Jump to content

OLPC XO laptop + Energia

Recommended Posts

The XOs are affordable, reasonably powerfull netbooks by 2005, designed by the One Laptop Per Child project, so far in the hands of a couple million kids.


Personally I am trying to learn and pass on the knowledge on how to "43oh" on that platform. So far more learning trhan anything else...


Many challenges, not the least the confusion about what examples availables in the 'net will work.


I will try to give Energia a closer look. So far it seems enormous for my platform of choice, the OLPC XO-1, where at most I can use 500 Mb of storage. (XO'1-5 and 1.75 have more flash memory)


Sometime ago I was able to run the Arduino IDE on an XO-1 (clearing out space from some non vital content, such as the Wikipedia copy), but eventually gave up on 'duinos, as I see the MSP430 as more "real world" and cheaper...


Anyone here tried Energia + XO?


Anyone would want to? I might be able to loan you an XO (the OS is Fedora)




Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Yama,


OLPC is an awesome project! Add to that the combination of LaunchPad @ $4.30 and Energia and you have a very low cost Electronics learning system!The Java Virtual Machine and the compiler toolchain are the largest. I can definitly help with reducing the size of the total Energia package. Low hanging fruit is to take out all the unused bits and pieces from the toolchain. Second, if the the XO already has a Java Virtual machine installed by default then we should be able to use that. If those two can be addressed then I am sure that we can end up with and Energia package of < 50MBytes.


Couple questions:


1: What is the Fedora version?

2: Where can I find a list of software installed by default on the XO?



Link to post
Share on other sites

The big hit is indeed the JVM, both in terms of overall package size and memory usage. If you can ditch the IDE and use a lightweight text editor, you will have a much smaller, much more responsive system. If you can go a step further and ditch the window system and run directly in the framebuffer, you will have an even faster, more responsive system.


It is worth noting that old laptops with specs much better than the XO are basically free these days, so unless you are targeting an existing XO userbase, it is going to be easier to simply find alternative hardware.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Robert


1) The base system is Fedora 17 - yum works mostly, and the issue about repositories being misdirected by https seems to be solved in the newer release http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Release_notes/12.1.0

I am unsure that is always the case worldwide - Uruguay has had a tradition of doing their own release, often many months behind the Sugarlabs(?) one. Because of the newer Gnome, I mostly work still in an older release, which is Fedora 14 based, and I know the mspdebug for that one does not handle the newer 2553 MSP430s - which is fine for me, since I am a junkie of testing my code in the simplest and cheapest chips, usualy 22xx family. I would say let us focus on Fedora 17, since that is the "official" thing now


2) I am too nob to be able to accurately answer this one - let me try.

The XO OS comes with two GUIs: "Sugar", and some sort of (IMHO botched) Gnome. Installing MSP430 tools is simple:

sudo yum msp430-gcc mspdebug

sets everything so far, getting dependencies - I don't quite recollect which machine was I had to bring in the msp430*2****.h libraries using a usb flash drive, might have been my desktop with Ubuntu...

will have to re-check


This has a list of Sugar "Activities", probably mostly irrelevant to the question.


In the Gnome AFAIK you cannot access them, and any software that is not a Sugar Activity will have to be run in the Gnome anyway - for example the Arduino GUI.


Now, the msp430 tools, since they are accessed by Terminal, can be used from either Sugar or Gnome. I am unsure of the behavior of something GUI non-Sugar called from Terminal within Sugar.

AFAIAC, I prefer to operate within Gnome. Sugar has a wonderfully crafted "Journal" !feature that makes it very inconvenient, for me, to handle files


Looking at the "applications" tab within Gnome, I see Archive Manager (for compressed files), Gedit, GIMP, Inkscape, Empathy, Firefox, Gnumeric, MySqueak, Etoys, Abiword, Audacity, Gnash viewer, Movie Player, Terminal.


Maybe you are looking for something in particular? Maybe GTK3?



Right now I have 267 MB free, I don't recall if I cleaned up Wikipedia and such space-hungry globs of data this time, but to be able to run Arduino IDE I needed to do that.


Thank you!!




please feel free to suggest tests to run to enable Energia.

I will prepare an XO to up-to-date version, clear space, and report back

Link to post
Share on other sites




Myself, I wish I could ditch the GUI and operate on bare metal!

I am too nob for that.



Alas, yes, what I am trying to do is to offer low-ramp entry to MCUs using the tool kids have available, and XOs is something available in some places.


Indeed older laptops are almost free - in the US. But they keep a good value elsewhere. An example: a Dell machine I was gifted (as a discard) a couple months ago would go for over $400 in Bolivia...


Over 800.000 kids in Per

Link to post
Share on other sites

1) indeed.


2) hopefully - and hopefully I can get people more knowledgeable than I to point me in the right direction


3) :- :smile: ^zillion

Oh gee... I am right now in a long process to clean out and hopefully divest myself of a lot of what I have accumulated. Part of the problem is that dumpster diving is not "scalable" or transferable to poorer countries.

In some places they actually do sell SOME dead electronics - I can get very nice stepper motors in Bolivia for abour $1 USD, two people sell those in this huge open air market in El Alto. However, even a deader than doornail printer might fetch $30 or more from a computer repair place. When visiting the Linux club in the La Paz city university, a big part of the space in the shed they are allowed to use is taken by some dinosaur, maybe a Hollerith. which they ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT TOUCH, even though it is worthless except for the great parts still in there. And maybe an environmental hazard, as the card readers used to depend on a pool of mercury...

I have visited several government offices where the stairwell landings have some dead big clunker. Them not beign able to get rid of those is an act of self preservation: imagine that they had something like the auctions for surplus we have here. Just remove a part from a machine, so it goes "dead". Then go to the auction and get it for a song, fix it, bingo!


I was told by someone that was supposedly part of the deal that a huge company that does not need be named in one of those countries systematically used their $1 million plus (original ticket price) 70's mainframes as collateral for bank loans. I other places you would have to pay somebody to haul those away! There, at least in some instance, they were "worth" a lot.


Parts, even "dead" parts, are often more expensive in some of those places than they are here - that open-air market of the example is available only for the few that know it...


So far I completed an egg-printer (with Arduino, my first project), a bounce-against-the-wall tricycle robot, and am currently into a 16-character LED display from 3 pins out, these latter using MSP430s.

And have tons of semi-done projects... :smile:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you looked at Puppy Linux? It is a small linux distribution which has been

ported to run on the XO1




I haven't used it very much (haven't tried Java, etc. with it).


But it might be another approach to getting free space to run Energia.


(You can also run it from a flash drive, so can experiment with it and have more program

space without disturbing the built-in flash.)



I also recall reading about a project some years ago where folks were using the XO

coupled with a microcontroller develpoment board (probably Arduino), running under

squeak or some such. I thought at the time it might be interesting to adapt to the

launchpad, but didn't do anything about it. Can't seem to find the item now.

(If memory serves they were using more as an expansion board for the XO, rather than

a stand-alone board. Sort of like a Bus pirate/GoodFET/etc.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...