Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting - but installation takes time, December 7, 2008
This review is from: Fedora 10 on SD Card for the OLPC XO Laptop
The first two reviews on this product were published before the product was publicly available. I ordered this product immediately upon release, so my review is probably the first one for the actual shipping product; and it's probably the first for a Linux-newbee. I'm giving this item 4 stars, but this is not an instant gratification product, nor is the FEDORA-based OLPC X0 an ideal alternative to a mainstream computer. I suggest the best way to look at this product is that it gives you an inexpensive way to explore Linux; and once you get the machine set up, you may have a useful little netbook as well.

As is stated in the product review, this is the most recent distribution of Fedora Linux, and this distribution for the OLPC comes on a 4-GB SD card. Since the OLPC only comes with 1 GB of flash memory, just plugging in the card expands the memory 4x. On the card 512 mb is available for swapping and storage according to the documentation, but I haven't confirmed it as a fact. Although the card takes your only SD slot, the OLPC has several USB ports that you can use for thumbdrives etc. Tip: The OLPC's SD slot is hidden under the lid. It is impossible to get to unless you twist the display clear of the base. Once you get access to the card slot, you might find that it takes several attempts to get the card seated properly. On my unit, SD cards are hard to remove, and I had to use pliers to remove the card that I installed when we first got the OLPC.)

In theory, a "live" distribution of Linux should just be "plug and play". In a perfect world, you should just be able to put your SD card in and boot to Fedora Linux. I wish it were that simple. Because of the security measures in the OLPC (necessary,I'm sure), you first have to email for a "developer key". Getting the developer key takes 24 hours. Then, I had problems cutting & pasting it into the command line to unlock the OLPC, so I had to type it in manually, and I made numerous mistakes. After that, I had problems because my software wasn't up to date.

IMPORTANT TIP - If you received your OLPC XO last year in the B1G1 program, YOU NEED TO UPDATE YOUR SUGAR SOFTWARE BEFORE INSTALLING FEDORA 10. If you do it first thing, your installation of Fedora should go a lot more smoothly. It took a long time to get the factory OLPC software updated, but after I did that, Fedora 10 did boot automatically from the SD card. Updating your factory software was the most time-consuming part of getting the machine ready for the Fedora card.

I know nothing about Linux. When Fedora came up, it did not appear to be optimized for the OLPC screen; nevertheless it appeared to be a more-mainstream alternative to OLPC's built-in Sugar desktop. Firefox worked straight away using my home wireless network, however I haven't yet got flash to work :-( I'm working on it. I think I'll get it.

Even though I have encountered a few bumps and haven't come up to full functionality yet; given the low price of the product and the computer it runs on, I'm still giving this product 4 stars. If you want a "plug it in and turn it on" product, this isn't for you (yet). If that's what you want, get a Mac.
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3.8 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)
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