OLPC OS 13.2.0 New Software Release

OLPC OS 13.2.0 is a new software release focusing on cleaning up a few edges from our previous release, and finishing off support for the new XO-4 laptop. As usual, we maintain support and consistency for older laptops models, with XO-1.75, XO-1.5 and XO-1 also included in the release.


XO-4 power management

This is our core power saving technique where we suspend the processor after a few seconds of system inactivity (“idle suspend”), but we leave the screen and wireless interfaces running to provide the illusion that the system is still running as usual.

XO-4 bluetooth support

The new XO-4 laptop comes with bluetooth support as a purchase option. While such Bluetooth support is not immediately available in the user interface, we have enabled this functionality in the underlying system, ready for developers and deployers to use in their custom applications.

Enhanced touch support

In the Clock activity, you can now use the touchscreen to drag the clock hands to another time, a useful exercise for learning about time. Drop-down lists are sub-optimal for touch, they have been replaced by more intuitive and touch-friendly UI elements in Record. The pinch-to-zoom touch gestures in Image Viewer behave much better than before. FotoToon has been improved to interact with the touchscreen on-screen keyboard.

Music Keyboard activity

A new activity has been added, presenting a piano-style musical keyboard to the user. The piano can then be played using the XO’s physical keyboard, or with the XO-4 touchscreen by directly placing your fingertips on the notes you wish to play. You can even play multiple notes at the same time by using more than one finger, thanks to the XO-4’s multitouch capabilities.

Journal Share activity

We are exploring methods to improve common classroom situations of teachers handing out assignments, and teachers collecting in the students work. While this functionality should ideally be part of the core Sugar desktop, for now we are prototyping a solution in the form of an activity called Journal Share, which is new to 13.2.0. To hand out an assignment to the students, the teacher starts the Journal Share activity, shares it, and adds the assignment to the session. Students join the shared activity, and with a single click, the assignment appears in their Journal. When the teacher wants to collect in the student’s work, the teacher starts the Journal Share activity and shares it. Students join the shared activity, and add their completed work from their Journal. The submitted work is automatically transferred into the teacher’s journal for later assessment and evaluation.

Sugar updates

Several activities (such as Read, Write and Paint) are now usable when the screen is rotated. Scratch has been updated to a new version, bringing in the latest functionality and extending the library content. The Help activity content has been updated.

How to install? (Installation is distinct from update. If you have user data on the laptop that you wish to preserve, you may want to follow the Update instructions.)

New 13.1.0 software release pairing up with the new XO-4 Touch laptop

We’re pleased to announce the next release candidate of our new 13.1.0 software release.

OLPC OS 13.1.0 is a new software release focusing on providing support for the new XO-4 laptop and its optional touchscreen. As usual, we maintain support and consistency for older laptops models, with XO-1.75, XO-1.5 and XO-1 also included in the release.

Information and installation instructions can be found here.

Quick links for those who know which files need to be grabbed and save to USB disks:

This release adds SiS and DisplayLink USB-VGA support for the XO-1.75 and XO-4, on par with the support offered for XO-1 and XO-1.5.

We’ve moved the underlying system from Fedora 17 to Fedora 18 in this release, which was a necessary measure for touch support, and helps us keep up-to-date with the open source technologies that we rely upon. A minor update to GNOME to version 3.6 is included here.

Sugar-0.98 and touch

The most notable feature in the latest version of Sugar is the addition of touchscreen support, pairing up with the new XO-4 Touch laptop. While a touchscreen can be seen as somewhat equivalent to a mouse, there are a number of subtle differences, such as the fact that it is not possible to hover without also triggering a “click”, which called for a number of user interface modifications to make Sugar suitable for touchscreen input. We’ve tackled these challenges by making small adaptions to the UI where necessary. In some places where hovering was previously required, a click or touch will now show an informational palette (with menu) rather than immediately performing an action. In other places, a touch-and-hold operation will do the equivalent of what hovering or right-clicking does with the mouse. We’ve also made some small interface elements finger-sized, such as the activity icons on the home screen.

We’ve also sprinked some gestures throughout the interface. A quick vertical swipe from the top region of the screen downwards will cause the frame to open, and the same gesture can be used to close it. When working in the Image Viewer, you can use pinch-type gestures to zoom in and zoom out. Swiping your finger over any scrollable area will cause scrolling to happen, so you don’t have to worry about trying to manipulate small scroll bars with your fingers.

Tablet mode (where the laptop screen is rotated around and folded down, physically obscuring the keyboard and mouse) is very usable with a touchscreen – especially with the work we’ve put in. When in tablet mode, if you select a text input area, an on-screen keyboard will pop up: touch the keys to type away as normal. We’ve also taken some initial steps to make sure that the region of the screen where you are typing is made visible if it would otherwise be obscured by the on-screen keyboard.

Under the hood, this release also includes a huge amount of effort in our use of the underlying GTK platform: we have migrated Sugar itself, and many more activities, to GTK+ version 3. This invisible but invasive work, which we started for 12.1.0, is essential for the ongoing development and maintenance of Sugar, and was a solid requirement for the touchscreen work described above.

More information about Sugar-0.98 is available in the Sugar release notes

Sugar 0.98 with touch support in the UI is the new version of the Sugar learning platform

The release of Sugar 0.98 also incorportates many improvements to the GTK3 port. The Sugar Developer Team deserves a resounding celebatory cheer of thanks for their effort.

OLPC has been incorporating Sugar 0.98 in the 13.1 series of builds, available for download to run on the XO.

What is new for users?

Alphabetical ordering in the Home View

The icons in the Home View are now ordered alphabetically. This change has been applied to the favourites view and the activities list view.

What’s new for developers?

Activity Authors guidelines

The most important change is that the GTK+ 2 based sugar-toolkit has been deprecated since Sugar 0.96. Newly written activities should use sugar-toolkit-gtk3, which is based on GTK+ 3 and Pygobject3, now. There will be only bug fixes being available in the future for the old toolkit no new features will be made available for it and it will probably go away at one point completely. Detailed guidelines for porting existing activities can be found at Features/GTK3/Porting.


There is a brand new step-by-step guide for developing Activities under Fedora 17.

For more details click here.

OS 11.3.1 released for XO-1.75 and all other XO platforms

We are pleased to announce the release of OLPC OS 11.3.1 for XO-1, XO-1.5 and as a formal stable release for XO-1.75. Features, known issues, and installation details are covered in the release notes.

A heartfelt thanks to our many contributors, upstreams, testers, and other supporters. Comments and additional feedback are welcome on the devel mailing list; please download it and try it out.

If you have been following the release candidate process in the last few weeks: this is candidate build 885, released as final with no changes.

Thanks and enjoy!
The OLPC Development Team

OS 11.2 released! for XO-1 and XO-1.5

Daniel Drake has good news for XOs of all flavors:

OLPC OS 11.2 is now out for both XO-1 and XO-1.5, along with some activity updates.
Install it and check it out!

This release is build on Fedora 14 and Sugar 0.92, which includes a feature I am especially fond of: a touchpad-mode selector.  For those of you who miss being able to use the stylus-mode of the older dual-mode touchpads, this lets you toggle between stylus and capacitive modes.

This release has vastly improved build properties: olpc-update is now faster and requires much less free disk space, OS Builder is much improved for those spinning their own builds.  And the XO reflashes more than twice as quickly now:

As of this release, installation images are now sparse, meaning that data is only written where data actually resides. The result is that installation time is now more than twice as quick.

Solar charging has also been tweaked on the XO-1.5.

While there was no 11.1 release this year, there are plans in the works for an 11.3 as well.  If you have bundle updates or other fixes that didn’t get into 11.2, that’s the release for you.

A huge thanks to everyone who has helped with developing and testing this release!