The XO-1.75 will sport a processor based on the ARM architecture unlike its predecessor that features an x86 processor from VIA. This shift necessitates software changes as the current version of OLPC's favorite Linux distribution, Fedora, is still missing an ARM port. Chris Ball, lead software engineer for OLPC, said in an e-mail statement that future OLPC machines will continue to use Fedora as their main Linux distribution.
"We need to rebuild each of the thousands of Fedora packages for Arm from their Fedora 13 versions, so that includes everything from the kernel and drivers up through all of the other packages, including Sugar,” Ball said.
The ambitious One Laptop Per Child project was started with high hopes of bringing low-cost connected laptops to children in developing countries, an idea that so far has struggled to spread the way it was originally conceived. Giving the project a big boost, the government of India plans to purchase 250,000 of OLPC's XO laptops.
The big order comes as somewhat of a surprise. OLPC had once before tried to win favor in India with a pilot program that saw 20 XO laptops distributed to students in Khairat-Dhangarwada village in the state of Maharashtra, Arstechnica reports. Despite being a success, the country's Ministry of Human Resource Development raised concerns about what adverse health effects might arise from prolonged laptop use.
This time around, the 250,000 laptops will be sent to 1,500 schools, and that might be only the tip of the iceberg. OLPC India CEO Satish Jha said he hopes to ship 3 million laptops in India this year.
One Laptop Per Child's "Give 1 Get 1" program is making a comeback, only this time the OLPC association has teamed with Amazon.com in hopes of ironing out any kinks in the ordering and distribution process. Amazon will start taking order for XO laptops on Monday, November 24 and promises to ship the devices within 30-days, at least in the U.S. Those ordering from the U.K. and elsewhere will be taken from Amazon's U.K. site and will start shipping in the first quarter of next year, or possibly later.
The Give 1 Get 1 program ran for six weeks last year, and in that time managed to sell 160,000 XO laptops. And since more people decided to donate the machine rather than keep one, over 100,000 XO laptops ended up going to school kids in countries like Haiti and Rwanda.
"The phenomenal success of last year's Give 1 Get 1 program created tremendous demand from both the public who wanted to give more and from countries that saw an opportunity to attack poverty through education," said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of OLPC, in a statement."
The Give 1 Get 1 promotion runs $400, in which one machine goes to a child in a developing country and the other to the donor who placed the order. Alternately, donors can opt to give away as many individual laptops as they want for $200 per XO.