Balsa for Eee PC and other netbooks


[19 August 2010] The new Balsa v0.6 works on most older netbooks, laptops and desktop computers as well as on the XO-1.0. See Latest version for details.

The next version of Balsa will work on most newer (2010) netbooks as well; but it will no longer support the OLPC XO-1.0. If interest develops in running Balsa on the next generation XO-1.5, we will look into this as well.

You can not use Balsa v0.5 SD card created for the OLPC XO in any other computer! Stay tuned for the new Balsa system which will run on many netbooks and laptop computers.

Balsa development focus has been on the XO thus far, for several reasons.

  • The XO is the lowest-power computer (other than pdas and smartphones) currently in use, uses 2-8 watts of power. This was the original goal of Balsa.
  • Program packages have not been developed yet for the XO's native OS -- Fedora Linux with the non-standard desktop manager, Sugar. Thus the XO can not currently be used with the language software programs needed for translation and literacy; Balsa-for-XO enables this.
  • Other netbooks can run the language programs with either Windows or Linux systems installed, so the need for a customized installation is not so urgent.

However, a version of Balsa is in process that will run on most computers with an SDHC slot, even if the computer is not equipped to boot natively from SD card.

Stay tuned for more...

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Balsa for Eee PC and other netbooks

Thanks for letting us now about this. Thanks to this post, i have now got Balsa v0.6 working on my old netbook. Please keep us updated with newer versions of Balsa in the future in your posts.

IS Balsa v0.5 basic verion a freeware

I am student from India, who has designed few websites like & using WYSIWYG editors.

At this point of time I am working for an school to develop their School Management Software.

Just wanted to ask that is your software a freeware & how we can use it for multiple schools ???

Best Wishes for you & your family.

HI! I am also working on two

Dear Arpan your and mine case are similar. I wanted to ask you out if this software helped you out in any manner. Kindly do share it!

RE: IS Balsa v0.5 basic verion freeware?

Yes, Balsa is freeware. It is a re-distribution of the Ubuntu Linux system (Xubuntu in the case of Version 0.6). I would not recommend using version 0.5. The latest released version is 1.6. You can read how to download and install it here

I agree with the previous

I agree with the previous commenter-- why not make this bootable off of a usb drive? this is a product I would love to use for my wildflowers for sale business, but it's a little ungainly in its present form

why not make this bootable off of a usb drive?

There's nothing particular about an SD card. If you copy the Balsa image to a USB device, It will run from that.

USB stick?

I know this isn't your first goal (or second, probably..) but is there any reason this can't boot off a USB stick? Computers around here have USB ports much more often than SDHC readers, so that would be useful for us, where a worker may not have the same computer to use, next time has an hour to work.

Kent Rasmussen

USB stick

Kent, the main reason for choosing an SD card was because there have been problems in the bush with USB sticks simply breaking off, since they stick out from the computer the way they do. The SD card is inserted inside and there is less risk of this happening. Most netbooks, and a lot of laptops these days, come with SD card slots. Technically however there is probably no reason why USB sticks can't be used if that is what you desire. We have not tried it, but I suspect if you follow the instructions for making an SD card, but use a USB stick instead, it would probably still work.

USB stick

USB sticks are now small enough that they constitute a feasible alternative to SD cards.
The Balsa config process can use a USB stick instead of an SD card.

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