XO-HS: One Click Gnome-Sugar User Interface Switching


One Laptop Per Child's new XO-HS laptop, the XO-1.5 blue and white colored laptop for Uruguayan high school students will feature a one-click switch from the Sugar Learning Platform to Gnome desktop environment. This will allow teenagers to use Gnome and adult Linux applications, expanding the software choices for Plan Ceibal.

Are you wondering what the one-click interface switch might look like? Well here's a video of an early XO-1.5 effortlessly switching between Sugar and Gnome:

As Walter Bender says in the press release:

"The fluidity of movement between the two desktops gives learners the ability to transition from a learning environment - Sugar - to a production and productivity environment - GNOME. They have the means of honing the creative skills acquired in an elementary education setting into entrepreneurial skills in a secondary education setting."

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When I got my first XO-1.5 I probably spent 2min just going back and forth between Sugar and GNOME because I was so impressed to see it work so effortlessly:-)

Now I've found that I actually use GNOME quite a bit less than I had originally expected. The truth is that for what I use the XO for Sugar these days is really working very well for me.

In my case, being just back from 2 weeks of travel with the XO as my main platform, I depended on Gnome mostly. And boy, do I love the glare-proof screen

The only use I would have had for Sugar would have been to run Labyrinth, which I could not figure out for Gnome, but ended never using... (and don't know if I could have exported from, anyway)

I also was surprised I couldn't install Firefox on Sugar, though it is by default in Gnome.

Oh, of course I did show off Sugar to people in Mexico City.

But couldn't figure Sugar to work with Spanish keyboard (I use Paraguayan release 180py, no idea how come Spanish is not the default for both), It was very easy to get that working with Gnome, especially handy for the external USB kbd (had to be reset often, hmmm)

According to Bernie's blog, kids in Paraguay prefer Gnome. (he qualifies that is "for the wrong reasons")

Been back and forth between Sugar and XtraOrdinary (Linux) on SD cards this year with my third graders, on 7 - XO 1.0's. Both work great.

One click dual boot vs. just booting with an SD card (or not)... well, I guess that's great, but I wonder how often and why anyone would want to do this regularly? I don't think the kids care, they just want to get going on the XO in their preferred mode... - Mark

This good news gets even better:

You can try this out on your XO-1 any time by following the instructions on a recent "best OS ever" OLPC News post:
http://www.olpcnews.com/forum/index.php?topic=4768.0 My XO's chip extends the switch a bit (I estimate 30 seconds or fewer), but the experience matches the one shown for the XO-1.5.

And a plug for mavrothal's suggestion in that thread to "yum install midori" to add a lightweight but capable browser I use more than Firefox. It operates well has several useful extensions (for instance I made the box button on the top right of the xo keyboard toggle full and normal screen).

Go give it a try yourself!