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Opera Running on the OLPC 193

An anonymous reader writes "The Opera developers have ported their browser to the $100 laptop. Håkon Wium Lie writes: 'Seeing Opera run on the OLPC for first time was a revelation — no browser has ever been more beautiful. The resolution of the screen is stunning (200dpi) and Opera makes the most of the embedded DejaVu fonts.' Claudio Santambrogio writes: 'Opera runs beautifully on it. The machine is not really the fastest, but Opera's performance is excellent — the browsing experience is beautifully smooth: all sites load fine and quickly, and even complex DHTML pages with heavy animations do not suffer.'"
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Opera Running on the OLPC

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  • Not too suprising... (Score:4, Informative)

    by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @11:50AM (#17300420)
    Not too suprising - the browser built into the Nokia 770 is a customized Opera, it works great...
  • by CDMA_Demo ( 841347 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @11:50AM (#17300424) Homepage
    For those who don't know, Opera has been the browser of choice for embedded platforms like Qtopia because of it speed and small footprint. I'm glad to see its full potential finally realized.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:00PM (#17300494)
    I paid 700 quid for my monitor. The entire laptop is 100 USD. How exactly is the screen "stunning", in the slightly breathless tone of the article?

    It's 200dpi. Your 700 quid monitor isn't.

  • Re:I still want one (Score:3, Informative)

    by TrisexualPuppy ( 976893 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:00PM (#17300502)
    Here's a little snippet of the availability of the OLPC []. It's looking really good for us OLPC supporters. I was in contact with one of the designers a few months ago, and he said by March '07, they would be down to about $60-$90 to produce and that they might even start wholesaling them if they could get the proper government contracts in Pakistan. It's looking very interesting from an economist's standpoint.
  • by ambrosen ( 176977 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:01PM (#17300514) Homepage
    You almost certainly don't have a 200ppi screen. My mobile phone has one, and it is indeed stunning. My laptop has a premium 127ppi screen, and that is nice, but 200ppi does look very good on a computer.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:05PM (#17300554) Homepage Journal

    How exactly is the screen "stunning", in the slightly breathless tone of the article?

    You'll be shocked when you see it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:07PM (#17300570)
    Because it is monochrome, and they are not.

    Or rather (as I understand it) it has two modes - one monochrome, reflective high DPI, and one colour, backlit and "normal".
  • by crow5599 ( 994334 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:08PM (#17300586)
    The OLPC's screen has a black and white 200dpi mode. I imagine that has something to do with the price.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:15PM (#17300648)
    As A/C - I've plenty of karma.

    Opera on the green machine

    On Friday, I received a call from Opera's accounting department. That normally means trouble. My warning lights starts flashing.

    There's a package for you waiting here. I'm looking for the invoice for customs purposes. Can I open it?

    Sure, I said, hoping to quickly return to whatever I was doing.

    There's no invoice inside. Strange. The value has been declared to be 100 dollars

    100 dollars?

    Yes. There's a machine inside the package. It's cute. Green.




    [] [] [] []--> [] -->

    As the alert reader has figured out by now, the machine inside the box was a prototype of the $100 laptop from the OLPC project []. Since then, I've kept the machine close to me, but lots of people around here have seen it. The Opera geeks gathered around it at the Friday night beer bash. Someone suggested testing to see if the machine could keep running in rough environments. For example, would the rubbery keyboard withstand beer? Better not try.

    Invariably, the machine gets attention. It attracts people more than any other unit I've seen. (Only Wii [] comes close.) People want to see it, touch it, and feel it. They want to know why the USB ports are placed where they are (on both sides of the screen), how the SD card can be inserted (the SD port is under the screen), and where the crank is. The crank, meant to generate power to run the machine, was part of an early design. It has been replaced with a foot pedal which is still under construction. However, it seems that people somehow got emotionally attached to the hand crank and want it back.

    Once the machine is turned on, a Linux boot sequence appears. Red Hat is one of the sponsors and the machine comes with a tuned version of Fedora. New boot images are published regularly, and the first thing to do was to install the latest build. All of this is documented at the project's Wiki []. The next thing to do was to find a shell. The magical key combination is Alt-Shift-F11. However, the keys don't have function numbers and finding F11 requires counting. When you get it right, a shell appears and you can start typing. Typing would have been easier if my hands were smaller. That's a feature, not a bug.

    For me, the next thing to do was to install Opera []. This is also the reason why the OLPC people are kind enough to send us an early prototype: we want to make sure the machine has a choice of good browsers. The browser is easily the most important application on the machine. In fact, a modern browser is more than an application — it could be the platform onto which OLPC applications are built, like Opera Platform [] is for mobile phones. OLPC has decided to only include open source software on the machine. I have discussed this issue at length with Nicholas [], Walter [] and Mako []. At Opera [], we think that what really counts is open standards. It's less important what runs inside the box as long as what crosses the wire is standards-compliant. They argue that, in an education project, students must be allowed to peek inside the box. That's nice, I say, but if Opera makes the difference between a usable or an unusable machine, perhaps you will reconsider?

    Getting Opera to run [] was quite simp

  • by nicomen ( 60560 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:19PM (#17300690) Homepage
    Mirror: []
  • mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by davek ( 18465 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:30PM (#17300822) Homepage Journal
    The site has a robots.txt that doesn't allow a quick mirror. I had to cut-y-paste the image links into a terminal and use wget for each one. []

    The 4 images are there, though, which is probably what most people want.
  • by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:30PM (#17300824) Homepage Journal
    The screen is small in total size, probably has a lot of dead pixels (which are tiny, so who cares?) and doesn't have good color accuracy or consistency. There was an article a while back about how the OLPC project visionary went to an LCD manufacturer and told them that the OLPC screen didn't need any of the features that make LCDs expensive to make, and did need a bunch of different features. They laughed at him, and then he told them that he wanted quantities of millions, and they were suddenly very nice.

    The number of LCDs which need to be produced to get a single LCD that works perfectly is exponential in the physical area of the screen, because defects are independant, based on the size of the crystal, and cannot be repaired. This factor means that a "stunning" tiny screen is a whole lot cheaper than a big screen of worse image quality. The OLPC computer is actually smaller than the pictures make it look, because the whole thing is uniformly child-sized.
  • Opera is everywhere (Score:3, Informative)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:32PM (#17300856) Homepage Journal
    After playing with Opera for Nintendo DS since last friday, it doesn't surprise me one bit to see Opera running on the OLPC. After all, they even have a mobile version for cellphones, so they're used to make their software work with extremely limited hardware.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:38PM (#17300932)
    The 200DPI is with sub-pixel rendering. The OLPC's LCD has a colour mode and a hi-res mono mode.

    You're right, a "point" is technically 0.35277... mm (and is the standard measurement unit in PostScript) but the definition has become altered by popular usage so that 1 point now means 1 pixel on screen.

    I usually put the line
    /mm { 360 mul 127 div } def
    near the beginning of all my PostScript documents. Then I can write things like 10 mm 10 mm moveto.

    I hope that the OLPC people stand their ground and refuse to allow a closed-source browser, however beautiful it may look, anywhere near this thing. For one thing, it's the thin end of the wedge; the world and his cat will be wanting their slaveryware on the machine. For another, it's the absolute antithesis of what the OLPC project is about; everything on the machine must be open if we're not to be encouraging dependency.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:43PM (#17301004)
    Unfortunately, Konqueror is tied into KDE. You could maybe wrap the KHTML rendering engine in an alternate skin, but that'd be a huge project. It might be less bother to persuade Opera to open up their source code.
  • by Brazilian Joe ( 514100 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @12:53PM (#17301094)
    Color mode is not 200dpi, but new development technologies allowed it to consume just 1 watt. This new tech is eventually going to be used on all LCDs, as its development was meant for both power consumption *and* production cost reduction.
    200 dpi mode is monochrome, e-ink mode for ebook mode, capable of being read comfortably even under direct sunlight. and yes, having pixels so small you can't see them without a magnifying glass DOES look nice.
  • by Tyler Eaves ( 344284 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @01:25PM (#17301436)
    Because of the amount of horsepower that would be required to drive such a display. For instance, a typical 19" 4:3 monitor at 200ppi would be a 3000x2400 display.
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @01:37PM (#17301568)
    If 200dpi is so good, how come regular LCD monitors are *not* 200 dpi, when a 100 USD *entire laptop* can have such a screen?

    Because "regular LCD monitors" don't have a special, black-and-white, high-resolution mode designed for use as an e-book reader under a wide variety of conditions with a small screen, instead being optimized for bright, vivid color use, and dealing with readability by making bigger screens.
  • Dillo (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @02:00PM (#17301972) Homepage Journal

    Dillo is philosophically a perfect match for this project. One of its goals is to bridge the "digital divide" by providing a fast, low-footprint browser that can run on cheap or old hardware.

    Unfortunately, current versions have no support for JavaScript or CSS, and character sets other than Latin1 currently require a patch. The next version will have Unicode support, due to the switch from GTK1 to FLTK2, and CSS is being worked on. But the project is bogged down due to lack of funding, and the main developers are having to spend time on other projects so they can do stuff like eat and pay rent. Jorge Arellano Cid describes it [] as a chicken-and-egg problem:

    People in the embedded market want a small featured browser, but don't want to invest in it. This is: if we develop it they'll use it, but there's not much interest in funding the development.

    From a business perspective it makes sense. Investing in Dillo to make a full featured embedable web browser of it, is a three years plan (and who knows what the Web will look like in three years). Now if they only need an embedable web browser that evolves into a full-featured one. They could start deploying it in a year.

    Unfortunately, those gaps severely limit Dillo's suitability for a large-scale "here's all you need!" project. In an ideal world, OLPC would invest some cash in Dillo so that they developers could at least finish the port to FLTK2 and basic CSS support, which would go a long way toward making it fit with the project's goals, and maybe even get started on JavaScript.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @02:19PM (#17302276) Journal
    Actually, it is not. The Konqueror-Embedded [] project has had a working browser for some time. It does require QT or QT/Embedded, but then again so does the version of Opera they were testing.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun