DebXO 0.6 released!

(adapted from this recent mailing list thread.  this is a sweet build; try it out.)

After waaaaaaaaaaaaaay to long of a delay, I just tagged and built DebXO 0.6 (installation guide).  In some ways, it’s very polished (I’ve actually tested all of the desktops myself), in other ways it has a number of regressions (due to Debian updates breaking things, switching to an almost-stock Linus kernel, etc).  Either way, I wanted to get it out because people keep asking about it, and dropping JFFS2 leads to such a massive improvement.

DebXO is a version of Debian (testing) that is customized for the XO-1 hardware.  The 0.6 release adds initial support for the XO-1.5 hardware; however, XO-1.5 is not officially supported [yet].  I’ll update the official wiki page with instructions for XO-1.5, for the early adopters.


  • Update distribution to Debian Squeeze.  All packages and desktops have been upgraded.  This is pretty major; for example, Sugar is now at 0.88, and Gnome at 2.30(ish).
  • Kernel update.  Switch from the olpc-2.6 tree to Linus’s linux-2.6 tree (based upon 2.6.37-rc4+).  A few pending patches from -next and -mm have been included, but other than that… it’s stock.  The config closely matches the Debian stock kernel config; at a future date, we’ll just switch to a standard Debian 686 kernel.
  • Switch the nand images from using JFFS2 to UBIFS.  This makes an amazing difference in terms of usability.  Over time, JFFS2 filesystems get slower as they fragment, while UBIFS doesn’t appear to.
  • Initial XO-1.5 support. It’s still rough around the edges, but it’s functional (currently xorg.conf and /boot/olpc.fth must be edited).  …
  • Switch from autox to nodm for LXDE and XFCE desktops. LXDE usability has been vastly improved (for example, wicd is installed and configured automatically; LXDE can now get online). Webkit-based browsers are used – less ram thrashing throughout.
  • KDE image has been dropped (at least for now). KDE4 took at least 10 minutes to start up and then crashed, so.. I’ll deal with it another time. Patches to make it work accepted!
  • Awesome image has been dropped. I’d intended to replace this with XMonad (as that’s what I actually use), but currently that requires some tweaking and needs to drop about 300MB of devel libs. So for now, it’s just dropped.
  • Base images have been dropped.  The 0.5 base image was broken, and,well… I don’t see much demand for it.
  • Hal is no longer used (except for some legacy stuff in the XFCE images). Key bindings are pulled from DMI and loaded by udev.  If hitting the ‘fn‘ key results in lots of ‘=‘s, either upgrade your version of Open Firmware  OR add  “/lib/udev/keymap /dev/input/event0 olpc-xo” to your /etc/rc.local file to auto-load the proper keymap.
These and many other changes are described in the DebXO git repository.

3 thoughts on “DebXO 0.6 released!

  1. I got Bluefish 2.01 from a different repository, so the battery and wireless stability are the remaining issues.
    Why the squeeze version of Bluefish doesn’t work is probably an issue someone should address.

  2. I bought the G1G1 Olpc 1.0 right when it became available. I set it up with Debian ETCH as a double boot on that nifty second nan chip soon after. I had Gimp, Bluefish et al installed.

    I just loaded DebXo with Efce4- and I like it in many ways better than the etch debian with Efce4 I had on it from 2007. Fairly slick. And I didn’t have to hack my way in with a machete.

    But I am now having problems with wireless network stability, especially while roaming. I plugged in a usb to cat5 adapter, and after one session the wlan0 link came up and came up fairly regularly, till I went to a new essid. Some module confusion, I think.
    Wlan0 shows in ifconfig and iwconfig, but ifup wlan0 says the interface does not exist. iwconfig will not allow the essid to be set. I have not explored the new ip wlan0 network sub commands very far, but maybe there is a transitional version conflict.

    Modprobe usbX888 doesn’t help.

    Bluefish seems to be locked out from the repository, as is Totem, and the battery monitor does not work. The script would be so simple, but the bash or Dash will not copy, pipe or echo these values, though I can see them with mousepad. Nano will not open, nor will Abiword.

    I can imagine version dependency problems requiring disableing bluefish, but I wonder why is the battery status locked? Anyone know when these bugs will iron out? Anyway to unlock the battery status? I am of course working in root, and I can change the permissions of these files, but the shell script elicits a permission denied message. How does mousepad grab these fields?

    Do these bugs go away with the gnome gui? I was thinking of double booting the LDXE gui…

  3. Wow, this sounds great, can’t wait to give it a try. I’ve been using 0.5 for over a year now, and wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all your work. DebXO transforms the XO from a curiosity to a fully-functional machine for me. I love the clean design, the light install footprint (especially with LXDE!) — really just the whole thing is one of the best Linux distros I’ve used, not just for the XO but on any machine.

    I’m not sure whether you get many accolades for doing this, but no matter how many thank-yous you de hear, you certainly deserve a lot more. Great work and I hope you’ll keep supporting it for a long time. I will be a happy user as long as my XO holds out.

    Will be downloading 0.6 in the next few days; can’t wait to put it through its paces (and I’ll try to report any bugs I find of course)!

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