Hands on with the XO Sugar OS

Haven't heard much from these guys lately. This is me, not caring, while I'm on vacation.

Haven't heard much from these guys lately. This is me, not caring, while I'm on vacation. However, is the lack of news after their vaporware announcement of the next gen XO a sign of impending doom? I'll read what you think when I get back. For now, argue amongst yourselves.

Although I still haven't been able to get my hands on an XO for a serious review, thanks to the joys of VMWare, I was able to give the Sugar OS a good test drive tonight (you can download the latest image here). It took a bit of getting used to, but within about 10 minutes, I was navigating quite naturally, using the touchpad corners to bring up the "taskbar," multitasking, etc. The entire OS is based around starting and stopping "Activities," whether browsing the Web or writing a document.

Although I can't assess performance, I can say that the interface is interesting and straightforward. I also can't assess various levels at which kids can interact with their "neighborhood" (the other XOs on the network). However, this is definitely worth turning my 5-year old loose on, so I will keep testing over the next few days. For now, though, I've assembled an image gallery showing a few highlights.

My first impression? As an experienced computer user, give me Mandriva on a Classmate any day. As a kid, this just might work very well. As the application base increases, this OS will become quite a bit more useful; it is somewhat limited now in terms of educational applications compared to offerings for other Linux distributions.

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