Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

First Look: OLPC's XO Laptop

Filed under
OLPC

To say the $188 XO laptop produced by the One Laptop Per Child organization is not your typical laptop is an understatement. For one, the XO is a tech triumph for its low price and rugged design, and will amaze any child in a developing nation (the laptop's intended recipient) lucky enough to get one. On the other hand, anyone familiar with a Windows-based notebook and who expects a similar experience with the XO will be sorely disappointed.

The production notebook supplied by the OLPC group is chock full of impressive technological firsts. It has a power-saving display that can be viewed in direct sunlight, a laptop chassis that can withstand a monsoon or sandstorm, and innards with no moving parts (fans or disk drives) which in turn reduces potential parts failure.

Tradeoffs

Technological innovations aside, I found some harsh tradeoffs with the XO compared to today's Windows-based notebooks. First, don't expect to touch-type on the XO -- the rubberized keyboard is too small for most adults and geared toward child-sized hands. My fat fingers couldn't cope and I had to resort to hunt-and-peck typing. But anyone comparing the XO to a Windows laptop is missing the point. It's the tradeoffs that help keep the XO inexpensive, durable, and kid-friendly.

Windows it Ain't




More in Tux Machines

'Open' Processor

  • 25-core open source chip could pave way for monster 200,000-core PC
    PRINCETON UNIVERSITY BOFFINS have developed a 25-core open source processor that can be scaled to create a monster 200,000-core PC stuffed with 8,000 64-bit chips. The chip is called Piton after the metal spikes driven by rock climbers into mountain sides, and was presented at the Hot Chips symposium on high-performance computing in Cupertino this week.
  • New microchip demonstrates efficiency and scalable design
    Researchers at Princeton University have built a new computer chip that promises to boost performance of data centers that lie at the core of online services from email to social media. [...] Other Princeton researchers involved in the project since its 2013 inception are Yaosheng Fu, Tri Nguyen, Yanqi Zhou, Jonathan Balkind, Alexey Lavrov, Matthew Matl, Xiaohua Liang, and Samuel Payne, who is now at NVIDIA. The Princeton team designed the Piton chip, which was manufactured for the research team by IBM. Primary funding for the project has come from the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
  • Manycore ‘Piton’ Climbs Toward 200,000-Core Peak

Android Leftovers

Lubuntu 16.10 Beta Out Now with Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS and the Latest LXDE Desktop

As part of today's Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta launch, Simon Quigley from the Lubuntu Linux team released the first Beta build of the upcoming Lubuntu 16.10 operating system. Read more Also: Ubuntu MATE 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta Removes the Heads-Up Display (HUD) Feature Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 Beta 1 Released with GNOME 3.20 and GNOME 3.22 Beta Apps Ubuntu 16.10 "Yakkety Yak" Beta Released, Ubuntu GNOME Has Experimental Wayland

Facebook open sources its computer vision tools