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Hardware Technology

New President for OLPC Organization 251

haroldag writes "After Walter Bender's resignation as president of OLPC, Charles Kane enters to take his place as the new boss. Kane says 'The OLPC mission is a great endeavor, but the mission is to get the technology in the hands of as many children as possible. Whether that technology is from one operating system or another, one piece of hardware or another, or supplied or supported by one consulting company or another doesn't matter. It's about getting it into kids' hands. Anything that is contrary to that objective, and limits that objective, is against what the program stands for.'"
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New President for OLPC Organization

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  • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Friday May 02, 2008 @03:20PM (#23278506)
    The OLPC is never only about getting technology to children, at least that's not what I heard when it started. It was about building up the poorer nations with education and technology, not just "get the technology in the hands of as many children as possible."

    It was a mission to improve these nations and communities by making them competitive and independent.

    I guess Microsoft's billions can corrupt anything they want. It's now just about building markets for Windows.

  • by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Friday May 02, 2008 @03:30PM (#23278652) Homepage Journal
    Look, M$ wants to try and compete here? I say let them, they are going to have to up the hardware costs of the machine to get an XP port running, and it will inevitably be significantly less functional than what is already available for less money. I sincerely believe that a foray into M$ for the OLPC will bring to light the inherent advantages of free software. However, I certainly do feel bad for any kids out there who end up with an OLPC running XP.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 02, 2008 @03:40PM (#23278758)
    I (well technically my daughter) just got mine (hers) and I ordered Dec 24th from Canada. I waited patiently until April 8th then I got kinda of nasty with the OLPC call centre. XO arrived on the 25th and my daughter loves it. Not being in the Industry but just a computer hobiest, I've learned more about Linux in the last week that I have in 15 years by helping my daughter install apps and customize the machine. Oh, and my 3 year old has no problem with the Sugar GUI. She already knows where to find and launch all her favorite activities.

    I sure hope OLPC ends the madness with M$ and remains committed to open source. That is the main reason I supported OLPC.
  • by Gunark ( 227527 ) on Friday May 02, 2008 @04:40PM (#23279498)

    Whether that technology is from one operating system or another, one piece of hardware or another, or supplied or supported by one consulting company or another doesn't matter.
    What Mr. Kane seems to be missing is that software it not a commodity. So lightly dismissing all the nuance in this issue reveals flat out ignorance... this is the sort of thing that may lead to the OLPC's ultimately failure.

    For one, with each software platform comes a culture. Switching to Windows robs the OLPC of the much-needed innovation and freely-available talent attached to OSS. Most OSS developers just won't want to touch this thing, and with that dies much of the unrealized potential behind the OLPC -- without this, the OLPC is just another cheap, underpowered sub-notebook. It will almost certainly never move past its basic function, and as such can never become the disruptive technology it could have been.

    Think of where this could have gone... software designed to take advantage of the OLPC's mesh networking could have formed the basis for a new communication network in developing countries. Can you imagine the potential in terms of free speech, and free-market growth this alone could have had? (Free-market, in the sense that for example it could have allowed new ways to communicate about pricing and availability of local goods between villages and settlements)....
  • Short translation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Friday May 02, 2008 @04:51PM (#23279648) Journal

    Stick a fork in OLPC. It's done.

    They were hoping for 100M units this year. They've reached 0.5% of that. Turning over the entire leadership team to corporate pawns and stripping out everything that makes the platform special is not going to help.

    With its social mission dead, I don't see any positive outcome for the product. I'll agree with the other poster who said it's an overpriced under performing subnotebook without the parts (including open systems) that made it special. With the market about to be awash in Atom mini-notebooks we won't remember this one two years from now. "A cute experiment. Too bad it didn't work out."

    It's sad to see progress thrown so often under the wagon wheels of commerce.

  • Hey (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Friday May 02, 2008 @05:25PM (#23279952) Homepage
    I got my XO laptop.

    I have ported Ubuntu Hardy on it. It easily runs Firefox and []

    I am working on an easy to install version, and missing controls for screen/power/...

    I went as far as making a Ubuntu-ish green gtk and icons theme [] to match UI colors with laptop controls.

    I am going to add a way to easily switch between screens running Sugar and "mainstream" window manager.

    This is pretty much the most "mainstream" laptop configuration imaginable. For any practical use on this laptop, educational or otherwise, it is already superior to anything that would involve Windows. Heck, I am POSTING FROM IT!

    If the goal is anything other than spreading the disease that is Windows, they can just take this configuration -- and I am willing to help in improving it.
  • by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Friday May 02, 2008 @05:30PM (#23279986) Homepage
    The problem is that Nicholas Negroponte is only one person and OLPC is a small organization. When you have huge global monopolistic organizations such as Intel and Microsoft, which employ tens of thousands of people, you can afford to send out dozens or hundreds of them to run interference against OLPC at all levels over the world. Sooner or later they will wear OLPC down to nothing and thus continue their [evil] domination. If Google was worth more than a wet fart, they would get behind OLPC in one way or another.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 02, 2008 @06:00PM (#23280222)
    What percentage of people switch operating-systems, once they've been established in one?


    Whatever it is, it isn't high, and everyone knows it.

    ( the basic principle is deeper: any business that can't afford to do things right,
    "they'll fix it later",
    never does fix it later:
    they just continue pretending, & bleeding everyone-else, until they are put-down.

    ANY culture established, opposes change. )

    The problem with this is, that it puts money from poor populations into Microsoft's pocket, due to our "help", when we could have given them Help that arranged their resources into THEIR pockets/world/development.

    We are using their "education" to enforce the transfer of their future funds into Microsoft profit & dependency.

    We are using their "education" to block them from having all their own autonomy
    & swinging a pervasively-available opensource system into something truly theirs,
    instead arranging that if they want to participate in the program, then they
    EITHER participate in the education-program,
    OR they mess with FOSS, getting competent in that, eventually creating their-own software/education/help.

    Shameless, Sleazy, Greedy, & held in highest esteem by Lord Capitalism.

    The very sort of thing that caused "jesus" to assault the money-exchange in the temple.
    ( putting cash before souls/real-worth )

    The difference between Leadership & Management?
    a Manager will push us up the ladder more efficiently, but
    a Leader will make certain we're climbing the right ladder.

    Humanity DESERVES a Darwin Award, for the way we "manage" human worth, world, & our potential.

    ( & pretending there aren't any consequences for the choices we make,
    re kind of software,
    is beyond belief,
    just as is the claim that we don't modify our ecology "it's all a H.O.A.X."
    bloody drunk-drivers of our world-direction,
    such are... & should be dealt-with as-such! )
  • Re:Short translation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Friday May 02, 2008 @06:25PM (#23280412)

    Turning over the entire leadership team to corporate pawns and stripping out everything that makes the platform special is not going to help.

    The OLPC project may now have a long life ahead in its new rule, supported "charitable" corporate donations, operating basically as a notionally charitable marketing firm for certain large commercial software firms.

    So the change may help, just not help the people the OLPC project was started to help.
  • Offtopic, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Friday May 02, 2008 @09:26PM (#23281548)
    Oh, and completely offtopic, but why does my firewall detect an HTTP request followed by a portscan attack whenever I submit a post to /.?
  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Friday May 02, 2008 @11:08PM (#23281922) Homepage Journal
    When the OLPC was first announced, there was tremendous support for it..but you couldn't get one. The OLPC project basically said eat manure, you won't get one no matter what. Then, as time went on and about zero "sales", they reluctantly had the 100% markup limited run G1G1 and even then they couldn't fill their orders, people are still waiting for product. They are approaching governments asking them to commit to a million units, before they had anything to show them. Does not compute.

      Economies of scale and getting the dang things on the market would have worked.

      Devs don't want to develop when they can't even buy one! In the meantime, asus took the same basic idea, just built one and put it on the market, and selling like proverbial hotcakes. OLPC might have had a few smart people involved, but had no idea of how to actually sell anything, and now they are stuck and have to go hat in hand groveling to microsoft for some peanuts handouts. How freaking embarrassing for them.

    All those dipsquat developing world poohbahs would have been falling over themselves lining up with big orders and checkbooks if the thing had hit the generic international market and taken off like the asus, and they wouldn't have cared if it was "windows" or not then. Envy is a powerful force in this world. Look at Iphone mania, black market and gray market is just as strong as white market there. Why? Word of mouth, buzz, envy, "gottahaveit"-itis. The XO folks simply messed up trying to sell a lot of units *because they refused to sell any units* unless you bought like a buhzillion of them. Crazy! Nuts! They could have sold millions by now and any developer problems would have been self correcting then.

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