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Education Hardware

Peru Orders 260K OLPCs, Mexico to Get 50K 271

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the see-we're-not-scared dept.
eldavojohn writes "Perhaps in response to recent news that the lawsuit against the OLPC may be a scam, Peru's government has announced they want 260,000 OLPCs and a Mexican billionaire by the name of Carlos Slim has also asked for 50,000 that he wishes to distribute in Mexico. Things are looking good for the OLPC."
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Peru Orders 260K OLPCs, Mexico to Get 50K

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  • CompUSA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xzvf (924443) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:25PM (#21564455)
    Since Slim owns CompUSA, maybe he's creating new customers.
    • Re:CompUSA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:34PM (#21564571) Homepage Journal

      Since Slim owns CompUSA, maybe he's creating new customers.

      Except that the OLPC systems run Linux. What are the chances of finding someone at CompUSA who would know anything about them? Might as well take it to 7/11.

      And I don't think that the OLPC systems have much need for the $20 CompUSA printer cables [compusa.com], either*.


      *I know from having previously worked at CompUSA (#787, Minnetonka, MN) that the markup was at least 10-fold on printer cables, which far, far, exceeded the margin on the printers - or just about anything else in the store except for CD jewel cases.
      • Re:CompUSA (Score:5, Funny)

        by lymond01 (314120) on Monday December 03, 2007 @05:48PM (#21565473)
        Except that the OLPC systems run Linux. What are the chances of finding someone at CompUSA who would know anything about them? Might as well take it to 7/11.

        And if a computer tech from a major store can't figure out GUI linux, how can we expect it to make inroads into mass market?

        I have some hope...if we can incorporate texting into the command line, we may be able to hook an entire generation of kids:

        user@ubuntubox:~$ what r u
        Description: Ubuntu 6.10

        user@ubuntubox:~$ sup
        top - 14:36:37 up 39 days, 4:21, 2 users, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
        Tasks: 70 total, 2 running, 68 sleeping, 0 stopped, 0 zombie
        Cpu(s): 0.0%us, 0.0%sy, 0.0%ni,100.0%id, 0.0%wa, 0.0%hi, 0.0%si, 0.0%st

        user@ubuntubox:~$ stfu
        This server is going down for shutdown NOW!
        • by zakezuke (229119)

          user@ubuntubox:~$ what r u
          user@ubuntubox:~$ sup
          What, you don't already have such aliases setup? Hell when I was running MS-dos I had such .bat files such as "goway" for reboot.
      • by zakezuke (229119)

        *I know from having previously worked at CompUSA (#787, Minnetonka, MN) that the markup was at least 10-fold on printer cables, which far, far, exceeded the margin on the printers - or just about anything else in the store except for CD jewel cases.

        Cables have always been a high markup item. CompUSA doesn't own the monopoly on this concept.

        As for a 10-fold increase $1.99 [compusa.com] for the belkin non IEEE 1284 certified bi-directional cable would suggest that's an accurate statement. I don't know how different these two cables are, other than the text suggesting that you get twisted pairs and extra shielding.

        My experience with printer cables is limited to that $20 I bought in the 1980s, a ribbon cable with crimp on connectors, and others picked up 2nd hand in

      • by gad_zuki! (70830)
        >What are the chances of finding someone at CompUSA who would know anything about them?

        I thought the point of an open and hackable OS is so you can teach yourself some things. I doubt someone who is very clever is going to be happy working in a shit franchise for 5 dollars an hour spending his time explaining do you what "sudo" is. You should be teaching that yourself.

        >that the markup was at least 10-fold on printer cables, which far, far, exceeded the margin on the printers - or just about anything
    • Since Slim owns CompUSA, maybe he's creating new customers.


      Since Slim controls Telmex, Telcel, and America Movil, and since telecoms tend to have big IT needs, maybe he's creating new workers.

      Or, maybe, given his history of philanthropy (including offers to match donations to certain charities in Mexico dollar for dollar without limit in 2006), his interest aren't as narrowly selfish.

      • by EggyToast (858951)
        I like how the article mentions the richest man in the world as if no one has heard of him.
    • I was under the impression that he was unable to complete his CompUSA purchase due to some irregularities here and there in the way he tried to buy it.
  • by Stony Stevenson (954022) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:26PM (#21564467)
    If people had bothered to read the "OLPC Lawsuit-Bringer Has Past Fraud Conviction" (http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/12/03/0526202) article, they would have seen that it mentioned Peru's and Mexico's purchasing plans.
  • not quite a scam (Score:2, Insightful)

    by l2718 (514756)
    The lawsuit is Nigerian, but it's not so clearly a scam. It seems to be a claim that a keyboard layout (i.e. which key goes where) is a patentable design. Of course in most of the world keyboard layouts are standardized, denying us the fun of learning a new keyboard layout whenever we buy a new keyboard -- but perhaps this isn't the case there. If anything, I would suspect it to be a harassment tactic. I wonder if this Nigerian company has recently started a strategic partnership with a large American s
    • The lawsuit is Nigerian, but it's not so clearly a scam.

      It's a patent troll lawsuit. Bad enough for me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dondelelcaro (81997)

      It seems to be a claim that a keyboard layout (i.e. which key goes where) is a patentable design. Of course in most of the world keyboard layouts are standardized, denying us the fun of learning a new keyboard layout whenever we buy a new keyboard -- but perhaps this isn't the case there.

      What is even more amusing is that the keyboard layouts are not even the same!

      I mean, they do have similar characters, but this [laptop.org] is clearly not this [konyin.com].

  • Effect (Score:2, Interesting)

    It would be great if at this point we started thinking how to evaluate the laptops' impact. Surely there won't be enough for *all* children, so starting a data collection effort on the children, maybe assigning them randomly to schools or towns (otherwise, how to ration them?), and comparing results down the line could be an interesting project. Negroponte should think of funding a few data collection efforts, I think.
    • I really hope somebody does conduct a randomised trial, so we can have some proper evidence when debating this project. The UK managed to screw up the evaluation of Sure Start (a child development policy) by refusing to randomise the initial allocation, and now we'll never be able to properly evaluate the benefits. It probably falls to local governments to develop and implement these plans though, and not Negroponte, who would certainly be accused of a conflict of interest if the findings were positive.
  • Colombia (Score:3, Funny)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:31PM (#21564525)

    Peru's government has announced they want 260,000 OLCPs [CC] and a Mexican billionaire by the name of Carlos Slim has also asked for 50,000 that he wishes to distribute in Mexico.

    In other news Colombia has proposed to help the OLPC organisation respond to the increased demand by manufacturing hundreds of thousands of OLPC laptops and shipping them to the USA, thereby only letting the non-profit organisation take care of the worldwide distribution of the laptops.

    • by rbanffy (584143)
      "and a Mexican billionaire by the name of Carlos Slim"

      Who, AFAIK, currently holds the title of the richest man in the world.
  • by Hao Wu (652581)
    I thought they swore that taxpayers would never pay for OLPC? That was one of the main selling points, originally. WTF?
    • by darjen (879890)
      Just saw the OLPC founder being interviewed on the news last night. It seems he's been trying to sell them to governments all along. I'd like to see him take a principled stance against doing this, but of course that will never happen. It almost seems like he is more concerned about the success of his charity product than actually seeing them get into the hands of kids. Why else would he be so angry at Intel for producing the Classmate PC? Surely there is a large enough market for low-end, affordable laptop
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmaDaden (794446)

        Why else would he be so angry at Intel for producing the Classmate PC?

        Because his PC has all Open Source software on it. I remember when I learning about computers as a kid running Windows. There was this brick wall I just hit one day because I was not allowed to learn any more. It was a really frustrating feeling.

        Also it seems like Intel is getting in to the game because they are out to make a buck not to help. So once they are the only game in town they are likely to just have the price jump up.

        FYI:

      • Re:Wha?! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday December 03, 2007 @05:23PM (#21565211)

        Why else would he be so angry at Intel for producing the Classmate PC? Surely there is a large enough market for low-end, affordable laptops...

        He's mad about the Classmate PC because making a "low-end, affordable laptop" is most emphatically not the point. The point is to make a tool for learning, which places the emphasis on the software and the collaboration that the system (as a combination of hardware and software) allows.

        In other words, he's mad because the Classmate PC is merely an attempt to indoctrinate a new set of kids into the Intel/Microsoft closed-source and commercial hegemony, while his goal is to give the kids a tool they can modify themselves as they see fit.

    • by QuantumG (50515)
      What are you on about?

      The plan from day one has been for countries to buy the laptops to distribute to children through the school system.

      Try to keep up.

    • I'm not sure how you got that impression. The goal since the beginning was for governments to place orders for OLPCs for their countries (or for first world governments to pay on behalf of third world ones). As most governments tend to be funded by taxes, and someone or something is paying those taxes, taxpayers would obviously be funding OLPC purchases.
    • Re:Wha?! (Score:5, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:51PM (#21564791)

      I thought they swore that taxpayers would never pay for OLPC? That was one of the main selling points, originally.


      No, in fact, the whole point of the project from the outset was the main market was going to be direct, bulk sales to governments (specifically, national ministries of education) who would distribute them on a one-per-child basis in their educational systems, the reasoning being that only by selling in that manner would (1) they get big enough orders, and (2) the laptops being fully integrated into the educational system to give the most advantage to students and educators.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      How dare governments invest in education! Don't they know that's just a money pit, and it makes the "help" get all uppity.
    • You already got plenty of replies stating that you were outright wrong about this information, but what I don't understand is what the alternative is. Did you think OLPC was being sold to individual 2nd-world families and private schools? That the governments were entirely uninvolved?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:37PM (#21564615)
    Carlos Slim recently surpassed Bill Gates as the world's richest man. I found it sort of jarring that whoever wrote the summary hadn't seemed to have heard of him.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by handsomepete (561396)
      What about that would be so jarring? The fact that there are people that don't actually care about or track how much wealth other people have?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by rbanffy (584143)
        No, but this is Slashdot. When Bill Gates ceases to be the richest man in the world, I would expect /.ers to take notice.
    • Anyone who can count their assets is not the richest. The Earl of Northumberland (who owns the City of London amongst other things) is probably the richest man in the world.
      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday December 03, 2007 @05:31PM (#21565289)

        The Earl of Northumberland (who owns the City of London amongst other things) is probably the richest man in the world.


        The title "Earl of Northumberland" is, per Wikipedia at least, a subsidiary title of the Dukes of Northumberland since Hugh Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland, was created Duke of Northumberland in 1766 and his heirs to this day retain that title; the present Duke had, as of sometime in 2005, an estimated wealth on the order of 300 million GBP, which is something like two orders of magnitude less than Carlos Slim's fortune.

        (As for the City of London, I was under the impression that it had been a corporate city for many centuries, and not "owned", even the sense that a purely titular feudal holding might be said to be "owned", by anyone, save, in the sense that this is true of all land in England, the Crown.)

      • by Bertie (87778)
        I think you're thinking of the Duke of Westminster. He's stinking rich [timesonline.co.uk], for sure, but not in the same league as these boys.

        Now, your Rothschild family - they are incalculably loaded.
    • 1) I think he was being ironic/facetious/whatever.

      2) Carlos Slim *is* "just some billionaire". Slim got rich by getting the government to hand him a telecom monopoly that allowed him to hold Mexicans by the balls and thereby extract monopoly rents. Bill Gates, on the other hand, legitimately gained market dominance by offering a superior product and THEN locked people in and extraced monopoly rents.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Bill Gates, on the other hand, legitimately gained market dominance by offering a superior product and THEN locked people in and extraced monopoly rents.

        Microsoft got handed a near-monopoly on business computers by IBM. The only way you can get to call Microsoft's product "superior" is in the trivial, circular fashion, where you point at its almost complete dominance in the market as proof.

      • by Santana (103744)

        Slim got rich by getting the government to hand him a telecom monopoly that allowed him to hold Mexicans by the balls and thereby extract monopoly rents

        The telephone service was crappy when Carlos Slim took the company. It has made A LOT of improvements since then and has made A LOT for enabling Mexicans to get on the Internet. Not to mention his altruism.

        I would welcome more "monopolies" like that if it were one, but he's actually competing with new companies that obviously have a disadvantage for b

  • by dj245 (732906) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:42PM (#21564683) Homepage
    To me, a language learning software package for deployment in Mexico would be the killer app. Mexico should have a leg up on India and China when it comes to importing stuff to the United States. Mexico is much closer and the time difference isn't much if any. Mexico is getting shoved out of nearly all markets however due to their inability to compete. China is shoving them out of the goods market because of their low prices (and associated poor environmental and human practices). India is beating them on call centers because many Indians are willing to learn English and have a chance to do so- something most Mexicans can not or will not.

    Mass adoption of English as a second language could give Mexico the enormous economic boost that India has enjoyed in recent years. Can the OLPC fill this gap in Mexican education? Will Mexicans care to learn English? I doubt it. There may soon be a time when large numbers of Indians stop immigrating to the US because there are plenty of good jobs in India. It would be nice to think that Mexico could get to that point too.
    • by MBCook (132727)

      The ironic thing is that would help quite a bit with the illegal alien situation too. While there are other reasons to not like the situation, the thing I dislike the most is that I see a great many of the illegal aliens and coming in and not integrating. That's why we have Spanish on all sorts of menus and signs here in the middle of the country where there is no good reason: for people who aren't integrating. If more illegal aliens knew English, they could integrate better, get better jobs, and not stand

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        [...] the thing I dislike the most is that I see a great many of the illegal aliens and coming in and not integrating. That's why we have Spanish on all sorts of menus and signs here in the middle of the country where there is no good reason: for people who aren't integrating.

        The rates of English adoption by immigrants and their children in the USA are at all-time highs. What the hell are you talking about?

        The reason there's all that much Spanish language stuff isn't because immigrants aren't learning En

        • by MBCook (132727)

          I'm talking absolute numbers, not relative. It doesn't matter if only .5% of illegal aliens don't learn English if that make the number 20,000,000 people (I know those figures are wrong, just hyperbole to make my point).

          I realize the Spanish signs are for people who haven't learned English, almost always first generation. I'm also aware that it provides a competitive advantage for companies to do that. I'm saying I think it's wrong because it makes it easier to slide along and not integrate.

          • I'm talking absolute numbers, not relative. It doesn't matter if only .5% of illegal aliens don't learn English if that make the number 20,000,000 people (I know those figures are wrong, just hyperbole to make my point).

            What point? In any case, its relative numbers, not absolute, that matter, though relative to what other measure might be a matter of debate. But, that aside...

            I realize the Spanish signs are for people who haven't learned English, almost always first generation. I'm also aware that it prov

          • If you want to talk about absolute numbers, then you should (no offense) get some absolute numbers.
    • Of course, the same could be said for any country. Making sure 100% the population speaks english fluently should be on the agenda for any government. I think that countries that have big language are at a disadvantage here though. There is so much entertainment and decent translations of anything for the spanish language, so why should people learn english? The same is true for german, french, the various forms of chinese, for example.

      I think many african countries are in a better position in that way actu
    • Hello? They have been speaking English in India for a very long time. And installing a language tutor isn't going to instantly create a population of fluent English speakers. Extensive fluency in a population requires a that they converse in that language.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Um, a lot of these workers in India are "willing to learn English" because it's their birth tongue.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DragonWriter (970822)

        Um, a lot of these workers in India are "willing to learn English" because it's their birth tongue.


        Its like the #40 first language in India with only a pretty small number of people speaking it first. Its the most popular second language, IIRC, though, with something like a third of billion Indians fluent in it.
    • China is shoving them out of the goods market because of their low prices (and associated poor environmental and human practices). India is beating them on call centers because many Indians are willing to learn English and have a chance to do so- something most Mexicans can not or will not.

      Both India and China are cheaper-labor countries than Mexico, and insofar as they are more attractive, that's the reason for both, not just China. Mexico also has a higher per capita GDP than either, though, so I'm not re

    • You are right in saying Indians are willing to learn English. But English giving India a leg up in competitiveness is a recent phenomena. India is fragmented by language. Just about 40% of Indians have Hindi as their mother tounge. Probably 70% of Indians have some working knowledge of Hindi. But almost all the higher education, courts, government etc run purely on English. Partly the legacy of being a former British Colony. Indians have always used English for internal communication. Indian English a very
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      Mexico should have a leg up on India and China when it comes to importing stuff to the United States.

      So now we will have.....

      "Hello thank you for calling Dell tech support, This is Jesus, how can I help you?"

      That's gonna completely freak out every southerner in the bible belt.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ianare (1132971)
      According to wikipedia, Spanish has the second-highest number of native speakers (after Chinese), and the fourth largest number of total speakers. While I am certainly not arguing that knowing English isn't an asset in today's world, especially for IT and business, I'm not convinced that simply learning English will be an "enormous economic boost" to Mexico. There are plenty of opportunities just by knowing Spanish.
  • by thewils (463314) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:46PM (#21564739) Journal
    They'll find they can run a lot more programs concurrently. Don't believe all that '640k is enough for anybody' bumf.
  • Good For Peru! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GaryPatterson (852699) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:56PM (#21564861)
    I travelled briefly in Peru in 2005 and saw the crushing poverty both in and out of the cities. It's worse out of the cities, and not uncommon to see houses with no electricity and water delivered from wells.

    In Cuzco begging is rife, and the kids usually try to sell something to justify giving them money. Postcards are pretty popular. These kids are smart too, learning enough English to have a conversation and show their sense of humour. I think that giving them an opportunity to learn valuable skills can only be a good thing for them and for their country.
    • by Culture20 (968837)

      ... the kids usually try to sell something to justify giving them money.

      Makes me wonder if some unscrupulous geek traveling in Peru soon might not get the kids to sell him their XO laptops for $20US each.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by swillden (191260)

        ... the kids usually try to sell something to justify giving them money.

        Makes me wonder if some unscrupulous geek traveling in Peru soon might not get the kids to sell him their XO laptops for $20US each.

        Assuming Peru chooses to implement it, the XO laptop's anti-theft [laptop.org] protections should be pretty effective at preventing much of that. The kids can sell the laptops, sure, but they'll soon shut themselves down and lock the new owner out unless they're regularly in contact with the school's server. So the unscrupulous geeks won't get much for their $20.

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:58PM (#21564893) Homepage Journal
    Intel and Microsoft should be ashamed for their attempts to poison this fantastic project.

  • by mkirsch (736318) on Monday December 03, 2007 @05:21PM (#21565185)
    ...by the name of Carlos Slim.
    Uh, just the richest man in the world. Funny how no one ever hears people refer to Bill Gates as "An American Billionaire by the name of Bill Gates". [wikipedia.org]
    Dear eldavojohn... you must be very ignorant.
  • I was going to jump in with the inevitable, "Mexican billionaire? So about $34 American?" Then I remembered the peso's worth slightly more than the dollar now. So... uh... yay... Go him!
  • Currently this article is tagged 'tobadsosadms'. Personally, I like the snarky comments people leave in the form of tags, but this one is bad in many ways. Most important, and I hope you all thought the same thing when you saw it, it's not even intelligible English. "To bad so sad"? To what? To infinity and beyond? To be or not to be? What is the tagger talking about? Did he mean "Too"? Seriously, once you're past first grade, the difference between To and Too should be abundantly clear. For the sake of the
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      He's a fucktard and you're replying to him, making you a fucktard too.

      Meanwhile, the actual topic of this story is one of the greatest things that will be attempted this century.

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