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Expanding the Storage Space on the OLPC XO

The OLPC XO is really a state-of-the-art computer for your children. To provide reliability for a children to carry it around, it has no hard drive. Instead, everything is installed on the 1 GB internal flash. That's not a lot of storage space. Luckily, the designers of the OLPC XO have the fore-sight to include a SDHC memory card slot. With a 4 GB SD Card in the slot, the OLPC XO becomes a far more capable machine.

With an expansion card, you can perform most of your work with the added memory card. That reduces the write cycle to the OLPC XO internal flash memory (which has limited read/write cycles), thus extending the life of your OLPC XO. The SD Card has the same read/write cycle limitation, but you can easily remove the card and replace it with new one.

Like most operating systems, the OLPC XO can read and write SD Card that is formatted to FAT or FAT32. However, you might see some undesirable side-effects, like the one stated in the "Grant User Account Ability to "sudo" on OLPC XO" thread. To really take advantage of the 4 GB of space with no limitation, you really should format it to EXT3 (Linux native format).

Formatting SD Card to EXT3

Insert the SD Card into the memory card slot. The OLPC XO should automatically mount the SD Card in /media. You might have to unmount it first before you can format it. If so, use the following unmount command:

  sudo umount "/media/[drive name]"

[drive name] is the label of the SD Card. Once you have unmounted the SD Card, you can format it to EXT3 using the following command:

  mkfs.ext3 -L "SugarDrive" "/dev/mmcblk0p1"

The -L "SugarDrive" tells the formatting utility to label the card as "SugarDrive", so that it will show up under "/media/SugarDrive". You can change the label to whatever you like. After formatting it to EXT3, you can see if it is automatically mounted to the "/media" directory. If not, remove the card and reinsert it again should auto-mount it.

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 18 Jan 2010 06:08:37 +0000

Formatting SD Card to EXT2

I found that the latest version of Sugar has a problem with booting up with EXT3 on the SD Card. The gist of it is that it prevents activities from starting up, which to me renders the OLPC XO useless. I found the best work-around is to use the EXT2 format, which does not cause this problem.

The command to format the SD Card to EXT2 is the same as EXT3 shown above. Only difference is that you should substitute "mkfs.ext3" with "mkfs.ext2".

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 09 Feb 2010 11:01:37 +0000

hey yo hice eso pero no se expandio la memoria de la XO olpc

hey I did that but did not expand the memory of the OLPC XO

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 00:02:48 +0000

"Memory" and "storage space" are two different things. Make sure you are talking about the right topic. If you want to increase memory (RAM), then this is the wrong way to do it. But if you want to increase storage space, then this is the right way.

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 01 Aug 2011 17:13:00 +0000

si yo me referia a la memoria de almacenamiento
pero no se expandio
siguio en 1 Gb

if I was referring to the storage memory
but did not expand
followed in 1 Gb

Thu, 04 Aug 2011 01:27:19 +0000

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