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OLPC Inspires Open Source Projects 75

Don Marti writes "A loose network of developers representing many commonly used open source projects are working to develop a new generation of low-memory, efficient code. This targeted code is being designed for a system, of which only 500 prototype boards now exist: the 'Children's Machine 1' from the One Laptop Per Child project." From the article: "Gettys says measuring existing performance has to come before trying those changes. 'We've been pulling in every decent performance tool Linux has so we can optimize when and where it really matters,' he says. A key automated testing tool is Tinderbox, a build and test management tool originally developed for Mozilla, that new OLPC developer Chris Ball has installed, to build and test OLPC software. And, after Red Hat kernel developer Dave Jones gave a standing-room-only talk at the 2006 Linux Symposium titled, Why Userspace Sucks (Or, 101 Really Dumb Things Your App Shouldn't Do), his reports of suckiness, which include kernel-based measurements of wasteful behavior, are helpful, Blizzard says."
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OLPC Inspires Open Source Projects

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  • I do Hope... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ravee ( 201020 ) on Friday October 27, 2006 @03:33PM (#16613958) Homepage Journal
    I do hope that the one laptop per child project will succeed in setting benchmarks for what a laptop should be and also how the applications which run on that laptop should behave (efficiently using memory being one of them).
  • Re:27 clicks later (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Friday October 27, 2006 @03:48PM (#16614244) Homepage Journal
    It's nice to see the suggestions to actually use available tools to see what your code is actually doing and where it might be going wrong. There are many available, and some are remarkably good. Splint [], for instance, has a talent for turning up unlooked for errors, and if you're willing to add a few annotations here and there it can do even better. I'm constantly surprised such tools don't see much wider use.
  • Sugar or Poison? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Calyth ( 168525 ) on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:01PM (#16614432)
    AFAIK, the userspace app framework for OLPC is Sugar, which is Python based.
    On what is basically an embedded computing platform with 128MB RAM, ~500MB permanent storage, and a CPU that doesn't have a L2 cache (last I checked), how much of these performance tuning would actually matter if all of these userspace apps depends on a language with an interpreter that you couldn't even fit 1/10 into the 16K of L1 instruction cache?

    Don't get me wrong, me and my fellow students at the university are working on performance tuning, but as I look in to the Geode chip more and more, I believe that Sugar is poison for OLPC.
  • by SabineCretella ( 877739 ) on Friday October 27, 2006 @04:11PM (#16614588)
    Well, yes, OLPC inspires Open Content as well. We are already working on a dictionary for Children on WiktionaryZ [], the OLPC Children's Dictionary []. What you can do for us? You can contribute to the translations of the defined meanings - just ten words + definition to translate in any of the many languages of the worls. No... it's not a joke ... we need your help and if you cannot help us, please tell other people. Thank you!!!
  • by thogard ( 43403 ) on Friday October 27, 2006 @06:34PM (#16616554) Homepage
    There are quite a few open source apps that are full of code that no one ever runs at all but it rarely gets yanked out because no one is certain that the code isn't used.
    I would like to see a library that can be linked in like the profiler libraries that will record what functions get called in such a way that the data can be shared with others in a massively distributed profiling system so the data can get back to the developers so they can look at the data say "we have 3 million people using this code and not one of them ever used this feature...time to purge it"
  • Re:Boot time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @07:56AM (#16621252) Journal
    You would save ~12000 human years every year. Every year you would save ~150 lifes!

    Only if every one of these people are sitting in-front of their computers, doing NOTHING at all while it boots up...

    No looking over at the TV. No listening to music, news, etc. No thought processes of any kind... Otherwise, that time isn't really wasted, just deferred to things you would spend that much more time doing later.

    Personally, I hit the power button, and walk away, both for boot-up and shutdown, and I suspect MANY others are the same.

    Every millisecond speed increase a day of software everybody uses every day would save 12 lives!

    I agree. That's why I continue to use the GTK1 versions of most of my software... Firefox, Sylpheed, XMMS, GIMP, Abiword, GAIM, etc. In a couple cases you have to use an older version with a couple features you might miss, but the benefits are overwhelmingly worth it. Not only do most apps* start up somewhere around 4X faster and far faster/more responsive (even on my 1.2GHz AMD with 1GB RAM) but IMHO, GTK1 looks much better...

    A GTK2 page of text (eg. mail in Sylpheed) looks almost double-spaced, with copious ammounts of waste whitespace, while the GTK1 version fits much more on-screen, with exactly the same sized font. No themes affect this at all.


    * Firefox excluded, it's only about 2+X faster start-up

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10