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Sahana on OLPCjo
Brain dump by jo on June 12th 2008
Couple of months earlier I had a chance to install Sahana on a OLPC. After some initial search I realise the best solution would be to create an OS image with Sahana because then the installation would be easy. There are two basic image types for olpc which are devel_ext3 for live USBs and devel_jffs2 for on-board nand flash. I choose to create the live USB image sine it was easy to work with and most importantly I did not want to mess the existing system on the olpc I got, which is a machine brought here for demonstration.

To build custom images there is a package called pilgrim which contains a bunch of tools to help you out. You can specify which repositories you want to use and which packages you want to install on the image in pilgrims configuration file. Then you run the pilgrim-autobuild command, and it will download the specified packages and build the image. The tool is capable of building both images in a single run.

The pilgrim tool is bit time consuming ( this may be because the internet connection I used was bit slow ) so I decided to remaster an existing image. I downloaded the latest stable image from olpc.download.redhat.com and mount it to a local directory. Then downloaded the necessary server packages from the fedora core 8 repository. Since the olpc is based on x86 architecture packages build for i386 architecture will probably work. Next step was to chroot to the image directory and install the packages using rpm command. Aftter that I install and configure the sahana stable version on it. Now it is possible to unmount the image and flash it to a usb drive. Then plug the usb to an olpc and boot from it.

sahana on a olpc

Sahana worked smoothly on the OLPC and the page load speed was very good too considering limited hardware resources. And the system was usable the only problem I found was the tiny key board which is bit hard to type. So it seems that Sahana can be used with an olpc to collect information in a disasters situation.