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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Announcements
Fedora on OLPC
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Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6815
Location: Chatham, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Tue 18 Nov 2008, 23:09    Post subject:  Fedora on OLPC
Subject description: Including Live CD that allows running Sugar environment on any computer

Testing Fedora on the OLPC
By Jake Edge
November 5, 2008

In preparation for this year's version of the Give One, Get One (G1G1) promotion of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO, the Fedora OLPC special interest group (SIG) has undertaken a rather large testing effort. With the assistance of 80 mostly-free XOs, the group has been running Fedora 10 on the hardware, trying to shake out Fedora and OLPC bugs. The idea is to help lift some of the burden from the OLPC developers, while also providing some distribution testing focused on areas specific to the OLPC hardware.

G1G1 participants can optionally purchase an SD card pre-loaded with a Fedora 10 live distribution, so that they can run a full Fedora desktop on the XO. Normally, it runs a stripped-down version of Fedora 9 with the Sugar interface as the only desktop available. Part of the Fedora OLPC effort is to help reduce the operating system burden for the OLPC folks. Fedora OLPC liaison (and Red Hat Senior Community Architect) Greg DeKoenigsberg describes where the project is headed:
The Fedora community is working closely with OLPC to incorporate their changes upstream, and we are also working to package Sugar as a standard desktop environment for Fedora. Our hope is that, in future releases, the XO can run a completely stock version of Fedora — that way, OLPC will not have to bear any costs of maintaining the distro itself, and can focus their resources where they are most effective: the hardware, and Sugar.

Back in September, DeKoenigsberg put out a call for folks interested in testing, with the incentive of a "mostly" free XO. Participants needed to be willing to buy an SD card to put Fedora on and to spend 20 hours testing Fedora on the XO. There were more volunteers than laptops, as would be expected, but 80 XOs—most refurbished returns from the original G1G1 last year—got into the hands of many "experienced Fedora community members." The XOs were provided by the OLPC project through its developer program.

The testing has already "found and resolved a number of potential release blockers," according to DeKoenigsberg. There is an extensive test plan that outlines the different testing areas as well as the methodology of testing and reporting bugs found. In many ways, this is just a test of Fedora on a new hardware platform, with the focus on things that set the XO apart: power management, networking, the built-in camera, display, performance, etc.

But there is more to the SIG than just testing the XO. The task list has a number of different activities that are currently underway. Getting a developer key to each person who chooses the Fedora 10 option in G1G1 is an important piece of the puzzle—the XO security policy will not allow it to boot from SD without it. Various Sugar tasks are high on the list as well.

One of those is the Fedora Sugar spin, a Live CD that allows running the Sugar environment on any computer. So far, there are just a few Sugar "activities"—roughly equivalent to applications for things like web browsing or word processing—available for the spin, but that is another of the tasks that Fedora OLPC will be working on. There is currently a bit of an awkward debate on the fedora-advisory-board mailing list about how "official" the Sugar spin really is—as it missed the deadline for the Fedora 10 freeze—but it would seem that many are in favor of granting it a waiver.

The Fedora OLPC SIG's mission statement—To provide the OLPC project with a strong, sustainable, scalable, community-driven base platform for innovation—makes it clear it sees a big role in assisting OLPC going forward. The testing effort is just one facet of that, as DeKoenigsberg notes:
We hope to have success with the Fedora on XO testing project, but the real goal is longer term and more strategic. OLPC has placed a very large bet on open source software. In order to be successful, they need knowledgeable contributors — which Fedora has in abundance. There may be more than a million XOs in the wild by the end of this year, and all of them will be running a remix of Fedora by default. In Fedora, we have a responsibility to help make OLPC successful, and the Fedora community takes that responsibility very seriously.

The OLPC project is one with great promise. It has suffered at times from the mixed message that it gives regarding free vs. proprietary software, but it could, clearly, be a marvelous example of free software in action. In order for that to happen, though, there will need to be a concerted effort by the free software community to assist. The Fedora OLPC SIG looks to be an excellent step in that direction.



Here's the SHA1 checksum, just if you're interested:

f032ab45aa116c2728dcd2d676e29a5ee114fd1d sugar-spin.iso

And what if you wanted to put it quickly onto your USB Key? Even easier! You'll just need to grab Luke Macken's liveusb-creator, which already includes support for the Sugar Spin. Here's the link:


Courtesy; Sebastian Dziallas

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