[jsword-devel] OLPC - One Laptop Per Child

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 29 14:01:03 MST 2008

Just thought you'd like to know. BibleDesktop runs just fine on an  
OLPC. (see laptop.org for more details on the OLPC)

My impressions of the OLPC? It's cute. I'm certainly not it's target  
audience. My fingers are too big for the tiny keyboard. And with the  
non-traditional layout of the keyboard, I cannot help hitting the  
wrong keys. Generally, two at a time. Also, I am too old for the tiny,  
but high resolution screen. The screen is 1280x960 pixels and works  
well in daylight with the backlight turned off. However, the screen is  
only 7.5" diagonal. That is 214dpi. That means I cannot read 10-12  
point font.

When I got the OLPC from my son (who got it as part of the G1G1  
program) it was in need of updating to get it to work with my network.  
It took a while to actually update it to the latest stable build as it  
does  not have a wired internet connection and I had to downgrade my  
home network's security to connect. Hopefully that is all sorted out.

The laptop is slow at nearly everything, about as slow as my old 486  
laptop, which runs Win98. Maybe that is not fair. It's certainly not  
empirical. Just an impression.

The OLPC is running Fedora 7 with a python based Desktop/UI called  
Sugar. The laptop has very little "disk" with about 640M free.

As such it is straightforward to install Java on it. I don't recommend  
that though. There are a couple of problems with installing Sun's  
Java. First since it is not fully open yet, it requires developer's  
skill to install it. Second, it is redistributable, but only with a  
program that uses it. Third Java takes 50M+ of disk space, which is  
nearly a tithe of the remaining space. (I'm going to play with it and  
maybe, I'll change my mind.)

So, I loaded "Portable BibleDesktop" on a USB stick. (see www.crosswire.org/bd 
  for details.) This has Java for Windows and Linux on it and can be  
used without installing Java to the machine. Also, one can copy it to  
the machine and run it locally.

Upon firing it up, I realized that there were issues. The splash  
screen was tiny! To make it usable, I went into options, clicked on  
Advanced and changed the "Applications Font" to 24 points. Then I  
clicked on Bible Display and turned on Font Smoothing and also set the  
font to 24 points. Controls such as scroll bars are not scaled,  

The other problem with BibleDesktop is that it is not integrated on  
the desktop. So to start it, one has to fire up Terminal, and then  
navigate to the shell script on the USB stick to run it. While running  
there is copious diagnostic output, never intended for casual viewing.  
What's needed is an "Activity" that will run it. If anyone has or can  
point out how to write a sample activity along with icons that would  
be great.

In His Service,

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