an economy of scale!). The excuse for the next two years will be the XO 3!!!

The emperor is naked, the project is dead and the good news is that only two poor countries wasted significant amounts of money on this techno-chimera.

Where is Mexican millionaire Carlos Slim and his humongous order?

Where is the crank generator?

Where is Kadhaffi and his million-computer order?

Where are wizard kids?

Where is the educational content?

Where is the 'battery life measured in days, not hours'?

Where is the *working* mesh networking?

Where is the free internet access?

Where is Papert?

Where are the replacement parts?

Where is the $100 price?

Where is the $75 price?

Where is the '$50 by 2010' price?

Where is common sense? The man's lies have been so obvious since day 1...

...and what made it worse was that those who supported the vision but called things as they actually were, were branded "Microsoft shills" by the pollyannas with rose-colored glasses.

The XO-1 was over-hyped and under-delivered from day-1, but only a handful were willing to admit it.

I was a G1G1D1 participant because I believed in the vision. Many others latched on for other reasons (like Linux advocacy).

oh well.

Wayan you really need to get out of the bars you hang out in and do some basic research. Fedora already runs on ARM. I have multiple ARM based computers that run Fedora. Sugar is written in python and is processor agnostic and already runs on Fedora.

Not only does Fedora run on ARM, but many have gotten Sugar running on ARM too. I've seen or heard of it running on an Openmoko, a Beagleboard, and some HTC phone I can't remember the name of. All are pretty average modern ARM devices.

The Cortex A8 or A9 series would allow for performance that would probably beat the Geode in the XO-1, though probably not the C7-M in the XO-1.5.

I am properly chastised - here is Sugar on a Nokia

Guys between sort-of-running on something and being classroom-ready, there is an abyss in the Linux world...
Today the only classroom-ready sugar for the XO-1 is the 12months+ old Fedora9/Sugar 0.82. Sugar 0.84 an sugar 0.86 sort-of-running on the XO-1, but no one even _thought_ to actually deploy them.
Sugar (and linux) have a long way to go on ARM to become "product quality". By 2012 for sure, assuming that enough machines will be out there to justify wider interest and the required effort.

I'm glad Xconomy reminded Negroponte of his original 2009 goals:

X: In January, you laid out four main goals: development of the Generation 2.0 
laptop, a no-cost connectivity program, publishing a million digital books, and passing on the development of the Sugar operating system to the community.

Let's see, so far:
1. XO-2.0 is scrapped
2. No no-cost connectivity (hahahah!)
3. 1M digital books done by Internet Archive
4. Sugar Labs is doing Sugar dev

So what is OLPC doing?

1. Generation 2 is XO-1.75 for ARM and XO-1.5 for X86

2. No cost connectivity is coming with http://www.o3bnetworks.com/ and White Spaces technologies http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/02/introducing-white-spaces-database-group.html

3. How does it matter who actually digitizes the books. Be it Google or Archive.org, what matters is that OLPC Children are the audience that demand for the digital books and other contents to be there.

4. Sugar will be an app and not an OS. It will run on ARM and X86 and on any OS layer and on any processor.

Let's see
September 2008, first talk of XO-1.5 to come in spring 2009
April 2009 (spring :) specs of XO-1.5 revealed
June 2009 A-boards available
September 2009 XO-1.5 B-machines
November 2009 XO-1.5 B2 machines in the works...
Sometime in 2010 XO-1.5 machines produced (I hope)

Now replace XO-1.5 with XO-1.75 put in the mix the state of OLPC in 10/2008 and 11/2009 and (end of) 2012 is an optimistic target for XO-1.75. With this time frame ARM should not be a problem (specially if Apple comes out with the ARM-based tablet, the XO-3 for the rich ;-D). There are several ARM prototypes already and milions of phones with ARM. Linux will catch up when few milion ARM netbooks are out there, and so should sugar. Heck even windows will run on ARM by then...

Beyond all these, it is clear that the OLPC hardware-based traction is lost, hence "olpc". All NN can do at this point is throwing ideas on the table and see if he can push the envelope any further on price/power consumption/durability. Materializing any of these will be a real perseverance testament.

Re Sugar/Fedora over ARM, take a look at this thread:

http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/sugar-devel/2009-October/020054.html

Sean.

ARM based XO-1.75 is a revolution. ARM based XO means OLPC can use any and all of the ARM Cortex A8 processors from TI, Freescale, Qualcomm and Samsung, integrate the latest Pixel Qi screen, optimize power consumption, install Chrome OS (available for ARM later this month, basically it's like Android for Laptops with full Chrome browser support on ARM), run Sugar as an app, sell for $80 and price going down towards $40 18 months later.

OLPC can only reach the 1 Billion children with ARM technology.

And battery life using the ARM processor is more than 20 hours on a 2-cell battery, using the recently announced ARM Cortex A5 with XO-1.85 the price and power consumption could be lowered even further.

"Separating" not "Seperating"

@Charbax
ARM is not a magical weapon and will not lead OLPC out of its troubles. You are over-hyping.

It is true that the next generation of ultra-low cost laptops (smartbooks) will likely ship with ARM systems but the 1.75 will only be one machine in the crowd (one severely handicapped by the idiotic distribution model of OLPC).

Seeing the target date of Cortex A8/9 smartbooks, the XO will be a very late comer in 2012. Some of them will already have Pixel Qi displays so practically nobody will be that much interested in the 1.75 like they were with the XO-1.

Fedora ARM may be OK for the 1.75 but they can easily go Ubuntu as well. I assume quite a lot of machines will run the Ubuntu ARM port with UNR so a Sugar version is doable.


Anyway, OLPC is right when they stick to this industrial design. This will serve them well in the low-grade education segment and doesn't need spending on it much. Currently, they don't have the resources for the development of the tablet version. It would be nice if they could manage a solid 1.75 release by 2012.

By 2012, they may simply copy an ARM/tablet design for the XO-3 and sell it non-profit to developing countries.

If I were them, I wouldn't put too much effort into the development of the 3 machine, I would copy and refine a commercial machine which is mostly OK for their purposes.

Something like the Entourage EDGE, only with two PixelQi screens and Sugar on top of a Fedora or Ubuntu base.

ARM Cortex A8 smartbooks are shipping now before Christmas, XO-1.75 could be shipping very soon for half the price of XO-1 with half the power consumption.

OLPC is not about waiting for the industry to do stuff, OLPC is about pushing the industry in the right direction, and the right direction now is ARM and Chrome OS for $100.

"It is true that the next generation of ultra-low cost laptops (smartbooks) will likely ship with ARM systems but the 1.75 will only be one machine in the crowd (one severely handicapped by the idiotic distribution model of OLPC)"

Let's remember that what is important is not how many laptops olpc sells, it's the basic idea that olpc is promoting. More ultra-low cost laptops out there means more that can be converted to education purposes, and so the more the idea can succeed.

NN said the idea of olpc has been accepted. That's not really true, but I think it will be. A decade ago cell phones were seen as something only for middle class people in developed countries. Almost overnight they have come to be widely used in the developing world. I bet something similar is going to happen with low-cost student laptops.

Ignore Nicholas when he talks about future products. Thank him for being crazy enough to start the project, and getting it to well over a million units in use in dozens of countries, and let him continue selling the idea.

I say this in the spirit of Niels Bohr: "The sense of the meeting is that your idea is definitely crazy. What divides us is whether it is crazy _enough_."

If a project shows up on the OLPC-dev or Sugar-dev mailing list with prototypes, a repository, and the rest of the apparatus, it is real, and will likely succeed. Sugar on Arm is real. Dual multitouch screens are still fantasy.

As to an XO-2 or XO-3 or XO-pi, nobody has hardware, and there is nothing to believe in until there is a functioning prototype. Fortunately, Mary Lou Jepsen is doing a competing design at Pixel Qi, and in contrast to Nicholas, has never missed an opportunity to keep her mouth shut about what it will be.

Hm... I do have plenty of respect for Mr. Negroponte.

But I feel like he shouldn't be the front person for OLPC... He is perceived more like Kutaragi of late Sony's Playstation 3 debacle than a visionary...

It is clear that it makes way more sense for XO's whatever next form (2.0 or 3.0) to be more like in the "e-book" form factor. So his "3.0" comment makes more sense in itself. It's just not a good thing for OLPC to be perceived in a way that they don't understand anything about the product cycle.

X0-1.75 will have an ARM chip. I assume it will also have the new Pixelqi screen. I wonder if power consumption will be low enough to make human power practical?

Human power is practical for the XO-1 now. Not the original hand crank, but pedal power, like old-time sewing machines. That way the child can continue to work while recharging.

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Peripherals#Freeplay_Weza_.28Foot_Pedal.29

One user can generate 40 watts, about enough to power 5 XOs doing continuous computing,or many more displaying static book pages. So children can trade off who pedals at moderate intervals.

Ok, but what about a crank or the yo-yo? Kids can't carry around a pedal device. So my question still stands.

How many minutes can a 10-year old generate 40 watts? Potenco research showed that a grown up's endurance reached fatigue in 15 minutes of their yo-yo.

Human power is not yet a practical, credible alternative. Either we lower the needs, or we redesign the laws of thermodynamics

What worries me more is his mentioning the TCO of an XO as 52 weeks X 4 years = 208 US$? Our TCO estimates done in 5 countries using our TCO tool for 1:1 models show the value to be more like 800 US$ per device for 4 years (we are not sure about the 5 years of life, so we use a more conservative 4).
Main costs in most underdeveloped countries are LAN infrastructure, connectivity, electricity (esp. electrical infrastructure and alternative energy sources setup), maintenance, content, teacher training.

But Roxana, Negroponte is gonna have no-cost Internet connectivity for all the XO deployments. So stop being all reality-based. You're bringing down the party.

NN has a brilliant strategy!

1. Announce the XO-1.75 to be sure to kill any sales of the XO-1.5 (See Adam Osborne, 20-odd years ago.)

2. Announce the XO-3 to be sure to kill any sales of the XO-1.75 (loc. sit.)

David Wallace wrote:

"NN has a brilliant strategy!

1. Announce the XO-1.75 to be sure to kill any sales of the XO-1.5 (See Adam Osborne, 20-odd years ago.)

2. Announce the XO-3 to be sure to kill any sales of the XO-1.75 (loc. sit.)"

ROTFLMAO!

XO-1.5 kills sales of Intel netbooks. And XO-1.75 kills the sales of Intel netbooks even more.

XO-1, XO-1.5 and XO-1.75 all have the same exterior design, they all look the same, and yet they all perform the same applications. XO-1.5 might launch applications faster than XO-1, XO-1.75 might be about the same performance as XO-1 version.

The main point is XO-1.5 pushes for cheaper and cheaper X86 laptops for education.

XO-1.75 pushes for even cheaper and even cheaper ARM based laptops for education.

If children in a country have had XO-1 for the last few months, some other children get XO-1.5 and some others get XO-1.75 in the next few months as well, Children won't be jealous of each other, to the children all the versions are basically the same.

What matters is lowering the cost of laptops. And the best way to do that is to kill Intel.

charbax wrote:

"What matters is lowering the cost of laptops. And the best way to do that is to kill Intel."

That's going to be a little hard, given the overwhelmingly positive feedback that Windows 7 coupled with the new Intel processors is generating.

In fact, I just bought a great Dell machine at my local BestBuy for just over a grand. This baby rocks!

Yeah, well Irv you can go be a fanboy of your $1200 Dell laptops.

We'll focus on supporting olpc's efforts at bringing the cost down to the same laptop experience at below $100 per laptop.

There is no way Intel and Microsoft want $100 laptops to dominate the industry. Microsoft sells it's OS for nearly that price alone, Intel also use to make over $100 just on selling the average processor.

Now thanks to olpc, the industry has forced Microsoft to only make $30 per OS and Intel also $30 per netbook sold that generate soon half or more of all new laptops sold.

Here you go, Charbax, I'm throwing a little bone at you - so that you don't say I'm a bad guy:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/05/technology/companies/05chip.html?ref=technology

I've been following the ongoing x86 vs. ARM race quite closely and it's my understanding that they're now closely matched when it comes to the all-important price / performance / power-consumption metrics.If I understand this right, he's saying that there is no big difference between x86 and ARM in the three criteria. So why bother investing time and money into porting XO software to ARM if it reportedly doesn't make a big difference?

While performance may be the same using ARM in laptops, price, weight and power consumption are definitely half.

Another big advantage that lowers cost with using ARM, is that there are all of Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Samsung, Freescale, Marvell and Nvidia to choose from to provide competition in the processor market. Unlike big evil Intel who has done everything to prevent competition for helping to lower costs for olpc using x86.

"I've been following the ongoing x86 vs. ARM race quite closely and it's my understanding that they're now closely matched when it comes to the all-important price / performance / power-consumption metrics.If I understand this right, he's saying that there is no big difference between x86 and ARM in the three criteria."

That's completely mistaken. An ARM Cortex A8 at 1 Mhz uses about one tenth the power of an Intel n270 Atom at 1.66 Mhz, and costs less than one quarter as much. Intel is hoping to catch up with Medfield at 28 nm in 2111, but ARM is countering with the A5. ARM is much superior today, and may well be for many years. Olpc is right to move to ARM.

Oops, that should be 2011, not 2111.

There is something called 'feature creep'. That means that stuff developed for SoaS or the XO 1.5 is not running well on the XO 1.0 already - and this is not going to get any better as time passes.

"If children in a country have had XO-1 for the last few months, some other children get XO-1.5 and some others get XO-1.75 in the next few months as well, Children won't be jealous of each other, to the children all the versions are basically the same."

yamaplos, I would say the version of Sugar (and of course the Activities which run on that version) has more impact than the hardware version. I'm interested in how the oldest deployed Sugar versions (e.g. OLPC-OS v7.1.x, builds 653/656) can be upgraded to at least build 802. I understand there is software backporting work from the XO-1.5 beta to the XO-1, though I'd have to ask around for the details. I haven't seen feature creep on Sugar, but I have seen great strides in usability. On the Activities level, the Sugar Activities Library is a reliable indicator of Sugar version compatibility. For example, Read eTexts (http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4035) will run on OLPC-OS v8.2

"I'm interested in how the oldest deployed Sugar versions (e.g. OLPC-OS v7.1.x, builds 653/656) can be upgraded to at least build 802."
I can appreciate that you are SL marketing "specialist" but what you say is inherently conflicting and not accurate. Considering that a lot of the readers of this page may have first hand experience with Sugar and/or XO-1 damages SL's credibility.
Does not make sense to "worry" about os653/656 (2 years old) update to os767/802 (1 year old) update when there is _no issue_ on that, and not to "worry" about os767/802 to Sugar 0.86.

"I understand there is software backporting work from the XO-1.5 beta to the XO-1"
Why the latest Sugar version should be BACKPORTED in the 99% of its user base?

"I haven't seen feature creep on Sugar, but I have seen great strides in usability"
"Renaming" Sugar's new features to "usability" does not change the fact that they are new features and things can not be done the same way in let's say 0.82 and 0.86

"On the Activities level, the Sugar Activities Library is a reliable indicator of Sugar version compatibility"
The fact that there are are activities running on 0.82 version does not mean that there is no feature creep with the activities that run on the newer versions.
Besides, if Sugar .82 is the same feature wise, as Sugar 0.86+ then why the heck do it. Don't you have anything better to do?... :-)

"I would say the version of Sugar (and of course the Activities which run on that version) has more impact than the hardware version"
Sorry but this is nonsense. If the version of sugar sugar is important and the version of sugar depends on the hardware, then the hardware is important. No?

Bagging the 1.5 and leapfrogging to the 1.75 is a pretty smart move, actually. I'm impressed by the performance on my son's iPod Touch, which uses the ARM chip. Power consumption is next to nil and its fast. I wish my XO-1 with Xtra Ordinary was running on that chip.

I don't know if this particular rubberized keyboard ARM-based laptop is going to make it to the US, but it would be an XO-1.5 killer if it did . . .

http://www.slashgear.com/wistron-n900z-smartbook-sub-200-arm-netbook-0345776/

. . . 10 hours (!) on a single change on a machine thats slated to retail for $200.

So . . . OLPC doesn't rush to bring out the 1.5 by the end of this year . . . doesn't conduct an abortive and hastily prepared G1G1 program in a still mostly stagnant (but slowly improving) economy . . . getting another year or so out of the XO-1 and eventually providing the 1.75 in the same near-bullet-proof form factor (saving money by not moving to the unproven 2.0 dual tablet format,) yet introducing something that may be able to squeeze half a day off of a single charge.

Yes . . . certainly shocking news but, the more I think about it, it seems to make more sense than the 1.5 to 2.0 path that they were on.

As for the 3.0 . . . I'll get back to you in a year or two. :-)

Yes, I must agree that now usability is getting into Sugar, there is actual interest by developers to listen to the users, alas, OLPC and Ceibal do not encourage that upstream kind of sharing yet, but to some extent it is happening.

However, what is the point of "best" and "high quality" in record? AFAIK these are useless in the XO 1

Sean Daly dixit,
"I haven't seen feature creep on Sugar, but I have seen great strides in usability"

hmmm well, should there be different versions of Record for OLPC and non-OLPC hardware?

Hmmm let's see ... does the appeal of the new feature tailored for the elusive would-be user outweighs the damage of a horde of unhappy existing users?
How many _students_ are actually using in their _everyday classroom_ the new record activity? Through in some prospective everyday classroom users users too, if you want...
See if this answers your dilemma

What I've seen is that kids figure out very quickly what works or doesn't. My point is, there are hundreds of Activities with more all the time; I don't believe it would be beneficial, desirable or even possible for Sugar Labs or OLPC to enforce Activity feature sets (not the same as the Sugar shell feature set). It's really a question for the deploying country, district, or school. There's another issue: Sugar and its Activities face a particular challenge in developed countries with gadget-literate kids, who can be very sophisticated - for example, testing an unfamiliar machine by playing back their favorite YouTube video.

I think is time that SL and Sugar developers to realize that the success or failure of Sugar does not depend on its ability to play youtube videos. Not because is not important but because there is very little chance to penetrate this market dominated by MS and Apple.
Like it or not Sugar's success or failure lays on its 1 mil+ users with XO-1 (and hopefully XO-1+). If they are successful and happy and the data pile in to support it, everybody will pay attention and traction will be gained even in the developed world. However, even then Sugar's aim should be the virgin markets. The ones with the limited resources, the ones that can not "afford" MS, Intel and Apple, and MS, Intel and Apple can "afford" to not to dominate them. The ones that may not have the bandwidth for youtube or even e-books. If a large enough based is formed there, it will develop its own sustainable dynamics and sugar will expand and flourish.
Going for really energy efficient software to couple the hardware and paying attention to the current users and deployments, could double linux use world wide in few short years. Hopping to get 10 million kids in the develop world schools to use sugar on their $1000+ intel laptop is fairly unlikely for reasons that we would take some time to lay out here (and please do not bring SoaS here because that's another lengthy discussion).
So unless SL developers want to develop for the fun of it and show what cool applications they can make or how cleverly can use the cutting edge fedora infrastructure, I would suggest to take the RedHat road. Make something solid efficient and functional for the work at hand. Developing world classroom teaching. Improve it and update it according to your customers needs. The XO deployments.
And if you do not like XOs contract another hardware and work with this in new deployments! Going after the GameBoy/PSP/iPhone kid head to head with MS and Apple, as a side show on top of other linux distros and leaving behind the limited user base you now have, is a recipe for demise.

I appreciate the advice, but I'm not sure I can use it. It's ridiculous to claim that SL and Sugar developers think the success or failure of Sugar depends on its ability to play youtube videos. Get to know the developers better please before saying such things, you do them a disservice. As for MS and Apple: their K-6 offer is weak and neither is interested in cheap netbooks, the kind most interesting to schools (I'm afraid the number of kids with a $1000 laptop is limited). ZDNet's education blogger has a good handle on what is happening for example. Targeting virgin markets is an approach, but in my view won't assure Sugar's success by itself. As for Sugar on a Stick, how can it not be in the conversation when it is the central pillar of our marketing strategy? Since it bypasses the installation barrier, the most serious blocker to changing a system on a different OS. Read through the SL marketing meeting logs, you will understand how we developed our strategy. Sugar is fundamentally hardware-agnostic and that's what schools need - a consistent learning platform across varied and often outdated hardware. Other pieces - feedback, Activity-to-curricula matching, the XS server for non-XO hardware (such as Intel's offer for teacher's laptops, cf. the Macedonia project) - are missing, but are being worked on. Volunteers are needed; if you or anyone you know wants to assist, you will be welcome.

"Sugar is fundamentally hardware-agnostic and that's what schools need - a consistent learning platform across varied and often outdated hardware"

But this is exactly the problem. IS NOT!!! And actually is discriminating _against_ the vast majority of its user base.
The fact that SoaS is SL's PILAR is the reason for that. Forces things away from deployments and developing world education all together, trying to get US/European kids to use it.
Can you possible envision the a developing world school is equipped with 150+W P4 machines with 512MB or more memory and 50+w CRT with wired network (SoaS will not run on anything else), that will "take advantage" of SoaS????
Regarding SL developers I do not dish their efforts I just thing is in the wrong direction if Sugar spreading is their goal. If widespread implementation is not their goal, if reaching as many as possible users with their code is not their FIRST interest, then...

(adding to the above response to Sean DALY)

And about the developers... believe me I have a pretty good idea about them, at least to the extend that this reflects to the dev mailing lists (that I read daily) and i know that XO is not on the top of their list... Actually SOMs are very informative. XO almost never makes it there and when it does there is a chasm between XO and Sugar....(look at the last few ones. This is striking: http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2009-October-24-30-som.jpg ).

As everybody else, people are trying to do too many things and at the end they do mostly what is at the top of their pile. Now if the top gun, marketing (nothing personal) or the butcher's wife for that matter, manages to put something else on the top of the pile, no matter how interested they are "deep inside" about current deployments and the XO, they never do anything about it. And that's all what matters at the end of the day.

And believe me I know about the argument "but where are they?, "why don't they ask?" so do not try it. I can give you the answer if you want: because whenever they ask unless the problem is in their agenda already the answer is "we are upstream" "this is OLPC's problem" "this is not a core sugar feature", "we have other priorities", "the problem is not defined well enough". "which part of the code needs to be modified", "the local SL will take care of it", "if there is anybody interested is welcome to work on this", " we are volunteers" "this is a known problem", "file a ticket" should I go on?....
However, if it is in their interest the answer is "I'll take time of as a core sugar developer to work on this", "I'll do it in my spare time", "this is a more general problem we need to look at", " this could become a core feature", "this is part of our strategy" etc

So is simply what is at the top of the pile. What they put there or what other people put there. (I know they are intelligent people and there are exceptions, but group logic is always very strong).

So let me ask again and give me a number as an answer.
How many students used Sugar 0.84+ for more that a month on a daily basis IN-CLASS (not after school activities)?.
How many students used Sugar 0.84+ for more that a month on a regular basis (2-4 times a week) in any school setting?
Now tell me if these numbers justify 100.000+ hours of work, and if half of these hours might be better INVESTED in a million kids with XO-1s

(and a last one... Really :-)
Look at these two 7-8 months old posts and tell me how they look to you today...
http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/iaep/2009-March/004832.html (the tech talk segment)
http://www.olpcnews.com/software/sugar/sugar_v084_review.html#comment-269415 (yours actually)
If you have anything that will un-classify them as "broken promises" please put it down.
Better yet as Wayan would say, write a guest post on SugarLabs and the XO-1.

It's clear to me that you are very concerned with updating the XO-1 installed base. I am too, so let's look at the situation, and the constraints Sugar Labs has in trying to solve all the problems by itself. First off, these deployments are managed by OLPC in coordination with each country's education ministry or department. So in your view, is the responsibility for improving Sugar and backporting to XO-1 deployments entirely with Sugar Labs? Another issue: OLPC is in financial difficulty; that's no secret. So they eliminated staff, including software engineering staff to support their hardware. Is it realistic to ask people who lost their jobs to work for free now? I or Walter or anyone certainly can't order any volunteers to do anything; any contributor can only encourage others in what they feel should be done. It's important to understand (even if it is vexing) that there is a difference between upstream Sugar codebase development, Activity development, and downstream projects such as OLPC-OS, Sugar on a Stick, Sugar on openSUSE LTSP and other distros, virtualization and so on. It seems to me you're opposed to Sugar being separate from OLPC, but that's water under the bridge; OLPC distributes laptops to developing countries while Sugar Labs creates and maintains a learning platform. It seems logical on the face of it that Sugar Labs should do all the engineering necessary to adapt Sugar to specific hardware, but that's not how things work. Any OEM needs to provide engineering to adapt any OS to their hardware. Dell would have to do it, HP, anyone. It's not easy. Even dominant market players like Microsoft stumble. Apple has tight integration yet they have bugs and upgrade and backporting issues just like OLPC. Let's not forget that what OLPC has done, and OLPC and Sugar Labs are doing, is uncharted territory. There is certainly risk of failure especially with an unfunded all-volunteer effort. I have said there is Sugar backporting work underway and that is the case too with Activity authors whom we encourage to provide compatibility with OLPC-OS v8.2 (Sugar v0.82). This is why I say volunteers are welcome. Every additional person helping makes a difference for the installed base. Someone with your skills could make a difference. SugarCamp is at Bolzano next week, why don't you come and discuss your concerns with us, and propose a plan beyond the existing one to support deployments?

1) Just a remainder first. I, some time ago from these pages, sugested the OLPC should be 3 separate organisations. So I'm not bothered at all by the separation. What I had added though back then is that they should WORK TOGETHER. The fact that they do not is what bothers me.

2) I think you are blaming the developers and I'm not sure you are right. You basically say since OLPC (due to the lack of money as you say) fired them, THEY decided to use all the Sugar experience that they accumulated under OLPC's payroll (or as volunteers there) to work on anything else BUT the XO-1! I do not think this is fair to the developers. And I would take offense if I was one. I would guess that some people may feel that way but to generalise and include all the developers and their "free will" as an excuse, is a bit too much I would say.

3) You give me again the go around on who is reponsible. I DO NOT CARE, and I wonder why should you? The fact that someone else may be responsible for the predicamnet of some kids does it justify you to do nothing about it, if you have the chance? Yes or no?
Is as simple as that. What perplexes you about it?

4) The Bolzano (or any other invitation) is I'm afraid bogus. The current culture leaves very little room for difference. If this would be possible then all the SL developers that left OLPC would stay in and change it form within. They did not, not because they were fewer than the others but because they could not do it form inside. And they did very well! So do not ask me to do what you did not.
The writing is on the wall. You can read it, but you ask me to wisper it in your ear... Let me konw that you can read and I'll come and scream it to you.

5) I care about these kids but I also care A LOT about Sugar and what is trying to do.
I reapeat the 1 million XO-kids are going to define sucess or failure of Sugar, not the UI not fedora 15 not the gadget kids in my home.
If you think differently tell me why at least?

6) You forgot the numbers I asked!!!
So in Bolzano say to the developers. "Guys and Gals for your last one year and your 100.000+ of work all these 23 kids that used it for a couple of months, they thank you! They send you this nice color card with their signatures. Is made with Etoys.
The 1 million kids that use your previous 100.000 hours of work asked me where the heck are you"

It's clear how strongly you feel about this. I'm glad you do, because OLPC and Sugar Labs and the deployers and of course the children need champions. I'm sorry, I can't help but feel that with your skills you could make a contribution. If not on the SL side, then on the OLPC side. There may be more cooperation happening than you suspect.

Right...
There is a lot of co-operation but I should take sides...
Looks like is grafted in by now...
:-(((

So, what do they do when something does not work?

"...kids figure out very quickly what works or doesn't"

Feedback channels are still something that are welcoming to the already enabled crowd, and it's an interesting challenge to think and *make happen* for those who don't yet know haow to use forums, blogs, lists...

Thanks for the seed of the idea!

"realize that the success or failure of Sugar does not depend on its ability to play youtube videos"

hear, hear! KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is a great principle we would get more mileage out of, instead of the feature-creep way, which has not affected everything yet, but is lurking dangerously close as interest in the XO 1 as a priority for Sugar appear to be waning, though, hopefully, not yet gone.

The OLPC XO-1.75 running ARM is great news. That way it can stay completely F(L)OSS and energy efficient. Also Microsoft's poor Windows 7 can't run on ARM so that's good.

True, Windows 7 won't run on ARM, but Windows mobile certainly will. And that's a truly revolting thought.

Or Windows CE. Either way, XO-1.75 and XO-3 have to stay F(L)OSS. Windows = horrible performance.

4 reasons why Embedded Windows is a very poor choice for OLPC laptops:

1. Are kids going to use a mobile OS? They're too young to afford a smartbook, let alone that Android is on 25% of ARM netbooks.

2. Windows CE development kit costs $1000 USD. It's supposed to be the world's cheapest laptop. Like it will cost $150. I see that iUnika's gyy will probably get a lower price some day.

3. If a kid wants to be in the computer industry, then if they attempt to modify Windows, their life is in prison/trouble.

4. I heard from here http://applesucks.org/index.php?id=428
that Samsung Omnia with Windows Mobile is hard to control.

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