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The XO Frame and Desktop

Very simplistic word processor

Web browser is Firefox
OLPC interface simple but lacks enthusiasm

More updates have been released on the OLPC XO machine which has yet to be fully deployed in any country but is still going forward. The XO machine itself is already commencing production in China, and the project is on its way to be test-deployed across several countries. Despite all the recent news about the XO however, the user interface remained at large, until now.

A video on YouTube revealed the Linux-based XO machine to have somewhat of a clean interface, although perhaps too clean. The interface is comprised of two main parts, the desktop and the "frame." The frame is the main interface mechanism for applications and system navigation, which appears around the edges of the screen. From the frame, an XO user can launch a word processor, messaging client, web browser and a host of other applications and games.

At first, navigating the system seemed to be quite user friendly, but some applications appeared to be toned down in terms of usability. The word processor for example, was very simplified and it did not appear like tables, charts, and other more advanced elements could be created. Basic text formatting and page formatting functions were available but other than that, the application seemed sparse. Despite the simplicity, the target audience for the XO may not ever require more features.

The web browser that the system uses is Firefox, and appeared to work quite fast. Most web browsing controls appeared in tact although it's unclear whether the system has much in terms of storage capacity for downloads. Other things included with the system include a number of typical games such as chess and a version of Minesweeper.

With initial first impressions, the user interface appeared simple and easy to use. Considering that the XO is targeted towards young school kids however, the interface appeared to be cold and lacked any sort of color coding. Almost everything is black and white, which makes the machine appear more like a simple terminal than an actual user friendly computer.

DailyTech previously reported that Thailand backed out of the OLPC project despite being one of the first countries that expressed interest. Representatives from Thailand mentioned to reporters that it was considering developing its own OLPC-like project. On a positive note, Brazil is now expressing interest in the XO, but the country has not yet released a confirmed order.

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One bicycle per child
By lemonadesoda on 11/24/2006 7:41:52 PM , Rating: 0
With OBPC, the kid could get to work faster, helping to make more t-shirts at rock bottom prices for western export.

RE: One bicycle per child
By ElectricMayhem on 11/25/2006 1:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
I think you need to put your tongue-in-cheek comment in [sarcasm][/sarcasm] because a lot of people here can't read between the lines . LOL. I thought your comment was funny.

Nonetheless, a very good point: that in these target nations there are other, perhaps more pressing, needs. However, we need to remember that in general these sorts of initiatives are not coordinated... so the fact that OLPC is getting press, and may indeed be successful, is good news. Because then some of the other issues (esp. welfare related) that need addressing become EVEN MORE OBVIOUS and will, in time, be solved, by other groups.

If you are a foreign tech consortium, you can't make initiatives in public infrastructure in other countries... but you can make a difference by providing the individual with access to technology (albeit limited).

I remember the UK govt used to have a One Hot Meal Per Child, and One Third Pint Milk Per Child initiatives in the school system in the 1970s. They have also just announced a One Healthy Meal of Fruit and Veg for Pregnant Mums. It's incredible that govts need to make such initiatives. But seeing as we do this kind of this in developed countries, then OLPC is a very politically interesting concept for lesser developed nations.

RE: One bicycle per child
By mindless1 on 11/25/2006 11:36:15 PM , Rating: 2
While your comment does seem sarcastic, providing an environmentally clean means of transportation to any child that needs one is not such a bad idea, as well as giving them exercise. Let's hope they don't all end up in sweatshops, but IF the family is so hard up that everyone has to work, well it's better than starving.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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