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Software & Hardware Technology

OLPC XO laptop enters final testing

Nearing final launch, the One Laptop Per Child laptop enters into what is anticipated to be final testing. Despite the diminutive size of the XO laptop, it packs a lot of punch and some serious consideration with regards to making sure the final product works.

I have more than a passing knowledge of how detailed and at times just painfully boring this phase of a project can be.

As an industrial designer by education, I hated this part of the project. Some people live for this kind of thing, but not me.

However, that didn’t detract from my understanding of the importance of this phase.

“The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is shipping out another set of prototype XO laptops. Designated BTest-2, this series of beta test units is primarily intended to help testers evaluate improvements to the screen and touchpad.”

And there’s a lot at stake, too. Get the product wrong here, and there’s going to be some immeasurably disappointed kids out there.

The OLPC XO laptop is a two-part project; you have the hardware and the software.

The whole purpose of the One Laptop Per Child poject is to produce a sub $100 laptop, which is still some way off, incidentally. So the XO is comprised of stock parts and software to help meet that goal.

Because of this, testing is liable to be much less intense than an out-and-out new product.

“Development on the XO’s Fedora-based software continues as well. [But] much work remains … An upgrade from Python 2.4 to 2.5 will resolve signficant performance problems. Since large portions of the XO user interface are coded with Python, the anticipated Python performance gain will probably have a significant impact on the usability of the system.”

Let’s hope that any issues that surface are only trivial…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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