One (FreeBSD?) Laptop Per Child

Ian Smith smithi at
Tue Nov 13 20:15:52 PST 2007

On Tue, 13 Nov 2007 09:15:42 -0500 Bart Silverstrim <bsilver at> wrote:
 > Have you read the articles on OLPC?
 > They're made to run on very low power.  They have batteries that can be 
 > crank-charged quickly, or run off small solar panels.  Somehow I don't 
 > think they're short on sunlight there.  The site states 
 > that it operates up to 2,000 recharge cycles and can be charged by 
 > crank, pedal, pullcord, or solar panel.
 > It's not like they're shipping off-the-shelf laptops to them.  While 
 > there are plenty of problems for these kids, the OLPC project is a way 
 > to try to help with education and interaction.  The units work with a 
 > type of automatic mesh network.  As I understand it, if one gets access 
 > to the Internet, they all can route to it, but even if not they connect 
 > to each other for social and collaborative applications.

Indeed.  Putting aside any ignorance or bigotry regarding whether or not
other than rich countries' kids should have access to computers and IT,
surely the on-topic issue is "Can we run FreeBSD on the OLPC laptop?"

>From what I've been able to quickly discover about the machine's specs:
it should be emininently suitable as a FreeBSD small/embedded project?

Standard issue runs Linux 2.6.22 FC7 on 'Open Firmware', though now of
course M$ want to put winders on it, saying, in effect, "If it's open,
it should also be open to closed-source software" (ahem :)  Just how
Linux-dependent the other software components are I don't know, but it
mostly looks like stuff that should run fine on FreeBSD to me.  I guess
the rather unique video display arrangements may pose a real challenge,
though it's not like it should need any real reverse-engineering.

The mesh networking is of particular interest, to me anyway.  Seems
they've been playing with OLSR and BATMAN and haven't really firmed this
aspect up yet, from my hour or so of googling; it's still early days .. 

So, does anyone know if anyone's looked into porting FreeBSD to OLPC?

Cheers, Ian

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