The iPodTouch Is What The OLPC XO Should Have Been

The iPodTouch is a mass-marketed device, so its cost has been driven down. An 8Gb device costs only $230.

Its development environment nearly demands performance. Its development language is Objective-C or C and only one app can be run at a time. Contrast that with Sugar on X11 on Python on C and an environment that exhausts available memory with very little effort.

Its touch screen encourages interaction. The XOs flakey keyboard and touchpad discourage it.

I still love the XO and OLPC’s mission. The only thing that they seem to have accomplished, though, is the proliferation of Netbooks across the commercial landscape.

Sugar went on a diet

In one of the recent builds of Sugar for the OLPC XO, I found that “out of the box” the machine barely has enough memory to run programs. Tonight I installed the most recent operating system version, 8.2.0, and found the amount of free memory to be drastically increased:

Total MB Used MB Free MB
Sugar 8.2.0 230 162 67
Sugar Previous 232 220 12

With 55MB more free memory, I expect this machine to play a lot nicer with its users!

I used

free -m

to get these measurements.

Sugar – Release 8.2.0

Sugar is the UI portion of the Linux build that runs on the OLPC XO.

It is a radical departure from what we would call “typical” user interfaces in 2008; and it really took some “getting used to it”. With the release of 8.20, it looks like they have made some “user friendly” Sugar and a few other things, too:

It took guts to come up with Sugar, and perhaps even more to make these kinds of changes. As minimal as they seem, they are not insignificant.

Disclaimer: I have not yet tried out this build as my XO is currently out on loan.

(via OLPC News)