Will OLPC Uruguay be "Sugarized" by Christmas?

olpc developer
Next OLPC developer generation

Reading Walter Bender's update on One Laptop Per Child software development progress, I came across an interesting tidbit of activity. The operating system software releases have been renamed and repurposed:

  • Oct. 26: "Trial-3" (Build 622) are the bits being loaded for mass production. This was completed this week.
  • Nov. 16: "Reload" are bits that could possibly be loaded before shipping laptops to individuals. We will hand pick blocking bug fixes only if we need to.
  • Dec. 07: "Killjoy" (V1.0, previously referred to as FRS or First Deployment) is a release based on the "Joyride" builds. This will include bug fixes/minor features that are in Joyride today; and we are actively moving some trac items to this release based on what we know about in the next week. Feature freeze for this is next week; code freeze the week after.
Now digging a little deeper and going to the Sugar roadmap I worry that "killjoy" might not mean a very merry Christmas for all:
XM - killjoy: Used to be called First Revenue Ship (FRS) or First Deployment. It is always difficult to agree on a 'V1.0', but this is as close as we can get to agreement, so we won't call it v1.0. This will be the recommended download in the field for the first deployments. 'XM' is short hand for 'Christmas Release'. This is also known as the 'killjoy' release.

This will mostly consist of cleaning up bugs and small features to the 620, Trial-3 release, that are required for G1G1 or country deployments.

Now I may not have deep experience in deploying software, but that December 7th date might just be one that lives in infamy.

In the Open Source community, Version 1.0 of a software release is usually a major milestone, indicating that the software has all its major features and is stable enough for install by the average user. Often, Version 1.0 is finished with enough lead time to be either be pre-loaded on hardware or downloaded online to great fanfare.

olpc Uruguay
More OLPC Sugar, please

Or to put it another way, One Laptop Per Child is coding down to the wire. If this is a pre-distribution operating system load, one done by Quanta Computer at its Changshu factory, then laptops aren't going to the field until mid-December. And if it's a post-distribution install, just how are field teams going to update the operating system on tens of thousands of laptops?

Before you say "Internet download" check the results of the Uruguay RFP again:

Connectivity was declared as deserted.
That means while G1G1 geeks in the USA could easily download a new Sugar distro, children in Uruguay will not have the luxury of local Internet connectivity in the near term.

How then to update 100,000 XO-1's in classrooms and homes across Uruguay's Florida Province?

Walter Bender has clarified the OLPC software production schedule, Ship.1 (Build 623; Firmware Q2D03) will go out on October 30th, and Miguel Brechner, LATU's Director, says LATU will give connectivity to each region via ADSL, Edge, HDSPA or Satellite. Children will have connectivity in school, public areas and partially homes starting in the Florida region.

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Some clarifications:
1. Connectivity RFP was declared desert, but it doesn't mean there will not be connectivity: It will be deployed by LATU and ANTEL theirselves as described in this post: http://olpc-ceibal.blogspot.com/2007/10/its-official-ceibal-project-will-begin.htm
2. In Florida there are 8.000 children, the 100.000 laptops we'll buy are for covering an important part of the country within the rest of 2007 and 2008.
3. Certainly, every laptop will get a local (uruguayan) update on its software, to include local customization on software and contents.


I'm glad to hear that you'll have a Uruguayan version of the XO software - I expected you would customize Sugar for the Uruguayan environment.

But how will you give each laptop a Uruguayan version of KillJoy by your Christmas break if the English version will not be finished until December 7th, at the earliest?

Could it be that you'll not be getting XO's by the start of Uruguay's Christmas break? Or that you'll only have a limited number, like 8,000 or less? Or that there will be a two or three week delay between receipt by Ceibal and distribution to children - time to re-flash the computers?

And I know you speak about LATU & ANTEL working on Internet connectivity, but will there be connectivity from the beginning of a full scale roll out? The lack of bidders suggests not.


Looking at your Spanish language Projecto Ceibal site now: http://proyecto-ceibal.blogspot.com/ I see you've updated it since I wrote this post for publication on Monday. I'll update the post to reflect the new information about project connectivity and size.

Still, the question about Killjoy timing remains. Will OLPC have a full Version 1.0 ready in time for delivery by Uruguay's Christmas break?

Walter Bender has just clarified the OLPC software schedule:

The nomenclature of the recent announcement about software schedules caused some confusion—in part because we changed the names of the various target builds. To bring some clarity to the schedule, we are yet again changing the names:

"Factory" will refer to builds that are installed during production testing of new hardware at the factory.
"Ship" will refer to builds that are on production machines that leave the factory.
"Update" will refer to updates to Ship builds that are performed after they leave the factory—before the laptops are deployed.
"Future" will refer to features and bug fixes planned for future releases.
"Opportunity" will refer to features that are under discussion.
"Untriaged" will refer to features that have not been scheduled.

The past/current schedule is as follows:
2006-11-18 Factory.1 (Build 185; Firmware Q2B11)
2007-04-31 Factory.2 (Build 386; Firmware Q2C09)
2007-05-08 Factory.3 (Build 406; Firmware Q2C11)
2007-08-04 Factory.4 (Build 542; Firmware Q2C22)
2007-10-26 Factory.5 (Build 622; Firmware Q2D02)
2007-10-30 Ship.1 (Build 623; Firmware Q2D03)
2007-11-02 Feature freeze for Update.1
2007-12-01 Update.1 (==Ship.2)

We expect to be doing updates monthly through the first quarter of 2008. After that, we will likely adopt a three-month update cycle. Eventually we will adopt a six-month update cycle.



I am the person in charge of the project.
Uruguay has 19 regions. We will deploy region by region, and give connectivity to each region via ADSL, Edge, HDSPA or Satellite. Kids will have connectivity in school, public areas and partially homes.
First Region is Florida.

We have very good technical capabilities, we have our own adaptations of the software.
Just to inform you , our country exports more than 120.000.000 us$ in software for a 3.3 million population.

How long will it take to deliver 8000 notebooks in the US??. The same will take to deliver here.
The same applies to the flashing , etc


Miguel, Thanks for the input. I'm sure you know that both supporters and skeptics will be watching your project closely. I hope you can keep reporting back. I'm sure the folks in Cambridge will learn a great deal from you, as will other organizations planning a wide deployment.

Carlos Slim's philanthropic activities are being increased with a big emphasis on education in Mexico and Central America. Later in South America. I can put you in contact with the person in charge of the ed. programs if you wish.


Thanks for your comments! I would love to know how long you estimate it will take you to rollout 8,000 laptops across Florida.

It would be a good metric to understand how long it would take a country to roll out one laptop per child in large numbers, a key question for OLPC's production and implementation plans.

Once it is deployed I will share all the info with you. The same about connectivity as we have worked very hard on that


Miguel, thanks for your comments, I can't wait to hear more first-hand impressions from Uruguay!

One thing though, if I'm not mistaken most schools in Uruguay will probably be closed due to the summer holidays from mid-December to February (at least that's the way it is in Peru). Does that mean that the children will still get their X0 before the holidays and then will have 3 months to figure everything out themselves. Or will the real and actualy roll-out only take place once everyone is back in school?

With regards to distribution, here's what Nichola Negroponte said in a recent interview with the German weekly "Die Zeit" (http://www.zeit.de/2007/42/C-Negroponte?page=all)

"The distribution works like that: There are 5000 laptops in each container and 20 containers will be delivered per month. 5 trucks will each load up with one container and 20 people. Then the laptops will be delivered and the people will spend 4 weeks in the village or settlement to set up the machine for each child. ...

Q: What happens with the people after those 4 weeks?

Negroponte: After that month the instructors will return to their home-base and start the whole thing again with the next 5000 laptops. If you sum that up it means that 500 people can deliver a million laptops in 12 months."

I'd love to hear more details about the implementation in Uruguay!


Thanks for posting, I would love to here from you on how you intend to implement your WAN connections using the EDGE GSM connection. Will you be teaming edge connections from a given school to increase bandwidth or have you worked out agreements with your local mobile providers to guarantee a fixed transfer rate for the school connections?( EDGE in the states is entirely hit or miss with little to no service guarantee's from the providers). If you guys can successfully link schools in such a fashion using terrestrial wireless then the rest of the world will most definitely stand up and take notice.

Good luck,

OLPC isn't doing too well on the Ship software Updates:

We did not quite get to code freeze today and will need a few more days to get the most important bugs fixed for the Update1 release. (As Jim Gettys pointed out, the Update.1 release is driven by completion of content, rather than driven by necessity of hardware schedules.) We will start creating candidate releases next week.

Please see http://dev.laptop.org/roadmap for the list of bugs being addressed and to look ahead to what we would like to go into Update.2. Testing should be on-going on the Update.1 (stabilizing for release in mid-January) and Joyride streams (mainline, features/fixes for Update.2).

There is a discussion on the devel list about how to improve the build process. Please feel free to make additional suggestions: we want to the process to be more efficient for everyone.