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Here's a sneak peak at the MIT $100 $130 OLPC project PC's graphical user interface (GUI).


The project is being handled by Fedora developers, which is a a flavor of linux usually thought of as more suitable for beginners. There's a bunch of flavors of linux, but we won't get into it here. Sugar (its project name), well, looks a whole lot like standard Fedora, but has a good number of changes from the vanilla Fedora Core 5 builds that you can download and run on your personal PC if you like.

You can't underestimate how much the design of this system flies directly in the face of the conventional wisdom in the US of how IT in a school is supposed to work. With mesh networking, there won't be a hard firewall between the school and the community, or the rest of the web. Chat isn't diabled; it is explicitly enabled. The underlying software is not locked down; it is unlocked by design. If you've been writing this project off as a simple attempt to distribute cheap hardware, prepare to have your eyes opened.

As you can see in the picture, the laptop has the grown-up version of web and chat, not a completely dumbed down one.

Trying Out the OLPC User Interface [eSchoolNews via Digg]