Further thoughts on my new XO-1 Laptop:
- It is possible to type on it, albeit not as fast as on a regular keyboard.
- It’s a real Linux installation — Redhat — on an x86-compatible processor. You can run “yum” in a root shell to install any package you want.
- The hardware/software integration needs some more work. For example, there’s a cool button that rotates the screen to any orientation, but it doesn’t re-map the arrow keys or touchpad axes, so it’s confusing to scroll through an ebook in portrait mode.
- There’s a lot of room for the platform to grow — the designers included keys on the keyboard that don’t do anything yet, in anticipation of future features.
- It is reasonably clever in remembering which WiFi networks you prefer.
- There’s no Ethernet port — if you want network access, you gotta have WiFi (or perhaps a USB network adapter).
- The bundled web browser only works with file types the XO is configured to handle. I downloaded a .tar.bz2 file but I couldn’t find where it got stashed on the filesystem.
- The “Sugar” interface is cute, and the “Journal” feature is downright innovative, but neither is complete enough to serve as a general-purpose computing platform. This isn’t necessarily bad — they were designed to be restricted to child-oriented tasks — but may limit the XO’s usefulness in other areas.
- The interface features (menus, icons, transitions) are slow. Unfortunately, I think this is due to the designers’ reliance on Python. Now, Python is a great language, and probably the best choice for an educational tool like the XO, but more optimization — perhaps from the PyPy project — is needed.