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Trying out the OLPC collaboration features with
The collaboration features on the OLPC use the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) — otherwise known as Jabber — to manage presence. There's an overview of the entire collaboration stack on the OLPC wiki under Shared Sugar Activities.

Essentially, what this means is that as long as there's a properly-configured Jabber server that you can connect to, you can find other OLPC users and interact with them over the network. Tom Hoffman graciously set up just such a server at, and I've talked with a few different people there and visited a shared document.

To tell your XO to use the Jabber server, you can just open the Terminal activity and do the following:
$ sugar-control-panel -g jabber > ~/old-jabber-server
$ sugar-control-panel -s jabber
That will save your old Jabber server in the file old-jabber-server in your home directory, and tell the system to use a new one. However, the system won't automatically update itself after this change; to do that, you need to hold down the alt and ctrl keys, and press erase to restart the interface.

Once you've told your OLPC to use the Jabber server and restarted the interface, you can just press the Neighborhood button — that's the circle with a ring of several dots in it — and you'll see everybody who's using an OLPC with that server. You can create group chats, share documents, and use all of the OLPC collaboration features because all they really require is a way to locate the users you want to collaborate with. The higher-level software on the OLPC will take care of the rest.

I just figured this out 20 minutes ago, adn then found your site. Isn't it great?