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Hardware Technology

OLPC Mass Production Begins 187

chris_mahan writes to tell us that mass production of the $100 laptop is finally being ramped up. "Hardware suppliers have been given the green light to ramp-up production of all of the components needed to build millions of the low-cost machines. Previously, the organization behind the scheme said that it required orders for 3m laptops to make production viable. The first machines should be ready to put into the hands of children in developing countries in October 2007. "There's still some software to write, but this is a big step for us," Walter Bender, head of software development at One Laptop per Child (OLPC), told the BBC News website."
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OLPC Mass Production Begins

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  • by Stanistani ( 808333 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:05PM (#19959851) Homepage Journal
    We'll shortly know how this massive social experiment works out. If it's even half as successful as they planned, Negroponte and folks deserve a Nobel.
  • kids in the states (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:11PM (#19959935)
    Will kids in the states also be eligible for these? Think WV, Kentucky, or any poor state in central US. Or is it limited to just 3rd world countries like Mexico, Africa, etc
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:18PM (#19960053)
    So how well does this work when someone is living in a grass hut in Africa and they do now have electricity. I guess they could eat the laptop because we all know a laptop is better then food. Also what is the benefit of this? A child has a lap top to use and learn on. My computer has never taught me anything just because it is on and running Linux or Window. It is the power to connect to the internet, download compilers and execute programs and do research online that has taught me. Will these children have the internet in there area or is this just a ti graphing calculator with a bigger keyboard and a few applications. Why not take the $100 and go to that child's town and make a change. Say you have 100 children in a town so, $10,000, take that money and help them redesign the town so crops can grow better. If someone handed me the controls to a Nuclear Reactor I would not know how to use it, much like if you hand a child a computer and the only toy they have is a bike from the 1970's.
  • by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:32PM (#19960253) Journal
    Actually in the Sunday business section of the NYT they were on about how Africa has only 4% coverage as far as the internet.

    Oddly enough - and I'm quite serious - they mentioned the countries along the northern coasts, and south africa (the country - not the general region). Not one - NOT ONE WORD - about Nigeria.

    SSSoooooo please - someone - ANYONE - tell me. HOW are these (insert 500 mindblowingly creative and vulagar epithets here - and a few involving fetuses in microwave ovens just for good measure) Nigerians getting out so much email with so little fucking connectivity?

    Cause I for one WANT TO KNOW. Why can't we just block the whole country? The whole goddamn country? Just shunt the whole IP prefix off the map? Tell the routers that it's a ping flood and dump the bozos?
  • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:38PM (#19960329)
    I look forward to exploiting this low-cost labour for click-farms.
  • Re:Blah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <[valuation] [at] []> on Monday July 23, 2007 @03:56PM (#19960651)
    I think they'll be in for a surprise when they learn that women in other parts of the world aren't mutilated via clitorectomy. So, there's your educational benefit right there.
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @04:07PM (#19960795)

    Will kids in the states also be eligible for these?

    There is no such thing as individual "eligibility" for the laptops, so the question is incoherent. Yes, the US Department of Education is as free as any other national education ministry to purchase the laptops for distribution on a one-per-child basis, though of course they aren't the principal target market and the OLPC feature set is designed around use in a very different environment than one of the most developed nations in the world.
  • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @04:08PM (#19960819) Homepage Journal

    So in a year or so... We'll shortly know how this massive social experiment works out.
    In a year or so? What exactly do you expect to happen in a year or so? The end of starvation and civil wars in Africa?

    I think a more reasonable time frame is 10 or 15 years. I remember using BBSes in the mid 90s and dreaming about an internet connection and one of those funky email addresses with an '@' symbol in it. I would never, *never*, *NEVER* in a million years predicted technologies such as Wikipedia or Bittorrent. Nobody did -- not Bill Gates, not Negroponte -- not any of the Powerful Old Men in computers. It takes a generation of new kids who can think outside the box and have the free time and audacity to try something that everyone knows could never work. Even now very few wikipedia proponents would ever say that they thought it would be as successful as it is.

    If millions of kids spend their formative years with a completely hackable, programmable, peer-networked computer, we are going to see a complete revolution of computing technology. It doesn't matter that they have brown skin, speak no English, or live in a jungle hut. They will do amazing things with programs and computers that the last generation would never think of. If there are millions of OLPCs distributed, the internet will be totally different 20 years from now.
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @04:18PM (#19960963) Homepage
    My opinion is that there is something more going on than what we see on the surface. That much money doesn't just fly around unless Human Nature is involved. Someone, somewhere, is going to be making money off of this; companies don't just operate humanitarian efforts for fun, effectively wasting valuable resources which they could be better putting to use increasing their stock value (stock holders would have a fit if it wasn't otherwise). And I highly doubt they'll be "creating a new market" with these at this price. The overall shitty nature of Africa will remain the same, because they're not fixing any of the underlying social problems which have attributed to the poverty, lack of education, and warfare. (Same goes for the free food programs.)

    Just wait: 6 months to a year after they make their way to Africa, there will be a huge scandal.

    At the very least, we'll see a lot more "Nigerian scams" popping up. For school children my ass! (Like the adults wouldn't just take them...)
  • by rcw-work ( 30090 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @05:09PM (#19961689)

    Patience. The Asus EEE is due in a few weeks. It beats the pants out of this one.

    Except for two things (for me anyway): a display readable in direct sunlight, and extended battery life (the presenter at LinuxFest Northwest earlier this year claimed he left an XO running for 24 hours once while it was displaying the camera's output on the screen).

  • Education project (Score:3, Interesting)

    by this great guy ( 922511 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @05:30PM (#19961925)

    You idiots honestly believe that some laptops and an internet connection will help them.

    Of course it will.
    Nicholas Negroponte: "It's an education project, not a laptop project."

  • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @05:47PM (#19962113) Homepage Journal
    Well, my personal prediction is that it will be 'successful', but not in the way that the OLPC planners will want it to be. The OLPC project is designed to be some kind of textbook replacement for kids in poor villages going to school. That will be moderately successful in a few areas.

    My prediction is that most of these OLPCs will be 're-purposed' by adults and young, budding geeks in small villages. It's like when cell phones came into rural Africa. Mining companies saw it was too expensive to run phone lines all throughout the jungle, so they threw up cell towers. Villagers got a hold of second-hand cell phones, and low-and-behold, they started lining up buyers to buy their crops as they were harvesting them in the field, instead of dragging them all the way to market only to have them rot in the hot sun.

    So the success won't be village school children learning from them, but the amazing new programs and communication technologies that both adults and children use *for their own purposes*, instead of doing what we think they should be doing with them.

    One of the programming languages that is coming with the OLPC is Smalltalk. That means there will be a new generation of millions 3rd world LISP-like hackers spread all throughout the world. This will be their first computer language. Not c, not BASIC, not visual basic. This, I predict, will lead to amazing new programs.
  • by NachtVorst ( 310120 ) on Monday July 23, 2007 @06:09PM (#19962401)
    It seems a large amount of these 'Nigerian' email originates right here, in the suburbs of Amsterdam, from where it's probably sent through open relays worldwide, so it's not much use blocking Nigeria. Every Nigerian Internet cafe has 'No 419!' signs all over the place anyway.

    And please don't block us either ;) . We're trying to make at least a bit less easy for them here. Arrests [] of scammers are quite common, though they are mostly caught by immigration officers and returned to Nigeria instead of being prosecuted for fraud.

    To make this less off-topic: no, OLPC won't increase the amount of 'Nigerian' email. But it could educate a whole new generation around the world, it's a daring but hopefully noble cause!

  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @04:45AM (#19966771) Journal
    If there is any one thing that will end Windows dominance amongst the teeming masses of people who don't live in developed countries and who, if they can afford it, usually run pirated versions of Microsoft software, then the OLPC is it. The machine looks like a wonderfully designed machine with some extremely practical features that make it useful in harsh environments where there is little power or infrastructure. It stands to very quickly make Windows a non consideration because the millions of pupils who use the OLPC will ask for siilar environments, and above all, the legal freedom to view and modify the source of the software they are using.

    People seem to think that all third world people are criminals who couldn't care whether the software they use is pirated or not. This is, in my experience, not the case. Most of them simply don't know. If, when the OLPC is used in classrooms, children are made aware of the fact that the software they are using is freely modifiable, then the chance of them looking for the same legal freedoms is much larger. The danger to Microsoft is that in the future, any attempt by Microsoft to buy favours in developing countries will be met by demands that their software provide source and be freely modifiable, something that Microsoft will not agree to.

    Given that any one of these countries where the OLPC is to be implemented could become a large developed country in the future, Microsoft should start worrying, and probably already has. The OLPC would even be an enormously practical machine for technicians and others in developed countries, where power saving is a premium due to enhanced energy costs.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly