Fedora 10 for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO Laptop
What is the “Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop” product?
The “Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop” product is a packaging of the Fedora 10 Live Media distribution for convenient use on the OLPC XO laptop. Fedora 10 is an open source Linux operating system developed by the Fedora Project (http://www.fedoraproject.org).
How can I get Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop?
The Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop has been made available by On-Disk.com at http://www.on-disk.com. On-Disk.com is an experienced vendor of open source and other software on distribution media, and an excellent source of Fedora 10 media and other related products.
How much does it cost? How long does it take to get it?
For product purchasing and delivery information, please visit On-Disk.com’s online store at http://www.on-disk.com.
The XO comes with the “Sugar” operating system built in. Why do I need Fedora 10?
The “Sugar” Educational Software Platform based on Fedora 9, is optimized for the needs of the elementary-school-age children in developing countries for which the XO laptop was designed, as well as to support many of the unique features of the XO hardware. Members of the XO software development community, and end-users purchasing the XO through the “Give One, Get One” program may prefer to use a full Fedora 10 distribution, as another option.
Why isn’t “Sugar” suitable for those users?
It may be, and all XO users should learn about and take advantage of the Sugar environment. But many software developers and Fedora users are accustomed to the popular GNOME desktop and a full suite of Fedora tools and applications. The XO laptop uses an innovative and radically different desktop environment designed for educational use for elementary age children in developing countries. The Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop provides a complete and standard Fedora environment for users who prefer to use it.
Can I run Fedora on my XO as my everyday laptop computer?
You may be able to do so, but the Fedora 10 release isn’t intended to be a replacement for the built-in Sugar environment. OLPC, Red Hat, and other software contributors made substantial efforts to optimize Fedora 9 for the XO laptop in order to build the Sugar Educational Software Platform on it, and not all of those optimizations are included in the standard Fedora 10 environment. The Sugar Educational Software Platform based on Fedora 9 is also trimmed down to remove less-commonly-used packages, reducing its disk space and memory requirements. The Fedora 10 on SD Card release is a full Fedora 10 distribution, and is therefore much less optimized for the XO laptop. It is more fully featured, but larger and slower, than the built-in Sugar Fedora distribution (e.g. the boot-time is currently in the 4-5 minute range). The ability for “stock” or standard Fedora 10 to run on the XO is a major step forward that will also help make overall support for the XO on with the Sugar Educational Software Platform more efficient in the future.
How do I get support for Fedora 10?
Fedora 10 is an open-source product developed by the Fedora Project. As such, we encourage you to visit Communicating and Getting Help for information on all of the tools that exist to assist you.
About Fedora 10
Fedora 10 is a free, open-source operating system. Why do I have to pay for it?
Fedora 10 is free and may be downloaded at no cost from the Fedora Project at http://www.fedoraproject.org. To use Fedora 10 on the XO laptop the LiveMedia distribution must be loaded on a 4 GB high-quality SD card; the XO laptop is then booted from that SD card inserted into a slot on the laptop. The Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop product includes a 4 GB high-quality SanDisk Extreme III SD card, preformatted, with the Fedora 10 LiveMedia distribution and boot script preinstalled on it. The SD card is ready to be used on the XO laptop, with no further download or installation necessary.
How is this software different from the standard Fedora 10 release?
It isn’t – this software is the standard Fedora 10 GNOME Desktop LiveMedia distribution. Developers assisting with the Fedora Project have added support for the XO laptop into the standard Fedora distribution. The only addition is a boot script that tells the XO laptop’s Open Firmware how to load Fedora 10 from the card.
Do I have to use the GNOME desktop on the XO laptop?
No. The Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop product uses the GNOME distribution of Fedora 10, but other desktops are also supported. Some users prefer the slimmed-down XFCE desktop as it has more modest memory requirements (but a reduced feature set). Any full LiveMedia Fedora10 distribution can be used on the XO laptop.
About the XO Laptop
What is the XO laptop?
The XO laptop is a low-cost, low-power, rugged laptop designed for children in the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged countries. The XO was designed by One Laptop per Child (http://www.laptop.org) and has been distributed to hundreds of thousands of children around the world.
Doesn’t the XO laptop come with operating system software?
Yes, it does. The XO laptop comes with a bundled operating system and application environment based on Fedora 9. The operating system and desktop package is known as the “Sugar” Educational Software Platform and it contains both base Fedora features and a suite of user interface and application tools designed specifically to meet the needs of OLPC’s target audience. No additional software is necessary. The Fedora 10 on SD Card product is a complementary product for users who need the complete Fedora 10 environment available.
How can I get an XO laptop?
The XO laptop is not normally available for commercial sale. However, OLPC, in partnership with Amazon.com, is making a limited number of XO laptops available to end users through the “Give One, Get One” program at http://www.amazon.com/xo. The “Give One, Get One” program allows the purchaser to receive one XO laptop while simultaneously helping to fund OLPC’s production and delivery of laptops to children.
What is On-Disk.com?
On-Disk.com is an experienced supplier of open source software on distribution media, and provider of related tools and technologies. On-Disk.com is a long-time supporter of the Fedora Project and an experienced Fedora vendor. For more information about On-Disk.com and their products please visit http://www.on-disk.com
XO Operating System Software
What operating system does the XO laptop use?
The XO laptop uses OLPC’s innovative “Sugar” Educational Software Platform. “Sugar” was developed by OLPC to meet the unique educational needs of young children in disadvantaged countries. “Sugar” 8.2 is based on the open-source Fedora 9 operating system.
Is Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop the only other operating system available?
No. As the XO laptop is an open environment built on the Open Firmware platform, other operating systems can be and have been ported to the XO. To date there have been releases of Linux distributions from Ubuntu and Debian, as well as from the Fedora Project, for the XO laptop. Microsoft has also developed a version of Windows XP designed for pilot use in their Unlimited Potential program.
How can I get an operating system other than Fedora 10 for my XO laptop?
OLPC does not manage or track the development or distribution of other Linux releases for the XO. These packages can be and are developed entirely independently of OLPC. Please check with your preferred Linux distribution community for information on software availability and support.
Can I get a copy of Microsoft Windows for my XO laptop?
No. Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential project is only available for pilot programs in disadvantaged countries. The software is not otherwise available.
Can I just boot from this SD card on any XO laptop machine?
Any current XO laptop, including those acquired through the “Give One, Get One” program, can boot the Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC Laptop. The XO laptop’s firmware and software should be brought up to date first as a matter of good practice, and to ensure you can take advantage of new updates. In addition, you will also need to acquire a Developer Key for your XO laptop in order to boot Fedora 10.
What’s a Developer Key?
The XO laptop was designed with innovative and unique security mechanisms. The standard laptop is protected from booting software not distributed by OLPC in order to protect the user against viruses and other malware. Every XO user can get a Developer Key to override this protection. The Developer Key was originally designed for software developers who wished to modify the XO’s built-in software, but it is also needed to use alternative operating systems. You do not need to be a software developer to acquire, install, or use a Developer Key.
How do I get a developer key?
A Developer Key is a small file installed on your laptop. You will find simple instructions on how to acquire a Developer Key on the home page of the Browse activity on your XO laptop. Click on the globe icon on the Home view to launch the Browse activity, then click on the “get a developer key” link on the home page.
More information on obtaining a developer key can be found at http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Developer_key
This section of the Laptop.org website includes help topics for obtaining the key if your software version does not have a link to the developer key on the browse home page.
Why do I need to do this? I’ve always just been able to boot any operating system right away on my computer.
Since One Laptop Per Child's main target users are elementary-age children in developing countries, the XO laptop has special security features to support safe, reliable operation in educational settings around the world. As a result, users are protected from running software that isn’t identified as being distributed by OLPC. Fedora 10 and other alternative operating systems are independently produced and distributed. In order to use such software, the XO laptop’s boot-time security system must be disabled through the use of a Developer Key.