OLPC Australia will have a presence at linux.conf.au 2012 in Ballarat.
Sridhar Dhanapalan, OLPC Australia Engineering Manager, spoke on Thursday on the topic of Australia’s Toughest Linux Deployment.
A full write-up of the talk is online.
Here is the talk abstract:
A 300,000 seat Linux deployment is nothing to sneeze at. What if those seats were actually children’s laps? By providing a flexible learning platform, OLPC Australia aims to create a sustainable and comprehensive programme to enhance opportunities for every child in remote Australia. What’s more, we plan to achieve this by 2014.
In focusing on the most remote areas of the continent, the mission is by no means easy. These areas are typically not economically viable for a business to service, hence the need for a not-for-profit in the space. Expertise for hardware and software is virtually non-existent. Settlements are small and spread very far apart. Environmental conditions, cultures and lifestyles vary wildly. They are very different worlds from the coastal cities where the bureaucracies are based.
Even within communities, differences abound. Schools often stand in stark contrast to their surrounds. Government and business interests have also made their marks.
This talk will outline how OLPC Australia has developed a solution to suit Australian scenarios. Comparisons and contrasts will be made with other “computers in schools” programmes, OLPC deployments around the world and corporate IT projects.
For example, standard sysadmin practice typically mandates tight, centralised control over all systems and infrastructure. The OLPC Australia approach is the exact opposite. By promoting flexibility and ease of use, the programme can achieve sustainability by enabling management at the grass-roots level. The XO laptops themselves are built especially for education. They are extraordinarily rugged as well as being inexpensive. They are also totally repairable in the field, with minimal skill required. Training is conducted online, and an online community allows participants nationwide to share resources.
Key to the ongoing success of the programme is active engagement with all stakeholders, and a recognition of the total cost of ownership over a five-year life cycle.
References¶Some references used in the talk:
- The OLPC Australia programme in action — the video shown in the talk
- Robert Oakeshott MP, Australian Federal Parliament House debates, 2 November 2011
- Richard Barrie, Doomadgee State School Principal, The Australian, 14 January 2012
- our mission
- our core principles
- OLPC Australia deployments map
- OLPC deployments around the world
- OLPC Australia Training Qualifications
- Education portal
- Learner Manual
- Online store
- Online course
- Online course descriptions
- Online social network
- Policy document
We will be running a display table during Wednesday and Thursday, managed by Tony Forster. The venue is planned to be outside of the cafeteria.
Feel free to drop by, play with some XOs and ask questions!
We are looking for talented people to help us with the following:
- documentation writing — keeping our Learner Manual up-to-date
- community building and technical support
- wireless networking
- Sugar and Sugar activities development — Python and GTK+
- Fedora and ARM
- GNOME 3 and OpenGL ES
- (multi-)touch user experience
Please contact us if you are interested. Volunteers are welcome, but we may consider hiring.