Emulating OLPC on Edubuntu

Useful Links:

$ sudo apt-get install qemu

Download the latest stable image. I downloaded this image.

Extract the image.

$ bunzip2 olpc-redhat-stream-development-build-193-20061203_1727-devel_ext3.img.bz2

Use qemu to launch the OLPC environment.

$ qemu -hda olpc-redhat-stream-development-build-193-20061203_1727-devel_ext3.img

Press the “a” key when you see this screen.

OLPC Qemu 1

Press the “a” key again when you see this screen.

OLPC Qemu2

Append apm=off to the end of the line and press enter.

OLPC Qemu 3

You can also replace vga=0x311 with vga=789 for 800×600(24bit color). Here’s more info on vga.

At the login screen your keyboard and mouse might not work.

Press Alt + Ctrl + 3 to enter the terminal mode of the OLPC, login with username root and press enter for password. Then type.

$ modprobe i8042

Bring your network up by typing

$ dhclient

Press Alt + Ctrl + 1 to return to the graphical mode of the OLPC.

If your using windows then my guides on running GNU/Linux on windows might help, my old video of OLPC Fedora Core on windows Video(flash) shows a skinny version of fedora core that was used in the early days of OLPC so I’m thinking about screencasting my latest efforts but if you just watch this video you can see the results.

Learn by doing, remember the OLPC project is an education project not a laptop project. I especially enjoyed playing with the Squeak Etoys Activity.

Matthew Fulmer has been hard at work putting together an annotated list of Squeak tutorials. Check them out, its the best list. Some software developers might be interested in PataPata, it’s a pythonic version of Squeak in early phase of development.

Blender models and Star Wars

Yoda talking about proprietary software

That quote is what I think Master Yoda would say about being trained to use proprietary software at school. One of my young friends likes Blender and Star Wars, I think he is going to be really happy because the image above was created using a rigged model of Yoda. Rigged basically means the model has a skeleton so its easier to pose and do animation. Matt Hoecker released it as a dot blend file. How good is that. Star Wars fans would also like his short Planet Approach clip. I think you would also like to check out Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki.

For learning about modelling, rigging and animation here’s some really nice dot blends:

I learned so much so quickly from playing with Ludwig, its user friendly and would be pretty easy to do some cool character animation. As usual you can always check my bookmarks for the resources I’ve found useful, the other one I would recommend is BlenderArt Magazine – Your online source for 3D news and information about the Open-Source 3D Program and related open-source software

noiesmo Ubuntu/Open Source Podcast no. 1

Check out noiesmos podcast. I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts from all kinds of people, experienced public speakers, professional educators, complete newbies and everything in between. I think noiesmo did an excellent job for his first podcast. I’m guessing he would be critical of the intro where he adds an aussie hiphop spin to it but I thought that was funny in a cool way so keep it up.

Download the MP3, Download the Ogg.


Mold the Ubuntu Gnome desktop into anything you want it to be

Issue 13 of the Free Software Magazine has an article on how to tranform the stock Ubuntu desktop into whatever you like. Here’s screenshots of the Mac look and the windows look. Check out this post on Pascal Kleins Blog. lol.

Apple + knife + GNOME + boredom…

GNOME apple…equals? D

Although I messed up the first toe’s size so this foot only has three toes instead of the usual five the apple still tasted good.

Got to love GNOME. )

Screencasting in Edubuntu and windows with Libre Software

I finally looked at Cortado and got it working, a bit of a milestone, it means I dont have to bother doubling up anymore with the flv(flash video). The screencast shows and tells you all the details. Here’s the main topics.

  • Screencasting in Edubuntu and windows with Libre Software
  • Converting AVI to Ogg and flv
  • Displaying the video on a webpage using Cortado for the Ogg and an open source flv player for the flash video(flv)
Libre Screencast

Click on the image or watch Cortado playing the Ogg on my Mediawiki and/or watch the flash video. You can also download the Screencasting with Libre Software Ogg. You can also watch them on my blogger blog.
I decided to setup an account with the Internet Archive and Ourmedia.org because I simply cant afford to host all the screencasts I plan to create. If your not familiar with either of those sites then just look them up in Wikipedia. I’m a little disappointed with the Internet Archive because you can only choose a creative commons license or public domain and I prefer to use the GNU GPL or GNU FDL, Ourmedia has the GNU GPL as an option. Here’s the Ourmedia pages for the Screencast with libre software and I’ve also added the Tux Paint video. They’ve already been downloaded 31 times.

I thought about using the Wikimedia Commons because Ogg is the official file format of Wikipedia but I’m not so sure the screencasts are suitable for an Encyclopedia project. Ourmedia has a personal learning centre project and I think it would be good to contribute my work, for a grassroots media project you would think they wan’t to use Ogg multimedia container format. Maybe I could have a section something like Screencasts for learning with libre software and libre knowledge.

I would like to stream live video on the internet and display it on the web using Cortado, I’ll have to try and convince Noiesmo to look at doing that or get a webcam.

So please watch the Screencast and also watch the Tuxpaint video on mediawiki, I want to only use Ogg and Cortado but I really need some feedback about things like the sound and picture quality, do people have Java installed and I want to get a general idea of what I need to work on. The wonderful thing is with libre software comes freedom and freedom is produced by control so I can try to adjust my setup till its really nice. I think I’ve been doing pretty well, the screencast is 8 minutes 25 seconds long 504×392 and only 7Mb.

Tuxpaint the free drawing program designed for young children demonstration video

I’ve created a screencast of Tux Paint. Its a free drawing program designed for young children. This is easily my best screencast so far.

Tuxpaint Video

Please check it out. I followed this guide for how to create a screencast in Ubuntu. I think its the best so far for this sort of thing, make sure to get the capture script, it makes it as easy as selecting start a capture then select a window or whole screen and after your finished, you can chose to have your video converted to an Ogg Theora video. I also use a script that allows me to right click most video and convert them to flv, it just asks if I would like to resize it as well.

Here’s the other programs I’ve been using for video editing/screencasting.

Probably the most powerful one is Cinelerra, I think if you install Mplayer on windows you can also convert most video to flv, if someone asks I’ll probably try to check that out.

Photography and Image Manipulation

Chris Harvey
I added a random banner plugin to my blog and use a collection of panorama’s from Wikimedia Commons. You can read the list of WordPress plugins I use for my blog. You can also download the list of panorama’s below. Open the text file with your download manager or use GNU Wget

wget -ci Wikicommons_panoramas.txt -P panoramas

I recently repaired a friends digital camera and he was kind enough to say that I could use it whenever I please so hopefully my blog will be a bit more interesting. I’ve been using GNU Image Manipulation Program intelligent scissors to cut out certain parts of images, its fairly easy. I’ve also been showing some parents Tuxpaint, its an excellent program for kids, I’ll create a screencast soon, if your looking for something to do and have kids then perhaps do this as an activity, I think it would be fun.

Here’s a pic of Jim rocking our world, if you have any images that I can work with then please send them to me


Heres the list.

Communities that Value Freedom

I’ve been pretty lazy about posting to my blog regulary, I’m still not sure theres any value in sharing information whose only value to others is speculative. Maybe I just need to loosen up.

A few weeks ago I told some edu folks about the Web browsing and Web Feeds for windows Users guide and one of them pointed out that I wasn’t making it clear to people that they are free to distribute the cover image. When you read the Copyright page, I think it makes it clear. The thing was the cover image was using a Creative commons license and I wasn’t displaying the mark or any info about it. So he was right to point this out. Apart from one cover image all of the content in the guides are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License which means they are free as in freedom, I’ve been using the word libre. It ensures that once Free, it remains Free. It implies the freedom to learn from, copy, adapt and use it for any purpose, contribute new insights and share these for the common good, you can also use them to do fundraising. It doesn’t mean I lose control of my work, for example if I had the opportunity to put the Australian coat of arms on it, I would be required to use a license that prohibits commercial distribution for that copy.

The thing I dont like about CC licenses is that they don’t require your work to be distributed in a form which is transparent. I like to support the Free Software Foundation and their values so I decided to contact Joe Crawford to ask him about his thoughts on this and whether he would dual license the image. I found the image on the Wikimedia Commons while I was searching for an image of a library, originally I wanted the name of the guide to have something to do with knowledge management. I only knew Joe as artlung but he provided a link to to his flickr album so I was able to contact him.

He gave me permission to use the photo in my work under the GNU Free Documentation License. It turned out that he is a big believer in the GPL and related licenses (and CC as well, for different reasons) and he’s delighted to have me use the photo. That was wonderful news to me, after looking at more of Joes work and chatting I added this message to the guide.

“Thanks to Joe Crawford for the image. He is a web designer and developer who co-founded http://crawberts.com/ and he lives in Simi Valley, California. You can find out more about him at http://artlung.com/

Joe is cool and a really good guy. Joes a Frank Zappa fan, I’ve been listening to some of his music lately, its pretty wild, I wouldn’t mind checking out the Absolutely Free Album. Wikipedia entry for Simi Valley

I usually use Galeon Web browser and recently updated to 2.0.1, when I’m not using libre and open source software on proprietary operating systems I get the full effects of green kryptonite so I’ve also been using firefox and Live Bookmarks and I’m noticing how easy it is to check the latest news, discuss it with people who share similar interests and how much time it saves. Well perhaps I just spend the new found spare time browsing even more web feeds and meeting more people with similar interests. I hope you get time to checkout the guide and find it useful and thanks again Joe.