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OLPC Available to the Public Early 2008 192

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the but-is-it-a-tax-writeoff dept.
Zoxed writes "The BBC is reporting that the OLPC will be available to the public early next year on a buy-2-get-1 basis through eBay. With its cheap price, fully open spec. and full/open hardware support for Linux, expandability, 2W rating and LinuxBIOS booting it sounds like an embedded-Linux hackers favorite new toy."
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OLPC Available to the Public Early 2008

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  • OLPC? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @02:46PM (#17543490) Homepage
    The BBC is reporting that the OLPC will be available to the public early next year on a buy-2-get-1 basis through eBay ... it sounds like an embedded-Linux hackers favorite new toy.

    Between the Gates foundation, guys like mark cuban, the google billionaires, and this type of thing, I love how philanthropy in this millennium is poised to be dominated by nerds.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't. I'd rather philanthropy be dominated by professionals who understand how to fix the problems, or even what those problems are to begin with. OLPC is questionable here, where things like clean water and vaccines can often provide a much bigger bang for buck. Providing jars of peanut butter can do more to raise IQ than giving every child in the world a laptop. Ironically enough, this is one of the areas where Bill Gates actually has it right.

      The OLPC project is still a great idea; nobody said phi
      • Re:OLPC? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:52PM (#17544718) Homepage Journal
        OLPC is questionable here, where things like clean water and vaccines can often provide a much bigger bang for buck.

        Absolutely not. Now, giving water treatment facilities and facilities to produce vaccines, THAT is helpful. But simply giving the people the things makes them dependent on you, which is what a lot of these organizations really want. "We want to save you - and only we know how!"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Miniluv (165290)
          The reason many of the projects that tried to dominate the people to lift them out of squalor failed for exactly that reason. It just isn't possible for a company in Canada to understand the water economics of indigenous villages in South America, and you end up with policies that make drinking the water out of a bucket in the backyard illegal unless you pay them for it. The good thing though is that they did fail.

          The reason its so exciting to see philanthropy dominated by folks like Bill Gates or Mark Shut
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I disagree with your armchair psychoanalyzing. If you're a nonprofit with a small budget, you might have the money and manpower to distribute a million doses of a critical vaccine. But if you tried to spend that same budget on a truly self-sufficient vaccine producing facility, you'd be broke before you spent even a few percent of the money necessary. It requires building the factory, educating the people who run it, buying the ingredients, etc.

          Now, a water treatment facility would be a different story,
        • by kraut (2788)
          >Absolutely not. Now, giving water treatment facilities and facilities to produce vaccines,
          I don't think any aid agencies actually send tankers of water to Africa.

          Vaccines are a slightlydifferent problem; there's only a handful of companies in the world that produce them, and it really doesn't make sense to create them locally. Even most western countries import their vaccines.

          > But simply giving the people the things makes them dependent on you,
          Often a fair point; not the case with vaccines.

          > whi
      • Re:OLPC? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jabuzz (182671) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @04:04PM (#17544938) Homepage
        There are billions of people outside the indusrialised western world who have all their basic needs (shelter, water and food) satisfied that are looking to move to the next level. This is for these people. When did you last hear of starving children in Lybia for example?

        Yes if you are have more basic needs it won't help, but not everyone in Africa is starving in a mud hut.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by bdonalds (989355)
          When did you last hear of starving children in Lybia for example?

          True...actually, I have never heard of Lybia at all! :)
      • Re:OLPC? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by onion2k (203094) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @04:13PM (#17545086) Homepage
        Yet another person who doesn't get it. Let me explain for the hard of thinking:

        OLPC laptops are for children in developing and developed countries whose governments are interested in moving their education system forward. They are not, and never have been, something that a government should spend money on if there are higher priority needs such as sanitation, food, shelter or an energy network. They are targetted very specifically at countries who have a working sanitation and drinking water system, who have a viable food market, who have a working power infrastructure. Don't be thinking that the countries who are signing up to this are populated by starving Africans who have no electricity and drink from a muddy river. That is not the case. Most of the countries who have joined in are actually not in Africa, and all of them have the necessary basics in place already. Hell, one of the countries on board is the USA (well, a state in the USA, but hey..).

        The OLPC project seeks to improve the IT education of children in countries who are providing the basics but cannot (or will not) afford IT equipment. That is a problem, and it's one that is being solved in an innovative and exciting way. There really isn't any downside.

        If you feel your money will work better donated to a different cause then spend it elsewhere. You have that choice. I'm glad you're thinking of others. That's more than a lot of people manage. Personally, I'll buy a couple of these computers if it means a couple of kids in Tunisia get a chance to hack some Python. Who knows, they might be the ones who create 2020's version of Google.
        • Of course it's anybody's opinion whether giving kids laptops is "moving their education system forward". I think it's moving the system backwards, drastically, to introduce items like computers. If I had kids I wouldn't ALLOW them to work computers until they had a good grounding in more important topics. Excsssive reliance on computer technology is actually one of my pet peeves in education and a lot of other areas. And I am in a technology-related industry. Heck, if/when I become the boss of my engineeri
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dutchmang (74300)
            See this is where I disagree. There are lots of good things you could do, and one does not preclude another. Books and libraries, for example, are terrific. But giving kids access to technology makes them think in a technological way. Since technology is a key tool to raising productivity, and a technology-savvy workforce is needed to exploit (not just tolerate) the tools, putting these things into kids' hands is all goodness. Education is good no matter how you view it.

            Also, this particular tool is

          • The OLPC can be justified on simple economic grounds.

            An OLPC comes with ebook textbooks. The cost of the OLPC is at worst the same as paper textbooks. The OLPC textbooks can be updated as often as necessary instead of being obsolete castoffs, and they are in the native language instead of a foreign language. The child can carry all of them around without weight penalty.

            They also provide light from the screen if necessary, and they provide communication with the other OLPCs and with the big wide world. Pa
      • Re:OLPC? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2NO@SPAMearthshod.co.uk> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:45PM (#17546854)
        If you give people clean water and vaccines, then they become dependent on you.

        If you give people the technology to purify their own water and manufacture their own vaccines, then they are no longer dependent on you.

        Now, it's an improbably large leap from giving kids to computers to expecting them to become white-coated boffins who are going to save the world, and I would certainly expect anyone who made such a statement to back it up with a long argument. But something good is bound to happen as a result of this. Give the right creative materials to enough kids, and some of them will come up with something amazing. Bear in mind also that while we might consider it primitive by the standards we've come to expect of a computer, a lot of these kids literally won't have seen anything like it before. It's a real hands-on learning tool. The main storage is a bit on the meagre side, but it ought to hold enough reading matter to last between opportunities to download some more. It's programmable in Python, which isn't exactly the hardest language in the world; and it's got a sensor input which allows for all sorts of experiments. I'm not suggesting that it's the first easily-programmed computer with the ability to attach weird and wonderful things to it; the BBC Model B had a nice fast structured BASIC and even more versatile user I/O, but you were lucky to have one beeb per classroom.

        With this thing, there's bound to be some kid smart enough to figure out something amazingly useful to do with it and who isn't put off by the thought that this computer is a bit limited. They probably won't invent a cheap, pocket-sized device that supplies unlimited free energy, purifies raw sewage into drinkable water and turns deserts into fertile fields; at least, not straight away. But what I can see happening is clean, safe, modern factories being built to churn these things out in the numbers in which they will be needed, where they are needed, and revitalising economies by creating good jobs. And I can see small but significant improvements to things like crop yields and medical treatment in less built-up areas, thanks just to better communication and information-sharing abilities. How much food is lost because a crop starts to bolt, and nobody else finds out in enough time to get theirs safely gathered in? Or how often do people harvest needlessly early, for fear that that will happen? How many lives could be saved by early intervention, if people only knew a bit of basic first aid and could recognise the symptoms of easily-cured diseases? How much other damage is being done by superstitions clung to out of ignorance? I honestly don't know. But when you've got whole maths classes analysing local data, and readily-available newspapers and textbooks on all subjects, this sort of thing really can't not happen.

        And these kids are never going to know anything other than the Open Source way of doing things. They won't have preconceived ideas about sharing vs. stealing. That ought to put the frighteners on the Closed Source software vendors.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @02:49PM (#17543542) Homepage Journal
    Hmm- anybody know if the cutdown version will still run OpenOffice? If so, it'd make a damn good present for the retired person as well- a machine that will do e-mail, basic word processing, and web surfing, all in a handy little package that includes three USB ports and an SD slot.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Interesting idea, though it is rather Fisher-Price [laptop.org] in appearance.
      • by nuzak (959558) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:19PM (#17544076) Journal
        It's designed to look that way to cut down on black market reselling -- not all possible cases, but those where where the product was diverted from its intended purpose. Basically if a bunch of OLPC's "fall off the truck" on the way to the schools, it's easier to go looking for lime green laptops.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          But now that you can buy them, how will they track down the people who got them from the blackmarket?
          • by drinkypoo (153816)
            But now that you can buy them, how will they track down the people who got them from the blackmarket?

            I'd guess they'll recolor them.

      • by DrWho520 (655973)
        I have read in the past that the "Fisher-Price" appearance makes them easy to identify so that if a load are stolen by "bad guys," the "good guys" can tell.
        It also attaches the stigma of stealing from a child to whoever did so.
    • by massysett (910130)
      OO? Oh God no, that thing takes forever to load even on an AMD 64 X2. Hopefully Abiword and Gnumeric will work on it though. I use Vim Outliner to take notes at meetings, and a OLPC would be ideal for that.
      • That would be sufficient to suffice, I should think.

        After all, they're not looking to do presentations or calculate multi-column spreadsheets. The retired set is looking to put out Christmas letters and keep track of their investments, at worst.
      • A specialized version of AbiWord is in production right now for use on the OLPC, and we are a part of the standard test image - the writing activity.

        -- Ryan, AbiWord Dev, Win32 Maintainer, and Art Lead
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Flamefly (816285)

        Abiword is already running on it, albeit with a simplified interface. You can download the image for the OLPC OS and give it a go, it's very easy to do. http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sugar_Instructions#Insta lling [laptop.org]

        I actually find the interface a little non-intuitive for the beginning user, which I find at odds with it's goals. The documentation itself states

        Before you launch the emulated image, we strongly recommend reading through the Sugar Instructions on how to use the environment -- this does not look like the Windows or Mac operating systems!

        Essentially you start with a blank screen, to launch a program you move the mouse to edge of the screen which brings up the program bar. It seems

    • by vhogemann (797994)
      I guess you would be able to cram OpenOffice into it somehow... but the current version uses Abiword.
    • Simple machine so good for the retired? go back to your lollipop you patronising kid! Becoming 65 doesn't mean relapse into child like state.

      My dad retired a couple of years ago, signed up for a computer course (never used one before) and now he's got a digital camera and he's playing with Photoshop.

      Some folk over 65 might want a simplified device but I know a heck of a lot of retired folks who have a lot more experience than the average college kid at dealing with complex devices and fine at picking up a n
      • What I'm really looking for isn't simplicity- it's MINIMAL DOWN TIME. As in, a lack of stupid question calls and/or virus/spyware removal calls from that individual. Linux in ROM goes a hell of a long way to preventing such calls (heck, any ROM based OS does), for the simple reason that such platforms are a lot more immune to viruses and spyware (just reset to defaults and the computer is "fixed").

        With a built-in SD slot, one could argue that this system is *built* for digital snapshot type people.
        • by Fred_A (10934)
          With a built-in SD slot, one could argue that this system is *built* for digital snapshot type people.
          However with a relatively low (by current standard) resolution screen and very little mass storage (although from what I gathered you could potentially add an external USB drive), it's not the best machine to fiddle with your photos.

          OTOH, as a simple general purpose mail/Web/writing machine it should work for everybody.
      • by Alchemar (720449)
        I will admit that I know several people that used the later part of thier life to educate themselves in new technology. Most of the geeks started out young when they had the time to take things apart, figure out how they worked, and put them back together in a way not intended by the designer. It is hard to beat the learning curve for computer and electronics and work a full time job. Most of those young kids now have full time jobs, and a lot of people that had full time jobs find themselves with a lot
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ACMENEWSLLC (940904)
      This project will be surpassed by cell phones.

      My cell phone is $150 at t-Mobile with a 2 yr contract, or $200 with a 1 year. On e-bay, unlocked, it is $165.

      It runs Windows Mobile 5.0, has WIFI, uses very little power thus could be charged off cheap solar power. It has 200MHz processor at over 2GB of disk space, 64MB RAM.

      I have Opera, Skype, VNC, and other applications on it. For $20 I have added 2GB of disk space from the base 64. It has bluetooth and I can hook a bluetooth mouse/keyboard to it.

      Sure, th
      • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @04:18PM (#17545174) Homepage Journal
        I tend to agree, except for one small problem- the lack of a fullsize keyboard and screen. While this is a good platform (notice in another reply I mentioned Windows Mobile "sublaptops"), the lack of a fullsize screen is a huge detriment, especially to eyes that need at least a 12pt onscreen font for reading. Likewise the lack of a full size keyboard makes it hard to type on.

        But beyond that, you're quite correct- my T-Mobile MDA which I purchased when it was *much* more expensive ($495 with a 2-year contract) is exactly the type of platform I'd like to give to cutomers, except for the aforementioned problem of keyboard and screen (lack of USB type A host connector is also a problem, but I'm working on that one- Windows Mobile 5.0 supports USB OTG, and all that is required is a special cable with a separate power source).
        • by DaveJay (133437)
          Here's how it's going to shake out:

          The iPhone kicks off a whole series of portable computer phones, with faster speeds, more memory, and more storage. It becomes normal to use one with a bluetooth headset, because the touch screen gets covered in oil from your skin if you hold it up, and you'll probably be reading emails while talking with someone.

          At some point, docks will come into existence, just like with laptops but with a twist: they contain video cards (to drive higher-resolution screens than the phon
        • by Fred_A (10934)
          I concur.

          As soon as someone makes a laptop sized cell phone, the OLPC will be made redundant. Until then, it has its place.
    • It might run OOo [openoffice.org], I don't know. It might if it had more memory. Abi-Word [abisource.com] is the word-processor offered as standard, but what I do know is that it is much smaller [laptop.org] than a normal laptop. It has been specially designed for child-sized hands. An adult, particularly somebody who could touch-type, would find the tiny keyboad absolutely infuriating.

      The other point is that without the wireless mesh, an access-point and an internet connected server on the other end of the radio link its functionality would be serv

  • by ziggamon2.0 (796017) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @02:49PM (#17543544) Homepage
    Cause if it is the exact same, and they have now created a $200 value for the laptops, they can now easily be sold to collect the money, instead of the intended educational value...
    • by Qzukk (229616) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @02:55PM (#17543642) Journal
      Cause if it is the exact same, and they have now created a $200 value for the laptops, they can now easily be sold to collect the money, instead of the intended educational value...

      Yep. Exactly like how PBS telethons have encouraged the mugging of ladies carrying bags or men sipping coffee by setting the value of cloth bags and mugs at $120.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209)
        If PBS were the only source of coffee mugs and book bags, I guess you might have a point.

        I think your parent has a point. At some point we're going to see these on ebay, and we'll think, gee, I hope this wasn't one of the ones Pakistan bought to give some kid a future. And you just know there will be a Terrorist captured with one at some point, and it'll be a big story. Any way you look at it, there will be some retrospection on whether the laptops ended up doing what they were "supposed" to do, and so

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          But the demand would be there regardless. People want these laptops one way or the other, creating a white market way to get them will only further drive down the cost of the black market ones, if not wipe it out completely.
        • by kabocox (199019)
          At some point we're going to see these on ebay, and we'll think, gee, I hope this wasn't one of the ones Pakistan bought to give some kid a future. And you just know there will be a Terrorist captured with one at some point, and it'll be a big story.

          I'd think that a terrorist could afford a $500-700 laptop from Walmart. If this 1 laptop for $100 ever pans out though, that could be 5-7 laptops for $500-$700. 30x100=$3,000. It would be much cheaper to provide "many" of these things. I would like to not hear a
    • OLPC is being exhibited [itworld.com] at CES:
      The One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) has whittled down the cost of the green and white computer they hope to deliver to school children in developing countries to about 100(euro) (US$130) so far, and hope to reach the target price of US$100 in 2008, a project leader said Monday.
      • by Fred_A (10934)

        OLPC is being exhibited at CES:

        The One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) has whittled down the cost of the green and white computer they hope to deliver to school children in developing countries to about 100(euro) (US$130) so far, and hope to reach the target price of US$100 in 2008, a project leader said Monday.

        Uh, wait... 100 € now and they want to drop the price to $100 in 2008 ? At the current trend this means they're going to have to half the price in one year ? Is th

  • by walterwalter (777821) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @02:51PM (#17543594) Homepage
    Well this form of "donation" sounds better than the previously reported on where you did not get anything for your money. I would buy "one" of these. I wonder if there will be any form of choice as to which country gets your laptop.
    • by AoT (107216)
      I'd hope you'd have a choice of a country whose language you speak. Getting the email of a kid in China so I can not talk to him would be much less interesting for me than would being able to communicate with a kid who speaks Spanish or Arabic, languages I'd actually be able to email in.
  • I would buy one. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BlahSnarto (45250)
    This would make the perfect remote admin tool

    They should totally open the hardware to hacking
    hell even encourage it. Maybe a power Adapter hack
    incase you want to do something like coding.

    i dont know, just throwing ideas out..
    • by spiritraveller (641174) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:12PM (#17543962)
      The entire thing is already open source, all the way down to the BIOS.

      That's more open than anything you'll find in an American store.

      The hardware needs to be durable and sealed tight (to keep out dust), so I think encouraging hardware hacks may work against the goals of giving poor children a long-lasting device. But that's not to say you couldn't take a hacksaw to it and explore... no doubt, many people will do just that once it's put on the market..
  • by rhsanborn (773855) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:06PM (#17543866)
    I'm kind of disappointed that it will go into 2008. I'm looking at going to Africa with the Peace Corps in January of '08 and a computer that could run independent of a power grid or exepnsive solar setup would have been great. Regardless, I think that even at 300 dollars its a bargain for people who are in situations where power is an issue, or, poor families in the states that don't have access to these kinds of resources.
  • I do understand that there a pretty lofty thoughts & minds behind this, but I do wonder whether this is a good move?
    If the real world price of this laptop is $200 (it is what the buyer pays, regardless of the fact that one is going to 3rd world country), and it is being sold to people in 3rd world countries for $100, then wouldn't this cause _not_so_good_people_ to buy/steal from the poor people and sell it here?

    Even if they are just selling it to the poor countries (and not giving it through ebay at al
    • by radarsat1 (786772)
      If the real world price of this laptop is $200 (it is what the buyer pays, regardless of the fact that one is going to 3rd world country), and it is being sold to people in 3rd world countries for $100, then wouldn't this cause _not_so_good_people_ to buy/steal from the poor people and sell it here?


      Isn't this a risk regardless?
      • by thePig (964303)
        Yes. That is what I mentioned by the second point.
        Unless the $100 laptops flood the market, in such a way that there is no buyers at all for the $100 laptop, stealing is a big risk.
        Another factor to consider is that the people who steal wont be selling it in USA most probably.
        For example the people who steal it in Nigeria would most probably sell it in Chad or Sudan. How they are going to stop this smuggling is beyond me.
        I really do wonder whether this whole lofty idea might get washed by the flood of human
    • by vidarh (309115)
      At least part of the reason for the distinctive colour is to limit the appeal of resale by making it obvious that you're using a machine you shouldn't have in the first place. Presumably the for sale model will come in a different colour, so that people can trivially see if you're getting something taken of a kid.
  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:11PM (#17543952) Homepage
    a: Its about time. Everyone has been clamoring for this, because there are some real interesting industrial & cool uses this could be used for. Between the daylight screen and highly rugged design, this has the potential to be very interesting. I'd be tempted to pick one up for $300 to play with myself...

    b: You can stop the reselling problem (one worry is always that by selling them you'd create an adult market and therefore encourage theft) by a simple expedient: a different color case. Make purchased OLPCs black, and kid ones in cheerful old-school iMac colors, and now they are vastly different products from a retail viewpoint.
    • by SoCalChris (573049) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:27PM (#17544226) Journal

      I'd be tempted to pick one up for $300 to play with myself...
      Hey, you can play with yourself without a $300 laptop. Kids everywhere have been doing that for free, for thousands of years.
    • by Carnildo (712617)
      You can stop the reselling problem by a simple expedient: a different color case. Make purchased OLPCs black, and kid ones in cheerful old-school iMac colors, and now they are vastly different products from a retail viewpoint.


      That would wreck part of the value from my perspective: nobody in their right mind would steal a laptop in bright Playskool colors.
  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:14PM (#17543990) Homepage Journal
    Has anyone backing this project considered how these laptops will become nothing more then a symbol of America and 'Westernization'? What happens when it is taken as a political message that these are being distributed to certain regions, and groups who oppose the symbolism move to suppress it? I know this is outside the scope of the current discussion but I am genuinely interested in what has been considered, especially before I think about writing a check...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      What happens when it is taken as a political message that these are being distributed to certain regions, and groups who oppose the symbolism move to suppress it?

      It's only being distributed to people who pay for it. I don't think they're going to deny any comers, though. It's not like these things are powerful enough to be classified as munitions or anything :D

      The whole world is becoming more modern... except those parts that have been shit upon by some more powerful organization (usually a nation, b

    • by vidarh (309115)
      They are not being "distributed to certain regions". The ministries of education in countries that want them arrange to buy them at cost, and any country or suitable organization is free to buy them for distribution to children. As it stands, the list of countries lined up so far is fairly diverse both in terms of economy and political systems.
    • by delphi125 (544730)
      They will be constructed in Taiwan. Perhaps in 10 years time the Nigerian ones will be constructed in Nigeria. The OS and keyboard will be localised. This is the modern, non-religious equivalent of missionaries. Missionaries have been treated badly often enough not to be nice, but have also chosen their battles - and OLPC is at the request of the receiving country, rather than air-dropped into hostile zones.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      There a lot more things in the queue before lime green laptops for that title.
  • They replaced the hand crank with some yo-yo thing. I find that hugely annoying, even if the yo-yo thing works better. They totally trashed my dream of bringing a bright green wind up laptop to a vendor demo and annoying the hell out them cranking my obscenely bright laptop in the middle of their presentation and sending mesh text messages to my co-workers.

    I asked for a hand crank, instead I get some yo-yo thing. Humpfh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gardyloo (512791)
      I asked for a hand crank, instead I get some yo-yo thing. Humpfh.

              My god! I think you may have just read your father's mind!

      (kidding, kidding. Couldn't resist)
    • ...and I wanted it to play "Pop Goes The Weasel" when you turned the crank...
  • How are people in rural areas going to get network connections? If the OLPC is working as a wireless router then there needs to be at least one WAP somewhere in the frontier that is being picked up by a OLPC and rebroadcasted to other OLPC. Who will be providing the network infrastructure? People in these rural areas don't even have electricity. Sometimes they get it by splicing a main line and dragging a wire into their houses. Even then the electricity often goes out for several hours every day.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      The idea is that the governments behind the OLPC project will also be providing some sort of network link, and meanwhile the OLPCs are supposed to mesh network. I would give you a hard time for not just answering these questions from their page or their wiki but frankly I couldn't find it either - I've just been following the discussions here on slashdot.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      You seem to have some way of predicting exactly where these things will go to. Maybe there can be a community access point. Just like community bathrooms. And community phone stations.
    • How are people in rural areas going to get network connections?

      Quite likely they won't on an always-on basis; one of the reasons for wireless networking built-in is to be able to use several of the units in an ad hoc network in the absence of permanent infrastructure. OTOH, a private firm is donating satellite time and has developed a satellite earthstation designed for rural villages that will be sold to accompany the OLPC, which one would expect some of the national governments buying the OLPC might purch

  • by gwn (594936) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @03:49PM (#17544682)
    I provide volunteer IT support in a school and I would love to see the over priced, over engineered, fragile, feature rich, but utility poor machines we currently put in schools replaced by machines along these lines.

    Look at what the computers really get used for in our kids classrooms and you start wondering who is really benefiting from them being in there... hint, not the students, think big business.

    If I could convince a parent, teacher, principal, or school board to buy OLPC computers with the added benefit of outfitting a student, class, school, or school board in the developing world at the same time... FANTASTIC! Partners in a global community. Where do I sign up?
    • If I could convince a parent, teacher, principal, or school board to buy OLPC computers with the added benefit of outfitting a student, class, school, or school board in the developing world at the same time... FANTASTIC! Partners in a global community. Where do I sign up?

      Ask your school board and other school boards in the neighboring districts, and then show your state's[1] school regulators that there is interest. I'm not sure what the process is for a state government to apply [laptop.org] for the program.

      [1] "State" refers to a sovereign entity or political subdivision with at least a million K-12 students.

  • A Linux alternative to the Mac Mini, with just enough extra bits to run AIGLX while still on a 12V adaptor.

    I'd buy one. Hell, I'd buy ten and give them away to people.
  • Bunnies? [icarusindie.com]

    If it's fast enough for advanced software rendering in higher level languages (Bunnies is Java) then it would be very good tool for teaching programming on. I've learned a lot of math creating these sorts of programs and it's been a lot more interesting than just doing math problems. I'm sure there's hardware to do the rendering on these things but that takes a lot of the learning out of programming.

    Hopefully the OLPC will come preinstalled with programming tools or they will be readily available.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @05:40PM (#17546766)
    The BBC is reporting that the OLPC will be available to the public early next year on a buy-2-get-1 basis through eBay.


    Er, no, the BBC is not reporting that. From TFA (emphasis added):

    The backers of the One Laptop Per Child project are looking at the possibility of selling the machine to the public. One idea would be for customers to have to buy two laptops at once - with the second going to the developing world.
    .
    .
    .
    Michalis Bletsas, chief connectivity officer for the project, said eBay could be a partner to sell the laptop.
    .
    .
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    Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of the OLPC group, emphasised that the launch to the poorest parts of the world was the organisation's main task.

    Of plans to sell the machine, he said: "Many commercial schemes have been considered and proposed that may surface in 2008 or beyond, one of which is 'buy 2 and get 1'."


    So, rewriting the first sentence of the summary to be accurate: "The BBC is reporting that the OLPC might be available to the public, either next year or later, and if so that it might be on a buy-2-get-1 basis, and eBay might be involved in some way."


  • One of these puppies would make a great media pc - could stream audio and photos to it.. (maybe not video though..)

    Hope it has a headphone jack! :-)

    But I reckon it will change the marketplace in other ways - if you can buy a sub-notebook for $200 in the West, that will have to affect the market. Also, what about things like those digital photo frames..

Forty two.

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