OLPC fun

I received an OLPC test board on Friday and spent much of the weekend playing with it.

OLPC test board running Fedora

The test board seems to work as expected, with a couple of minor BIOS bugs. I haven’t had much luck with the OPLC Fedora build images, which I gather contain the neat UI stuff, although normal Fedora development snapshots seem to be ok. I’ve only done text mode so far (not sure if I’ll even bother trying to get Gnome running with 128K of RAM).

Some possibly helpful tips:

  • I’m using a portable Segate 60GB USB hard drive, which has a second USB cable just for power. This is useful as the OLPC board doesn’t have enough power for the drive via any of its onboard USB ports, and you need the boot drive connected directly due to a BIOS bug. So, I can connect the power-only USB cable to a powered hub and the data cable to the board.
  • For wired ethernet, I’m using an old SMC 2208 USB ethernet adapter, which uses the rtl8150 driver (it’s the very last item in the driver selection dialog during the Fedora install).
  • I also have a new D-Link DUB-E100 USB ethernet adapter, which according to online docs, should work with the usbnet driver, although I haven’t had any luck with that.

It looks like there are many interesting and novel engineering problems to be solved for this project — certainly no shortage of solid challenges for software and hardware hackers. All kinds of useful development info is being added to the OLPC Trac system.