XO OS comes on 1GB flash drive
The operating system from the XO laptop has been released as a bootable flash drive image called Sugar on a Stick.
Sugar, the educational operating system developed for the XO, is based on Linux, and can be run on Apple hardware as well as PCs. It has also now been tweaked by Sugar Labs to run from a tiny 1GB memory stick.
“The Sugar on a Stick project gives children access to their Sugar on any computer in their environment with just a USB memory stick,” explains the project’s website.
“This small USB device can boot into the Sugar learning platform on different computers at home, at school, or at an after-school program, bypassing the software on the those computers. In fact, Sugar on a Stick will work even if the computer does not have a hard-drive,” it adds.
The release of the software, currently at version 0.84, is codenamed Strawberry, and comes with more than 40 applications including a word processor, journal, graphics package and several games.
The code has been created by Sugar Labs, a group that was formed when former OLPC second-in-command Walter Bender left the foundation amid controversy over its decision to begin offering Microsoft Windows on the XO.
“I didn’t leave OLPC because of the Microsoft deal – it was a symptom rather than the cause,” said Bender, speaking to the BBC.
“I left OLPC because I think the most important thing it is doing is defining a learning ecosystem,” he added.
Sugar has already established a large user base thanks to the XO, which is estimated to be in use by one million children worldwide. The software has also been bundled with the popular Linux distributions Ubuntu and Fedora.
Despite this, the next generation of the XO laptop will not use Sugar as its main interface, as the current model does. Instead it will have a more traditional Linux desktop, and Sugar will be an application that can be launched from it.