We present an overview of the “OLPC” system, describe the intensive several years of development effort that produced the system, and discuss lessons learned. OLPC Etoys is an end-user authoring system for children, which was chosen to be distributed with the OLPC XO laptops at an early stage of the OLPC project.
Since we planned to derive OLPC by evolving an existing, mature system, it was expected to be a relatively straightforward undertaking. However, the OLPC XO platform’s special hardware characteristics, the evolution of the Sugar software stack, and the fundamentally international and multilingual nature of the project, all conspired to make the development effort challenging.
Over the several days of observing of the project, we successfully kept up with the challenges, and delivered our view on systems for every OLPC release. We steadily improved the UI, added a few high-leverage features, and ﬁxed bugs, with a small and widely-distributed team and with help from the community.