[sugar] OLPC and AT

Henrik Nilsen Omma henrik
Thu Nov 16 05:33:52 EST 2006

Hi All,

David Colven and I talked a bit about the One Laptop Per Child project 
when we met in Oxford in September. See: http://www.ace-centre.org.uk/

I think both the software and the little machine itself could be of 
interest to the wider AT community.

The software - Sugar

The machines run a simplified version of Redhat/Fedora Linux using some 
Gnome components. The user interface has been completely redesigned 
however, to make it much easier to navigate for children. The result is 
called 'Sugar'. See: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Software

I think this interface could serve as a useful base for many AT 
deployments, being uncomplicated for both users to use and AT experts to 
configure ;) And of course it's fully open source, so features can be 
added or removed.

The hardware - small, rugged and affordable

A major issue in the AT world is the cost of highly specialised 
hardware. I think the more functionality we can provide on commodity 
hardware, the better for the user. It's cheaper and easier to service 
and upgrade.

PCs have traditionally been fairly chunky in a home or mobile setting. 
Laptops are better, taking less space and with less cable clutter, but 
have traditionally been expensive. Neither is esp. rugged.

The OLPC solves all these issues. It's small, light, rugged and clutter 
free. It has some standard inputs/outputs like USB and sound. It runs 
Linux and has various standard interface libraries like Cairo, Gecko, 
Pango, etc. installed, so it should be fairly easy to write suitable AT 
applications for it.

See: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Hardware_specification and 

Chris Jones of the Ubuntu accessibility team has already started to work 
with the OLPC hardware (main board) to investigate which of the existing 
AT tools for Linux might be suitable for it. I'll likely receive a 
beta-version laptop at some point as well for AT testing purposes.

This is mainly just an introduction. Some members of he OLPC team came 
to the recent Ubuntu Development Summit and suggested we collaborate on 
accessibility amongst other things. I know that there are many AT 
experts on the oatsoft list, with both software and hardware experience.

Please feel free to add your suggestions to the sugar mailing list:

Ubuntu Accessibility Coordinator

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