[sugar] First impressions of a B4 machine

Ivan Krstić krstic
Mon Jul 23 02:21:23 EDT 2007

Hi Ivo,

On Jul 23, 2007, at 1:29 AM, Ivo Emanuel Gon?alves wrote:
> Hello Sugar and Devel lists,

please avoid cross-posting to these lists if unnecessary. I have set  
Reply-To: to the Sugar list.

> Booting XO was fast for a Linux system, but very likely not fast
> enough for a child expecting it to turn on immediately.  I guess it
> can't be helped.

There's a fastboot version of the firmware that can boot the machine  
in 3-4 seconds. The boot time, as we get closer to production, will  
start shrinking towards those numbers.

>  What could be done, however, is hide the diagnostic
> dialogs with a simple splash screen stating POWERING ON, or LOADING,
> or whatever.

This is being done, yes.

> I don't understand why the XO asks for my name after I turned it on
> for the first time, as it has never greeted me by my name since, nor
> does it seem that my name has any importance for school work.

The name is how you're represented on the mesh, and is already  
utilized by Sugar for this purpose.

> It seems my "version" of the XO logo stays in
> Sugar's background, but otherwise seems to have no other use.

The colors of your XO also represent you on the mesh.

> doesn't seem we may switch the color afterwards, either.

They will be changeable.

> Why not look into smaller and more XO-adequated distros
> like Damn Small and similar?

Red Hat was willing to do the heavy lifting to properly customize a  
distribution to our needs; given the unique hardware and software of  
the XO, no existing distribution would work for us off the shelf.  
That the current distribution is not yet lean as it could be is a  
known issue and one that will be worked on in the coming weeks.

> Is it because of SELinux?  SELinux may
> be put on any distro.

We do not use SELinux.

> One of the big issues I have found so far should be easy to solve.
> And that's the file system.  Pretty much every program under the XO
> with an Open/Save File dialog displays the entire mess that is the
> Linux filesystem.  Are children supposed to even see that?

No, they're not. The dialogs are getting replaced by actual Sugar  
dialogs soon, and the security system won't allow individual  
applications access to the entirety of the filesystem anyway.

> Let's go over the programs, shall we?

[I'll skip this part since I don't deal with the programs much.]

> Oh, and let me talk about the shell.  Is this really bash?  Why, oh
> why?  BusyBox is so much better suited here, especially considering
> the limitations of the XO, so why put bash here?

I'm not sure I understand which limitations you're referring to;  
surely you're not meaning to imply that our hardware can't deal with  
a proper shell.

> It's not like the XO
> will be used by bearded UNIX users and their emacs.

Do not presume how the machines will be used. It's folly.

> The shell's there
> to rescue the system in case something goes wrong, am I right?

Or to compile software or grab a developer's key and change  
everything on the machine.

> Next thing I know and someone's gonna tell me that the XO software is
> not compiled against uClibc or dietlibc. . .  It is, right?  Right?


> Battery: Drains too fast, even while the CPU is idle and the display
> is set on B&W mode.

There's lots of activity in this area. Expect significant improvements.

> Before I go, does anyone know who I have to contact to get a  
> developers key?

One isn't needed yet. When support for this goes into the builds, I  
will provide a piece of software that people can use locally on all  
pre-MP hardware to generate developer keys for themselves.


Ivan Krsti? <krstic at solarsail.hcs.harvard.edu> | http://radian.org

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