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We have 24 Old OLPCs in Israel, for our pilot! December 18, 2008

Posted by GuySoft in Crictor, Hamakor, ITU, olpc, open source.
Tags: , ,

Hello all big news:

B2 OLPC boxes

B2 OLPC boxes

I have in my room, 24 B2 laptops!

Dima (ITU alumnai), Netzach (head of Ilan Ramon Center) and I had a meeting with Peres Center for Peace. To our great surprise, the center had 24 B2 laptops, which were laying there for more than a year without any use (if you are yelling “but why?!” then the quick answer is that none had the technical ability to get them truly working).

So to sum up: the pilot can start! .. but wait, there is a catch.

The goal of the pilotย  the moment is not exactly what you might think.

The B2 machines are really old, Dan from OLPC, who just came back from Ethiopia, told me that they have B2 laptops in storage, where they belong. These are not modern OLPCs. And OLPC don’t support them anymore.

So our goal is not really to show that these computers are going to be the main learning tool for children, they are going to be mostly a tool for playing with code. OLPC Israel is not getting of the ground, because the main opposition says that its just a toy, not a “real computer” they say “its good for kids in Africa, but here its an insult to people that want what their friends have”. And with that, no funding could be received, no research is done, and the laptops just lay there.

Our pilot does see the laptops as educational toys for the moment. And we are going to try and show that in our environment they can aid children, giving them 24/7 access time to their machine that they can code on but not as a laptop (even if it would be shell only!).

This is the current status. I wish we could have gotten, right now new OLPCs, but with the current funding problem this is what we have. And once we have a report of how kids relate to the laptop, the adults might have the confidence to buy new OLPCs, and the snowball effect might go from there.

We need technical help

Luckily the B2 laptops can load the new operating system of OLPC, but one major problem remains – the graphics adapter won’t load (the new OLPC has a diffrent one). So what we need now is help compiling the old driver whose support has been dropped, on the new system. If you can help out, call me at 050-8580942, and I might even lend you a B2 unit to test this out. Because it is a big problem at the moment.

Hope to keep updating…

B2 OLPC boxes

B2 OLPC boxes

We have 24 Old OLPCs in Israel, for our pilot!


1. Ben - December 18, 2008

I hope you are aware of


According to this message, OLPC will replace B2 machines with MP machines for _free_, just so nobody has to worry about them, and they aren’t floating around making OLPC look bad.

You should really upgrade.

2. meital - December 19, 2008

you already have my number… ๐Ÿ˜‰

3. guysoft - December 19, 2008

I talked with SJ and it seems that policy only relates to small hardware projects with less than a dozen laptops. He says there is not much of a chance, here is the quote:
SJ Klein: The contributors program does not give out machines for classroom trials. It gives them out for hardware and software trials, for development and testing of new materials, and short-term loans or laptop pools for display, promotion, and events.

So we have no choice here but to work with what we have.

4. Wayan @ OLPC News - January 26, 2009

I love that Israel received XO laptops that were apparently destined for Libya and Palestine, per the labels. I wonder how they got past Israeli customs?

5. guysoft - January 26, 2009

Yes Wayan, I was also kinda startled about that.
However they did come from Peres center center for peace. And I know they do have contacts to Palestine.

I did ask though OLPC how on earth those stickers got there. We were all here expecting some great mystery to unravel, however it seems that OLPC just recycle the boxes (don’t ask me how, I am not sure). At least they did make a good picture…

6. OLPC Israel’s New Debian Based System for Pilot « Guysoft’s Weblog - February 7, 2009

[…] to update we have now a working prototype OS for the OLPC pilot here in Israel. As explained in my last post, we have only B2/B1 laptops that are not compatible with the current sugar version. Because of this […]

7. Nokia N810 Running OLPC’s Sugar « Guysoft’s Weblog - May 1, 2009

[…] get in to it in this post, because Netzach and I are going to write a report about it regarding a pilot we are doing with 9 Bedouin kids in the Ilan Ramon Youth Physics […]

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