Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Try the OLPC ($100 laptop)

Many thanks to Joel for showing the Games Programming Cluster the OLPC (one Laptop Per Child), also called the XO or the $100 laptop.

The Cluster has been using using game programming to engage children in relevant and authentic learning, it was interested to see Etoys, the programming environment that will ship with the OLPC.

You can try the OLPC software at home. Just go to and follow the instructions to download a PC bootable CD image:

Trying out the Sugar environment is as simple as 1, 2, 3!

Step 1Download olpc-redhat-stream-sdk-livecd.iso

Step 2Burn the iso image to a blank CD

Step 3Pop CD into your machine and boot.

The first cold boot of the CD fails for me but a second warm boot is successful. After filling in your name and selecting "your" colour scheme you should see this:
That's you in the centre of the screen. There is a border, at the bottom are the applications or activities you can launch, at the top are the buttons to show your wireless mesh network, the single dot button shows you and your activities.

I pressed the button at the bottom to launch the Etoys programming environment activity
You can get the screen border back by moving the mouse to the screen corner:
Pressing the single dot button in the top border or pressing F3 shows you and the activities (applications) you have running. (There's probably a doc at somewhere that shows the PC keyboard mapping but meanwhile see for the OLPC keyboard)
You are at the centre of the screen and in the circle around you are the activities open, in this case just one, Etoys. The selected activity has a drop down menu at the top of the screen that you can use to close an activity. Click on the Etoys activity in the surrounding circle to return to it.

See for more.

Have fun!

PS Bill suggests running on VirtualBox but that looks harder to me.

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Blogger plakboek said...

Well done Tony :-)

VMWare can also be used to run virtual machines. Google do this with thousands of their servers.

Regards Roland

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 1:56:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Postscript Nov 07
The Etoys version for the OLPC is now considerably different to the one at It is said to be much more user friendly.

The bootable CD hasn't been upgraded since Apr 07.

Maybe should use the VMWare option if evaluating seriously

Thursday, November 08, 2007 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Postscript 9 Nov 07
If you just want to run Squeak/Etoys the best option is to download the Squeak (6MB) and download and drag the etoys.image (28MB)onto the Squeak icon as described at

Friday, November 09, 2007 5:05:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Regarding Sugar, that is a quite old version. Linux distros are already carrying Sugar packages, so you can install Fedora 10 or Ubuntu 8.10 and then easily install Sugar.

There are also iso images based on those distros but with the last stable Sugar preinstalled, checkout:

Unfortunately, there have been legal issues that prevented distros carrying the squeak and etoys packages, but I think this is being resolved and the next releases will carry them.

You may want to ask in the sugarlabs lists about the best way to run an updated Sugar with etoys+squeak.

Thursday, December 18, 2008 8:41:00 PM  

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