OLPC Open Source with Drupal on the XO Laptop


When you're looking at the XO laptop, do you think of it as a great platform for a modular content management system and blogging engine? I didn't think so. But Ian Ward and Eric Gundersen are not like you and I.

olpc drupal
Drupal on the XO laptop

When I talked with Eric, I somehow encouraged him to think outside the box with One Laptop Per Child's clock-stopping hot technology and the result is Drupal on the XO:

Turns out that Drupal could be a flexible software application for the OLPC laptop. Three hours later (minus four hours spent hunting down a bug noted below) Drupal was up and running.

Right now, I'm viewing the Drupal site being served off the OLPC next to my desk from my MacBook via its private IP address. Wow, it's fast! The hardest part about the installation was the small keyboard.

Not only are Ian and Eric enthusiastic about all the applications that - once made lighter - students could get on their OLPC laptops, they even gave us the step-by-step tutorial for you to follow for your own Drupal XO CMS.

Now if I could only get an inspired Drupal developer to code me a new OLPC News...

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I attended a ICT4Dev meetup a few months back where Eric presented a mindblowing presentation on Drupal-on-a-stick: http://www.developmentseed.org/blog/2007/aug/02/disaster-assistance-usb-stick-powered-drupal#comments which was a self-contained drupal module (with some sync possible) that ran (without rebooting!) on Mac or PC and came pre-loaded with disaster-management tools and reference materials. I'd imagine the same idea could (and perhaps already has been?) applied to OLPCs.

Would it not be more suitable for the XO to use a CMS based on Python instead of PHP4 or another language?
Kids could then at least watch the python based CMS at work using the source code button.

Python based CMS':
(Plone/Zope is probably too heavy)

Python based Web Frameworks:

And by the way is a CMS really suitable for preteens at all?
Sometimes, specially after G1G1, I get the impression that the XO is less perceived as a tool for the education of little kids but rather as a toy for geeky big kids. Would it not be more helpful to focus the energy of more developers towards the actual education purpose of OLPC rather than getting another hardly helpful piece of SW running on the XO for show?

Well, I know the youngest member of our Drupal developer community: Dmitri, he's 12. He's currently writing a LOGO interpreter to run on top of Drupal, so he can give his 5 year old little brother a way to learn how to program using nothing but a web browser.

Maybe that will work for other OLPC kids, too :P

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that I can round up some people who could put together a new OLPC News (including some help from the DevSeed guys). Use my email address to get in touch.

Perhaps someone can make a kid-friendly Drupal install that works across the XO mesh network for kid-to-kid (and to-teacher)in-class use, then uploads to a school Web server when the contents are ready to be read by a wider audience....

See: Uruguay School Seeks Collaborative Editing and Publishing Tools

Hey, I've been a fan of OLPC since hearing a presentation about the impact it is having. Of course there are stumbling blocks but if only a handful of children gain an education along the way this project has been worthwhile. There is no greater gift you can give than to educate a child.

Keep up the great work.

how is it possible that Drupal is friendly for Kids:

I think the XO Laptop is a great platform for a blogging engine. I could definitely see myself using this while out in the field doing repairs.


Drupal has really made some major inroads over the last couple of years. I'm sold.

My grandchildren are using the XO Laptop in their school. It has already proven its worth.

I'm psyched to hear that OLPC laptop can help Drupal enthusiast like me!

OLPC is a great way to ensure that every child gets an education. I'm happy to hear it's on its way out to the world!

I really like the idea of OLPC and think it should be a standard across the world.
They could definitely do with that here in the UK, that's for sure.
Surprised that you had such issues installing drupal, but your persistance seems to have paid off - congrats!