Opera on the XO


Håkon Wium Lie of Opera got special package this week and the folks at Opera have been entranced by the Green Machine and by getting the Opera Browser running on it.

Håkon provides some excellent user feedback on the OLPC prototype: "The next thing to do was to find a shell. The magical key combination is Alt-Shift-F11. However, the keys don't have function numbers and finding F11 requires counting. When you get it right, a shell appears and you can start typing. Typing would have been easier if my hands were smaller. That's a feature, not a bug."

Håkon shows off Opera in what
should become the default photo-with-OLPC pose

Of course, Opera is not open source, but has a track record of running on just about everything, including cell phones and of course Linux. Nevertheless, this seems to be an early chink in the commitment to open source. Of course, with Microsoft already trying to get Windows running on it, this may be a moot point.

Håkon says on this: "I have discussed this issue at length with Nicholas, Walter and Mako. At Opera, we think that what really counts is open standards. It's less important what runs inside the box as long as what crosses the wire is standards-compliant. They argue that, in an education project, students must be allowed to peek inside the box. That's nice, I say, but if Opera makes the difference between a usable or an unusable machine, perhaps you will reconsider?"

Claudio Santambrogio gives us a bit more glimpse into the workings; "The machine is not really the fastest, but Opera' performance is excellent - the browsing experience is beautifully smooth: all sites load fine and quickly, and even complex DHTML pages."

It sounds like there are a few bugs to still be worked out, howeve: "...it all works perfectly - except for when it comes to a very odd and nasty JavaScript freezer that pulls the whole machine down with it...Well, I guess debugging that will be our Christmas gift for this year."

See also Slashdot's coverage

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> Nevertheless, this seems to be an early chink in the commitment to open source.

Incorrect. Anyone can run an application on the laptop, open-source or not; what counts is what OLPC ships on the laptop, and no-one's saying that OLPC are going to ship Opera.

Chris, good point - though it does seem strange that Opera would get a prototype to play with if there wasn't some thought of using Opera?

Well, Opera can compete with the default Gecko browser at the end-user and school-administration level, since as we all know OLPC isn't the one with the final implementation plan. In OLPC's perfect world, an 'ecosystem' of proprietary activity bundles would be competing alongside open ones, including browsers. You know someone's gotta be building a KHTML/WebCore-based browser activity, too.

How about on laptop for every "AMERICAN" kid!!! This country is so backwards i swear... The U.S. cares too much about other poor countries and fails to reconize our own problems....We send billions of pounds of food to third world countries, yet we have hundreds of thousands starving children and people for that matter...Groups like this really need to look inside The United States of America...First!!!! Take care of the people that already live here!!!!..That's waht I thought The "United" part meant....Wealthy states need to give to the poor states.....Wealthy cities need to give more to poor cities... Wealthy towns need to give to poor towns....Wealthy communities need to give more to poor communities., And wealthy people need to give more to poor people...Seems like a simple concept...Right??? SOOOO where is it then??????

Wired News interview of Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software: http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/01/opera_ceo_on_ip.html

JT: Have you seen the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computer?
WN: No I haven't.

JT: I guess we are one of the few organizations that actually has one. We have one in the office, and we've been telling people how it's going with Opera running on it. Opera runs actually quite beautifully on that machine, and that's a machine with a less than 500MHz processor and 128MB of RAM.

WN: Has there been any further discussion about what the OLPC machine will run as a native browser?

JT: Those guys are kind of open-source-crazy. I think they've been trying to get something based on Mozilla running on it. Because of that, the boards have been loaded up with twice the planned amount of memory -- they need 256MB instead of 128MB to run Mozilla's browser. We complied the Opera desktop browser for the OLPC and it runs beautifully without any changes whatsoever.