Xtra Ordinary OS Review: Better than Ubuntu!


This past weekend, I tried out the Xtra Ordinary OS for the XO from On-Disk. This Deb-XO distribution really is an extraordinary full featured operating system for adult users of the One Laptop Per Child computer. Just check out the video review:

In fact, I think this distribution is even better than Teapot's Ubuntu XO Distro. The XO-1 boots into the desktop faster than Ubuntu or Sugar, and On-Disc has a suite of program already installed.

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But don't take my word for it, or even agree with me. Share your opinion on which user interface or operating system you think is the best in this Adult XO OS Poll.

Xtra Ordinary Support

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Here are some random notes from a couple hours of using Xtra Ordinary. First, I have to say that this is an excellent service for those who don't want to mess around with configuring their own card by piecing together scads of software packages and customizing settings. Once the developer key is installed, the inserted card boots easily and quickly.

* One thing I realized after I started to make changes on my SD card is there is no backup. If the card gets corrupted, I'm SOL. I'll probably order another card from Ondisk so I can have a master copy and make backups.

* In the Ice Weasel web browser, all web pages seem defaulted to display zoomed to 200%. I couldn't find a way to reset this globally. I will try a Firefox plugin called NoSquint that should override this.

* The Digital Clock Applet is defaulted to military time. I looked up the instructions and changed the %R setting to %r to get 12-hour time with AM/PM.

* The basic screenshot utility works well. It drops the screenshots into the XO's onboard memory in /home/olpc/

* Linux Flash was already installed. I tried running a Flash-based slideshow in Flickr, but the XO bogged down after a few images. CTRL-ALT-ERASE restarted the window manager.

* The screen rotate and volume control buttons are not implemented.

* The multiple screen resolution settings really work, but be careful at the lowest settings such as 320x240. When I set that, I had a hard time getting back to the controls to undo.

* Suspend causes the screen to go black, but the backlight doesn't turn off. Hibernate just reboots the window manager. Lack of suspend/resume isn't a showstopper given how fast XtraO starts up.

I'm going to try printing to an inkjet printer and connecting a USB-VGA video out dongle to an LCD projector when I get a chance.

What is the Desktop Environment used by this distro? Is it Gnome, Xfce or something else?
I am using the Teapot version of Ubuntu with Arora as default browser, and I am considering trying out Moblin on my XO. Did anybody try any other distro?

Andrea, the desktop environment is LXDE.

This product is most likely in violation of the GPL.

Have to agree with KenF. Shouldn't I be able to grab this for free somewhere? I can't find it. Anyone?

Maybe I don't understand the GPL.


Maybe. If someone wants to make the iso file and put it online for downloading, that is OK under the GPL. The creators of this Xtra Ordinary have a legal obligation to make available the source code for the system.

The GPL basically forbids you to forbid, or restrict.