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OLPC delivers big OS update with text-to-speech, DisplayLink and WebKit

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 2, 2012
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While most of its energy is focused on the XO-4 Touch, the One Laptop Per Child project is swinging into full gear for software, too. The project team has just posted an OS 12.1.0 update that sweetens the Sugar for at least present-day XO units. As of this latest revamp, text-to-speech is woven into the interface and vocalizes any selectable text -- a big help for students that are more comfortable speaking their language than reading it. USB video output has been given its own lift through support for more ubiquitous DisplayLink adapters. If you're looking for the majority of changes, however, they're under-the-hood tweaks to bring the OLPC architecture up to snuff. Upgrades to GTK3+ and GNOME 3.4 help, but we're primarily noticing a shift from Mozilla's web engine to WebKit for browsing: although the OLPC crew may have been forced to swap code because of Mozilla's policies on third-party apps, it's promising a much faster and more Sugar-tinged web experience as part of the switch. While they're not the same as getting an XO-3 tablet, the upgrades found at the source link are big enough that classrooms (and the occasional individual) will be glad they held on to that early XO model.

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