Multimedia is the XO's weakest area. As shipped, it's unusable for multimedia applications.
The supplied open source Gnash Flash player doesn't play YouTube videos. After replacing it with Adobe's own Flash Player, the videos played, but were choppy to the point of being unwatchable.
If the default browser is used, there will be two video windows on each page, with the top one saying "Flash: click to play". Meanwhile, the bottom one is already playing, but you have to scroll down to see it.
Opening a MP3 file in the Journal launches the Etoys activity. Playback skips intermittently, and stops playing altogether if the focus is switched to another activity. If the XO does manage to complete playing a song, it will give an error saying the file location has changed. The XO will then crash and take a while saving, although what is being saved isn't clear. After the crash, the MP3 filename changes to 'Etoys activity' and can't be played. The file isn't really corrupted, but the USB or SD card must be removed and remounted to fix the file association and make it playable again.
This is a mess, and looks like this:
Opening an Ogg file launches the browser by default. It displays a visualisation which is clearly too much for the XO's CPU, and the sound skips. If Etoys is used to open the file, it has the same problems as it does when playing MP3s.
Eee PC FTW.
Maybe what they should do is ruggedize/childproof a low end EEE PC instead, or just rework the installed software. As much as I dislike the fact the EEE PC base 'nix is Xandros, it does work quite well.
It sounds like the bundled software on this OLPC is far from ideal.
Read the "Case Study" of Arahuay Before Opinionating
As posted by "Jansen":
I find it impressive in detailing the XO's impact, but it also highlights the importance of structural preparation and support within the country receiving the XO's. There has to be some kind of educational infrastructure and context in which to integrate the XO. These machines cannot just be "thrown" at the students in hopes something magical will happen - it does take supporting effort, and it seems Peru is making that effort, as well as providing valuable feedback to OLPC to improve the XO, which it seems to have taken seriously.
My wife teaches first grade at a North Carolina inner-city school, and had her eyes opened a bit as to what "underprivleged" means in a non-American context. She has kids on welfare with no parental interest (or often even presence) who would be considered "wealthy" by the Peruvian kids who have received XO's with a great deal of gratitude and keen interest.
I doubt a number of her students would be nearly as appreciative or motivated by an XO because they have been spoiled by ready access to technology for purely entertainment purposes even if they don't have decent housing/clothing/medical care/etc by (US "standards"). It is all a matter of context.
We have ordered an XO with the "Give One, Get One" program to see if it could be of use in her context. I can provide the Linux support, and she uses Mint Linux at home on an almost constant basis (strictly as a "Gnome end-user" ;-), so it should be "interesting".
Think outside the box, but focus on the objective here of bringing the enabling technology to those who have not had any such exposure before. The Arahuay example is very instructive in how much can be accomplished when done right. It remains to be seen how sustainable the effort is, and how well it can be replicated in other locales. It needs CONSTRUCTIVE criticism to succeed, and not just nay-saying based on pre-conceived notions.
I maintain the effort is *useless* without proper support -- training, maintenance, reposition, content creation in Portuguese -- do you trust our government to do it? Without it how is it going to reduce the digital divide?
It is just yet another waste of money from a government that likes to be seen doing things.
xjy got it right -- solving illiteracy is way more important. Ability to learn and use knowledge is a far more effective tool for citizenship than a shiny nifty probably-unsupported toy.