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OLPC laptop to get multitouch

XO laptop

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 9 Jul 2010 at 09:59

One Laptop Per Child's next XO device will feature mulittouch and be based on Fedora Linux.

The new version of the low-cost laptop, the XO 1.75, will arrive next year, with an ARM processor and the option of either a conventional 8.9in LCD display or a touchscreen.

Lead software engineer Chris Bell said OLPC has been working on bringing touchscreen and multitouch to the XO software, and highlighted a port of the virtual keyboard from mobile OS Meego to the Sugar OS to show how it could look.

He added that the multitouch work will carry over to future versions of the OLPC line-up, referencing the XO 3 tablet. A prototype of the super-thin device was shown off at the end of last year, with promises it will cost less than $100 and arrive in 2012.

Sticking with Fedora

Bell also revealed that OLPC will continue to use open-source Fedora as the base for the XO operating system, despite it not being supported by new processor supplier ARM.

"This wasn't an obvious decision - ARM is not a release architecture in Fedora, and so we're committing to help out with that port," said Bell in a update on the OLPC site.

"Our reasons for choosing Fedora even though ARM work is needed were that we don't want to force our deployments to learn a new distribution and re-write any customisations they've written, we want to reuse the packaging work that's already been done in Fedora for OLPC and Sugar packages, and we want to continue our collaboration with the Fedora community who we're getting to know and work with well," he explained.

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