Upgrading Sugar on 104 XOs!

Posted on August 30, 2011 by

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Before the new academic year and the XO classes at Our Lady of Merces High School could start, we decided to check on the condition of all the XOs at the school, as well as those at Nirmala Institute of Education (kept there for use during Teacher Training courses). Some problems had been reported by the teachers at Merces and a thorough check of the hardware and software was due in any case. Also, there was the matter of upgrading Sugar on the XOs to the latest version. The teachers’ XOs had already been upgraded from 0.82 to 0.84 earlier this year, but with Sugar 0.92 now available, it was time to upgrade all the XOs en-masse.

Upgrade in progress

With 104 XOs in all, the task was easier said than done. Besides the upgrade itself, the journals on each of these XOs had to be backed up. We first brought all the XOs from the school to NIE, and from there brought batches of 30 XOs at a time home to work on. Each XO had to be fully charged, then a backup of the journal taken and checked, and then the Sugar version upgraded to 0.92. XOs with hardware problems had to be kept aside to be dealt with separately, but lo-behold – none of the XOs had any hardware failure, other than some of them giving an ‘Invalid System Date’ error on startup. The date problem was easily resolved by looking up a remedy on the OLPC wiki pages. From the school we had 4 to 5 such XOs, but all the 19-odd XOs from NIE gave the Invalid System Date problem, possibly because they hadn’t been used as often (it has been some time since we had a Teacher Training course at NIE; the last one in October last year was conducted at the school itself). The date remedy wasn’t difficult to apply since the XOs continued to boot despite the error message, and a simple command in the terminal window was all that was required.

After the upgrade, I also installed some new activities that I had bundled together – these activity relate closely to the NCERT curriculium that the school follows, and were a result of weeks of research I had done earlier in the year correlating the 4th grade Maths curriculum with relevant activities available in Sugar. Working at a steady pace, the entire Backup-Upgrade-Install process took a good 2 to 3 weeks.The XOs are now back with the school and those from NIE back at NIE, ready for use once again!

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Posted in: Sugar-OLPC