All God’s children are going to have a touchscreen soon, it seems. The latest effort from the people who are the software part of the One Laptop Per Child project, Sugar Labs, are putting the finishing touches [!] on a Fedora-based distribution that will include tactile controls for the screen. As someone who started using computers before mice were very popular, I find this amazing, as those kids in other countries who are the lucky recipients of these laptops will never know what computing was like back in the dark ages [my son and I had a conversation just today about what it was like to have a computer without a hard drive installed. I never owned one, but I had to work on them a few times].

They will grow up thinking that tactile screen experience is something everyone has had forever, similar to the generation that has always had internet access – and how they are totally befuddled by how we could have ever lived without it.

[TechConnect]

Sugar Labs has this week revealed its software development plans for the coming months, confirming that the Sugar OS will continue to be based on the Fedora distribution and that it will be added support for touchscreen and multitouch support soon.

The ability to use touch is a requirement for the OLPC’s (One Laptop Per Child) next XO portable PC, dubbed XO 1.75, which is set to have a touchscreen and will be based on the same design as the current XO – expect it’s going to be powered by a Marvell SoC. The XO 1.75 is scheduled to debut later this year.

The nice thing about this is that Sugar OS is free, and will be solid, as it springs up from the Fedora branch of Linux. When it arrives, anyone will be able to have a touch-enabled OS, not simply those that can afford Windows 7, and the hardware to run it. (Though the latest Linux distributions are not far behind Windows in requirements, they are enough behind that a 2 GHz P4 or Athlon XP 2500 will run them just fine, and then all that would be needed is a touch-enabled LCD monitor. The rest of the system could be had very inexpensively…)

While I doubt the mouse is anywhere near retirement, and likewise, the keyboard will never completely go away, it is nice to have an alternate method of input available, as not every job is suited to only one input method.

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