After the BackTrack3 Live SD card for EEE, I continued the distribution exploration with the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) operating system on their brand new XO laptops and their slick and simple GUI called Sugar.
Before jumping into “did this, done that”, current advances in SD card and USB memory sticks sizes, bootable distribution and virtualization take computing to a different level.
Remember when you use to insert a MSDOS diskette into your computer to boot it? Each new operating system could be booted on the same old PC by merely changing the diskette and rebooting? Of course, there were not as many OS as now. This is where the fun begin.
Now, a child can have “his own computer” by just possessing a SD-card. All his changes to his environment will be persistent. He will be able to add programs without depending or affecting anyone. 2 Gb SD card are as cheap as 10 euros now. On such a card, you can have OLPC Sugar, Ubuntu or Debian. And guess what, these are not mutually exclusive. For proof is my experiment by Booting my EEE pc with Xubuntu running Sugar GUI borrowed from standard OLPC / XO distribution. These SD or USB storage are bootable even if they are formatted as VFAT, that means, readable on a standard Windows PC.
On top of this, Kevin’s SD card or USB key may also store a Virtual Machine application (Qemu or Virtual Box are free alternatives to VMware) which may enable him to run his own environment without rebooting daddy’s computer. Such freedom may transform PCs into a commodity where you actually boot your own environment.
Speaking of which, I did some test also running OLPC XO Fedora Core-based distribution in VMware Fusion on my MacBook and it runs nicely, without crashes or else.