The OLPC XO-1.5 and Fedora 11

Some good news from OLPC: we’ve decided to base the new XO-1.5 laptop’s software release on Fedora 11. Unlike previous releases, we plan to use a full Fedora desktop build, booting into Sugar but giving users the option to switch into a standard GNOME install instead. (This will mostly be useful for older kids in high school.)

I’m particularly happy about this plan because it will allow us to catch up with the awesome work present in the Sugar community’s most recent release, Sugar 0.84, as well as merging the latest Fedora work and including GNOME into the mix for the first time. The new machines will have 1GB of RAM and 4GB of flash, so we have enough room for both environments at once.

We think we’ll need to use our own kernel and initrd, but the other base packages we expect to need are present in Fedora already, including Sugar; in fact, we already have an F11+Sugar+GNOME build for the XO-1 using pure Fedora packages. That build will get better as a result of this work (although OLPC’s focus will be on getting the XO-1.5 running) and it will form the basis for the XO-1.5 build.

If you’re interested in contributing, we’d certainly love your help, and you can find us on the fedora-olpc mailing list, and freenode IRC’s #fedora-olpc channel. Our existing F11 build images for the XO-1 are here, and we’ll soon begin publishing images for the XO-1.5 too. XO-1.5 beta machines will start to be manufactured over the next few months, and will be available to contributors as part of our Contributors Program once the hardware’s up and running.

Finally, thanks are due to the volunteer Fedora packagers and testers who helped us get to the point of being able to commit to Fedora 11 for this new build, in particular: Fabian Affolter, Kushal Das, Greg DeKoenigsberg, Martin Dengler, Scott Douglass, Sebastian Dziallas, Mikus Grinbergs, Bryan Kearney, Gary C. Martin, Steven M. Parrish, and Peter Robinson. Thanks!

Fedora 11 Preview running on the XO-1


  1. Why Gnome and not the brand new Xfce 4.6? We have put a lot of work into packaging 4.6.1 and tweaking it. Also with it’s kiosk mode Xfce IMO has a real advantage over Gnome. The biggest advantage however is: It runns much smoother and faster on my XO.

  2. Hi Matt,

    Will F11 be available for the XO1.0, or does it require the updated HW of 1.1?

    The F11 preview’s already available for XO1.0, and it’ll continue to be. It works pretty well, but doesn’t leave much RAM for running other apps. (This is a good reason to consider Christoph’s Xfce work.)

    I don’t know if F11 will become the default factory build for XO1.0, though. We’re concentrating on F11 as the XO1.5 factory build for the moment.

  3. Hi Jeremy,

    What’s the plan for getting any necessary kernel work upstream so that Fedora 12 can also work out of the box without a custom kernel on the XO 1.5? 🙂

    Part of the plan is to diverge less than we did for XO-1 — for example, we intend to use ACPI on the 1.5 laptop (although backed by OFW, not BIOS) and we don’t have the custom CaFe controller in there anymore. We’ve also hired Deepak Saxena back to work on kernel stuff, and his first task was getting us up to date against Linus HEAD (done) and to submit patches for the stuff we’re still carrying (coming soon!).

  4. The one laptop per child program is something I’ve been taking keen interest in for some time already, and all I can say is that I am thrilled with the initiative.

    Education is the one thing that can empower most anybody to reach heights they would never have dreamt to be possible. Giving this to the less privileged is a way to get out of poverty and become contributing citizens of planet earth.

    Namste all,



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