Friday, January 05, 2007

Pepper software demo on OLPC at CES.

Many of you will have heard about the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project that is building a surprising amount of steam [ref. news yesterday] and impressing everyone with its frankly, awesome technology. Well here's some very interesting news direct from Pepper Computer who have just let me know that they have been working with the OLPC hardware and will be demonstrating the Pepper software running on an OLPC at CES next week. They've been kind enough to send some images and have promised a video to follow up soon. (I should get that on Friday.)


There are a lot of parallels between OLPC and Pepper. Pepper have been working for a long time on a similar approach to computing products and interfaces. Their first Pepper Pad product was aimed at teens and the current incarnation, the Pepper Pad 3, uses similar AMD Geode hardware and the same open-source (an important OLPC project aim) approach to writing the software on the same Red Hat/Linux OS. It makes a whole lot of sense for them to be demonstrating their skills in this area.

As far as I know, the currently planned GUI is 'Sugar' [ news] but there's a lot that sits between the GUI and the OS that also needs work. I'm talking about package building, security and upgrade distribution (which Pepper Computer have done a good job on if my Pepper Pad 3 is anything to go by) , bug reporting and state control through standby cycles. If the Sugar and Pepper teams got together it could mean (apart from a lot of bad Sugar/Pepper puns!) improvements for the OLPC software architecture, commercial advantages for Pepper Computer and as consumers we could even see the technology and UI feed back through Pepper hardware projects of the future.

I can't help having a little selfish thought about a new Pepper Pad 4 with that awesome OLPC screen, LinuxBIOS, a flash drive with a suite of offline capable Google app's. I've already called the Pepper Pad 3 a 'Google life companion' and with Google being a sponsor of the OLPC project, maybe the Google-OS WebPad isn't such a wild dream. Guys, if you need a brand name, 'Carrypad' has a certain ring to it don't you think?

Pepper Computer are at CES Booth: Sands 69623

Recommended OLPC reading: OLPC News.

PepperPad 3 review.


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