Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Apr 2007 22:00 UTC, submitted by michuk
Graphics, User Interfaces "Red Hat has recently shared with the world the first ISO images of the system that is supposed to be installed on the OLPC laptops. I suddenly felt an irresistible temptation. I downloaded 291 MB ISO, burned it on a CD and started testing. Here is what I got."
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RE: Hehehe...
by shykid on Tue 10th Apr 2007 22:38 UTC in reply to "Hehehe..."
Member since:

I think the OLPC developers believe that KDE, GNOME, et al. are too complicated and hard-to-learn for its target audience, third-world children that've probably never used a computer before.

IMHO, it's well suited (and already impressive) for who it's intended for, though probably not for your average OSNews reader.

Edited 2007-04-10 22:40

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Hehehe...
by intangible on Tue 10th Apr 2007 22:54 in reply to "RE: Hehehe..."
intangible Member since:

I think people underestimate these target children...

So instead of providing them with a standardized interface, we give them a custom one with "mystery meat" navigation (no tooltips to an icon's function) and a crippled browser (no url entry field).

So what if a standardized interface is more complex, these kids are going to have these computers for months-years potentially, leaving them stuck with a dumbed down interface for the many years they want these computers to last isn't going to help much.

Oh, and what's with the GTK theme they're using (in the abiword dialog) is that sucktastic 0.1 or something? GTK is system-wide themeable, why didn't they spend the one afternoon to make a theme to tie the GTK pieces into the Sugar pieces? Hopefully they'll do that before releasing it to the world... These things may be without internet connection for months to years at a time after deployment, the initial setup should be solid.

Since I'm griping, I'll add one more: saving as Doc instead of ODF by default?! WTH? And no terminal for when the kid does advance to the point when they want to program.... And no file-browser whatsoever?!

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Hehehe...
by Moochman on Wed 11th Apr 2007 02:48 in reply to "RE[2]: Hehehe..."
Moochman Member since:

The GTK theme is likely the way it is because of the screen's special nature.

ODF would be nice but let's face it, .doc is the most compatible format with the rest of the world at this point. And Abiword's ODF support isn't really up to snuff at this point, AFAIK. Maybe (hopefully) they'll change it in future releases.

Edited 2007-04-11 02:49

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Hehehe...
by Kroc on Tue 10th Apr 2007 23:17 in reply to "RE: Hehehe..."
Kroc Member since:

I think that's the cop out answer. I started computers on a Commodore 64 and Windows 3.1. I was coding 8-bit assembly when I was 12. Children can absorb even the most complex interfaces and devices suprisingly easy. I know 7 year olds that have completed Doom.

For children to learn, you shouldn't treat them like children

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Hehehe...
by archiesteel on Wed 11th Apr 2007 01:09 in reply to "RE[2]: Hehehe..."
archiesteel Member since:

I think you guys are partially missing the point...these tools are not designed to teach them about computers, but to act as learning aids for general knowledge. The goal isn't to create a generation of underage third-world hackers, but to help their education *overall*.

I wouldn't worry about kids somehow being "warped" by using an alternate UI, either...they'll probably have an easier time learning other UIs after this one than if they had never had any contact with a computer.

Those few computer whiz kids in there will find ways to install another system on the machine (probably Linux, as I don't see MS releasing a version of Windows for it...) and go from there.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Hehehe...
by Soulbender on Wed 11th Apr 2007 04:51 in reply to "RE: Hehehe..."
Soulbender Member since:

"it's well suited (and already impressive) for who it's intended for, though probably not for your average OSNews reader."

I find this kind of thinking almost insulting to the target audience. Are kids in 3rd world countries stupider than 1st world kids and can't handle Window/OSX/GNOME/KDE? That's bullshit. Any street kid can learn to use a computer regardless of OS and I seriously doubt that it's easier with a dumbed down interface. If it really is, why not target all kids?

I guess it's a miracle we have computers at all today seeing as my generation learned computers using C64 basic, assembler and such, eh?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Hehehe...
by shykid on Wed 11th Apr 2007 07:50 in reply to "RE[2]: Hehehe..."
shykid Member since:

They are not stupider in the sense that they are less intelligent; however, they are less likely to be literate, and AFAIK, SugarUI focuses on removing text as much as possible.

Obviously, the lack of text makes it easier for someone illiterate to learn to use (and a lot of these kids may even learn to read on their OLPC, contrary to most first-world children who learn to read somewhat before using a computer or have mommy/daddy help them). Flooding a visual child with (verbal) text is difficult (not to mention discouraging) for them--it's similar to giving a technology-ignorant person with no interest in computers one without an OS or documentation and saying "Figure it out".

SugarUI's textlessness also makes translating it into other languages much easier. Translating a UI into a multitude of developing languages (and not using any terms, but kid-friendly ones) would be horrendously difficult.

I guess it's a miracle we have computers at all today seeing as my generation learned computers using C64 basic, assembler and such, eh?

It most likely took you a little while to learn BASIC and ASM, and I'm almost certain you knew how to read when you learned them. The OLPC is intended for its children to be able to "just use them" in no time.

People are missing the point of OLPC. It is not designed to be "just another computer"--it is designed to be a learning tool above all else. It's true that it will likely foster an interest in computers amongst its users, and if these children are as intelligent as their first-world counterparts (and they are, like you said), then learning another, more conventional UI will be easy to them.

Edited 2007-04-11 07:52

Reply Parent Score: 5