The controversial One Laptop Per Child project, which aims to provide children in the developing world with access to $100 laptops, has fallen out with Intel. Although machines shipping now - to Libya, Brazil, Argentina and Thailand - are based on AMD chips, the OLPC was in talks to base a future version of the laptop on Intel …
But what has happened to the price when expressed in euros, say?
1 USD = 0.679875 EUR today. They used to be roughly equal, not that long ago.
Was Intel ever aiming to do any real work for OLPC? Or was it a sneaky way to find out what AMD were up to on the project. And to cause enough confusion for a few months that it could finally knock the project into the sidelines so it can sell it's over overpriced kit?
OLPC - lets try and help the poor.
Intel - there must be a profit we can make from it... just got to kill the opposition first.
Capitalism can be nasty at times....
Patronising and insulting
What is negroponte moaning about? Why shouldn't people be allowed some choice. OLPC is a completely unrealistic proposition anyway - subsidising a capital cost is one thing but ongoing support is simply not going to be there so six months in these things are going to be converting to bricks. OLPC is a bunch of grandstanders looking for something kid-friendly to put on their CVs. Didn't the CEO of OLPC recently move on? Playing "stay one step ahead of the responsibility" no doubt.
Improving education in poorer countries needs teachers - not access to the growing amount of crap on the web.
Skull and crossbones because OLPC are typical of the imperialist patronising self-agrandisers who poison everything they touch.
You should have seen Microsoft
You should have seen Microsoft's reaction to the OLPC project. Initially, they were very excited, because they spotted an opportunity to push Windows. Of course, the project leaders very sensibly told them where they could stick their closed-source software. Teaching someone to fish is not a noble cause when it's done solely in order to sell them your expensive, proprietary bait. Now Microsoft are openly hostile to the OLPC project (they probably are behind the current Nigerian scam).
Anyway, even AMD aren't safe. Much of the OLPC software is -- by intention -- interpreted (in Python) and all the rest comes with Source Code, so it's all much less tightly bound to a particular machine architecture than Windows is. And there might be a very good reason *not* to stick with x86. In a few years' time, when the time will be about ready to begin building clean, modern factories in developing countries to manufacture the second-generation OLPC machines with consequential benefits for the local economy, the patents covering the first-generation ARM chip are due to expire.
You read that right: Royalty-free RISC. The various extensions that have been added to ARM over the years will still be encumbered, but they can all be worked around.
At the current dollar/pound rate it is a sub-£100 laptop though.
Wish we could get them...
Who exactly makes these laptops? How do they keep the prices so low? Is there a charity element? is it extremely low powered/old tech? Or just made in a sweat shop and hushed up (I know, I'm a synic) Even with a FOSS OS the only laptop that I know that comes close to this price in the 1st world is the EEEPC, which is £120, which is $400 give or take...
How do laptops help the poor?
Seriously, anyone thinking that selling luxury items to the underprivileged is a good idea needs to wake up.
The countries this is aimed at have basic education problems. Providing laptops to children who get less than barely adequate schooling is, IMO, a complete waste of time (If a child cant read or write, what do they do with the machine?).
Countries spending the millions necessary to buy enough machines to actually get any (I understand the minimum order of OLPC machines runs to the 100s of thousands) are probably taking that money out of their near non-existant education budget. How many teachers will no longer be employed because of this?
Ignoring the technical issues, this plan (whilst very catchy and popular) appears to be far from a humanitarian project and simply a way to divert funds better spent elsewhere.
I don't see why Intel is so peeved
Were they expecting the OLPC design to be shelved and AMD sidelined just because they offered their token involvement in a project they're actively competing against?
It's bizarre. I'm not even sure why they're so worried about OLPC or trying to sabotage the effort. We've already seen from the Asus Eee PC (which uses Intel chips) that there is room enough for both AMD and Intel in an expanding market that likely wouldn't exist without the OLPC there to kickstart it.
And besides, who knows a few years down the road the OLPC might be using Intel chips in whatever Mk II device appears to replace the first generation. Or at least they might have done if Intel wasn't constantly trying to stab them in the back.
@ a load of [people
"Why waste money on this when they are short of teachers"
Well done, you've answered your own questions. Most villages may have one or two teachers , if they are lucky. The idea is to put them into schools so that they can gain access to litrature, otherwise denied them, how many schools would have a full blown libary, each costing a several thousand pounds, specialist science teachers, access to the information on the web?
We take education for granted in the western world. You don't know the difference between an electron and a proton, just look it up, in a book or on the web. Or maybe, even more importantly, how to repair a water pump, fix a solar panel, see if rainfall is predicted, best ways to raise a crop, learn to speak another language, find the truth about aids etc etc....
Or maybe, just maybe, they want to moan and complain on the web, like so many of us....
you will see that even literacy is not essential for using a computer.
"which is £120, which is $400 give or take..."
So are you proposing that there can be education without teachers? Well I guess the teachers' unions across the globe must be terrified to learn that they can be replaced by a computer.
A computer can give you facts but it can't tell you what to do with them.
.02 cents - these kids are starving. Fix that first.
Toys, say bye-bye to the pram.
"In May 2007, Negroponte said the chip giant should be ashamed of itself for selling its Classmate machine for less than it cost to make in order to undermine OLPC's XO machine."
Er, hullo, I thought the whole idea was to benefit third world children, not massage Nick's ego. If Intel are persuaded that such subsidies create more in goodwill (in the West) than they cost, that's fine by me.
Guess you've never heard of distance learning, or self study?
One teacher, many places.....
The OLPC machine is not intended for children without food and water.
The OLPC machine is intended to help kids who already have access to food and water get educated. Then maybe, in future, there's a chance that the chronic mismanagement of resources which led to some people not having access to food and water in the first place can be fixed.
All of those claiming that the OLPC project is imperial dreck, useless, misguided, etc. I am reminded of the British lord who argued against the public railroads because they would simply allow the masses to "move about the country needlessly". (I'm paraphrasing)
This OLPC is given by ...
Rather than get bad press by fostering their own products why not give the kids a load of OLPCs.
Microsoft and Intel could be big winners in future.
I'm sure the kids do not care what CPU is inside the thing but they will remember those who gave it to them.
All kids are not straving
".02 cents - these kids are starving. Fix that first."
The countries (and the kids in them) that are targetted by OLPC are not straving rather they are economically disadvantaged or developing. Remember OLPC are actually selling these machines to the governments of the countries in most cases they aren't giving them away, no government however incompetent is going to waste money on laptops that could go on helping people survive.
How do laptops help the poor?
@Simon: As opposed to the 'one Wii per child' program seen here, OLPC might actually help the world. If laptops and internet access cease to be a luxury item (and that seems to be the basic goal of OLPC), they hopefully become very useful indeed. Think about:
- learning to read (if the market is big enough the programs will be there)
- learning to programm (the formerly computer-illiterate russian, indian and chinese masses seemed to pick up that skill fast enough once they got access to 'puters and the net)
- communicate (luxurious mobile phones already seem to have a big impact in the 3rd world)
- get crucial information (e.g. how to treat that diurrea? could I find work in the next town? what's the value of that wood-sculpture I found in my neighbours home? what would a stupid 1st world resident pay me if I promise him 16 million dollars?)
@ Andrew Smith
You must be kidding - Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world and spent £28m on an anti-air defence system despite having no use for it and one of the lowest per capita GDP in the world, an average life expectancy of 45 and rampaging AIDS/HIV rates.
There's plenty of examples of similar spending around the world.
Did negroponte ever ask the people of the developing world what would be top of their wish list - no - like the missionaries he knows what is good for poor people and they are damn well going to get it.
@ Stephen, AJ
That Greenstar article is great :)
"The OLPC machine is not intended for children without food and water."
I understand that and am not talking about children without food and water. I am talking about children that dont have access to basic education. I think the OLPC is an attempt at a shortcut approach to fixing that situation and I honestly dont believe it is going to work.
Looking at the Greenstar article Stephen pointed out shows that kids can indeed learn how to use a computer without becoming literate. However, without that literacy, without being able to communicate ideas in the same language as everyone around them, just how far can that knowledge be taken?
Who is going to employee someone that calls a mouse "a needle"?
It all comes back down to literacy. If you cant communicate what you know in language that everyone else understands, there is nothing legitimate you can do with your knowledge. And as far as I am aware, there are no online courses that teaches you how to read and write.
Not speaking for Negroponte, but I see it as a matter of him trying to help with the skills he has. What is wrong with that?
No more welfare
I don't understand the need to provide the world with stuff they should be building themselves. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." I'm so sick of this welfare state, and now even welfare is globalizing. I'd hate to see a future where MY children have to pay for all the incompetency that is the present day third world.
If they are our equals, why can't they build their own laptops?
If they are our equals, why can't they build their own plows?
If they are our equals, why can't they grow their own crops?
If they are our equals, why can't they make their own pants?
If they are our equals, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO PROVE IT?
@ Simon et al
"And as far as I am aware, there are no online courses that teaches you how to read and write."
So stop bitching and get to work.
our household participated in the Give-One-Get-One, so we actually have one of these units. the project is mostly focused on developing countries (law/order established, food/clothing/shelter available), not on failed states (anarchy, violence and starvation), a distinction most people here have not made (there is a huge difference).
the laptop is highly durable, very portable, and ridiculously well-designed (according to my wife, who is VP of marketing and product development for a company that sells kids' coloring products; her design staff was quite impressed, too). it is very education-focused (there's a small library of material stored in it), and has excellent wireless functionality (preloaded activity sharing apps are aware of the automatic mesh setup the laptop can create, the reception is excellent, etc.), better than the commercial laptops i have seen.
i have about 20 years of enterprise IT systems experience, and my professional opinion is that this is an excellent beginning. there is much material available for download off the organization's website, with many more apps and activities available. some of the features are quite unusual; for example, the unit allows one to measure the distance between itself and another OLPC in range (under favorable conditions, close to 2 miles, or so i've read). the storage is upgradeable via an SD card slot. overall, i am quite impressed.
like much other open source stuff, the platform is under active development, which allows even the developing countries to get involved in its improvement and growth (unlike closed-source solutions, where you get what they give you). this unit is superbly suited for its purpose, and volume production may still pull the cost down to something closer to $100, eventually.
in conclusion, i have to say that the naysayers are full of it. this program has merit, and deserves support. this is regardless of whether Negroponte is a jerk and Intel and Microsoft are warm-fuzzy (religious wars, anyone? i'll kick it off: vi rules!).
the poor nations will definitely benefit from this project. much of the argument against it appears to be pompous posturing and sentimental bull.
Clever Marketing ???
Join the project in July 2007, leave January 2008. That looks too much like .... Intel don't do help for education and imagination, they do self-help for dominion and propaganda.
Third world countries/children do not necessarily need to know of old world technologies to make them work for them but heaven forbid that some third world nation use IT imaginatively rather than pay some company/other nation to supply it.
re: No more welfare
If they are our equals, why can't they build their own laptops?
-- When was the last time a laptop was 100% made in the UK? Or in the US, for that matter? Here's a point: our hi-tech society is unsustainable without cheap labour from the Far East. In many cases, the developing nations ARE building our laptops.
If they are our equals, why can't they build their own plows?
-- Perhaps because they get such appalling take-it-or-starve-to-death deals from the Western buyers of their crops? Check out Fairtrade and similar for more information.
If they are our equals, why can't they grow their own crops?
-- Do you personally grow your own crops? No, of course not, your food is provided by massively capital-intensive industrialised farming. Where did the capital come from? Well, the West is wealthy, right? Why is the West wealthy? Because the West systematically pillaged the third world during the days of imperialism, essentially stealing at gunpoint trillions of dollars in today's money. This money bootstrapped the current high-tech, high-specialisation economy we in the West now enjoy. The third worlders can't do that, unfortunately, as that sort of behaviour is illegal now - under international law made by the western powers to protect their ill-gotten wealth.
If they are our equals, why can't they make their own pants?
-- Heh, you might want to check where your pants are made. Long odds they come from a third-world/developing nation sweatshop. If you are their equal, why can't you make your own pants?
If they are our equals, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO PROVE IT?
Who is this "they" that you keep going on about? If you are anyone's equal, why don't you come up with a reasoned argument instead of a sordid little collection of racist epithets?
@Simon re 'needles'
It is quite understandable why a child who has never seen a computer before might call the on-screen pointer a 'needle'. Why would they name it the same as a furry rodent? 'Mouse' is jargon that WE use out of convention, and actually describes the device not the pointer (WIMP - Windows, Icons, Mice, Pointers)
The OLTP does not even use a detached, movable pointing device, so the term 'Mouse' might even seem stupid to them.
I wish that people could get their heads around the fact that computers should not be used to teach computing, but as general educational tools. I think that educationalists lost sight of this fact when classroom computers lost the ability to be programmed by keen but poorly-trained teachers. My Father, who was a teacher for 30 years before computers appeared in the classroom taught himself enough to be able to develop material to teach Nutritional Science, Map reading, distance and direction and more on BBC Micros to make his students (Army Apprentices, not the brightest of buttons) interested in the subjects. He was told to move to IBM PCs, which were not provided with a programming language or graphics programming system, and completely lost interest, as capable as the machines were, they were too difficult to use. They were then just used to teach wordprocessing and spreadsheets, and a very few commercial teaching packages not tailored to the teaching environment.
The OLTP is an admirable project to use computers as tools but they make poor general purpose WINTEL computers (which is why Microsoft lost interest). They can be a library (with many more books available than any physical library that could be bought for a school), a distance learning tool, a note book, an entertainment device, a social networking tool. They can even be used to teach computing, but that is NOT their strength. They are also personal to the child (One Laptop Per Child), so can be used away from school to read the downloaded book, continue their studies etc. This extends teaching outside of the classroom, something teachers here struggle to do.
Download one of the demonstration images, and run it in a virtual machine on your PC and see what it can do, and then open your eyes.
Oh, and I am not advocating replacing teachers with them, but you can build as many computers as you have money (especially if they are cheap). You often cannot recruit and train teachers prepared to work where these kids live with just money. Tools like the OLPC can make the effectiveness of the available teachers there much greater, and prepare the children for the 21st Century, even if their living conditions are still in the dark ages. But I am not stupid enough to believe that they will learn if they have not got enough food.
Unfortunately, Intel and Microsoft (even with its charitable leanings) still look at this market as a revenue-generating stream or lock-in, even if only in the long run.
Pee. Ell. Oh.. You. Gee. Haitch.
P - L - O - U - G - H.
Your argument is essentially blaming Western Countries for Third world problems. I'm not going to take responsibility for their problems. Because you have some demented guilt complex is none of my concern.
To answer your questions:
"Do you personally grow your own crops?"
No, but I could if I needed to. Something entire nations of third world countries lack the capability to do on their own. They would not starve if they could grow their own crops.
"you might want to check where your pants are made."
Only because we tell them HOW to make them. They do not possess the ability to or they would be successful like Western nations. There is no other explanation.
"Why is the West wealthy? Because the West systematically pillaged the third world during the days of imperialism"
You have got to be kidding me. I thought I had set up a strawman. The West is wealthy because we possess the ability to build things people in the third world can't. It has nothing to do with pillaging resources. The third world is filthy rich in terms of natural resources with or without us, "pillaging." The problem is that they do not possess the IQ to figure out how to use it. If Negroponte or Gates or whoever wanted to truly help the third world he would work in a chem/bio lab to discover a magic potion to raise their IQ.
How many of you naysayers have a better plan?
"I don't understand the need to provide the world with stuff they should be building themselves. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.""
The same philosophy also applies to fire:
"Build a man a fire, you keep him warm for a day, light that man on fire, you keep him warm for the rest of his life"
There is much for these children to gain from having access to a computer and the net, now i understand that not all of it will be in a positive direction, but much to learn none the less.
Admitting i didnt grow up in an under served nation, i will admit, i quit school, very young, and very foolishly, not even completing one year of high school. around 20 years old, while heading nowhere, fast, i acquired my first computer. i used that computer to teach myself about computers, hardware support, network administration and security. having never returned to school or attended any type of formal training, 15 years later, i enjoy life as a very successful and well respected independent consultant in my community.
Every time i hear people preaching to the kids about how they'll never amount to anything with that all important piece of paper, i giggle my ass off...
Growing up dyslexic, in a society that knew little about it at the time, i failed miserably in school. i learned to read and write in my 20's, sitting at a keyboard, not in a classroom. it wasn't a teacher that taught me to read or spell, i taught myself, using my packard bell pentium 60mhz computer, with 4mb of ram and 14.4k modem to dial up to the internet.
I'm still a high school dropout, i never bothered to get a G.E.D. or anything of the sort, i never saw a point in it. i have too much fun seeing the dumbfounded look on peoples faces when they find out my highest education is 8th grade, and the rather bitter looks they give me as their reasonable deduction chugs along and finally puts the pieces of the puzzle together, realizing that they are still paying off that $150k student loan for their B.S. degree, stuck in some fucked up job being a corporate yes man, and i make 5 to 6 times what they do.
it really pisses off college educated people when a high school dropout makes in 2 months what they make in a year, doing the same job they are!
You are really a completly uneducated prick, do you own a passprt? Have you ever travelled? Or do you listen to the insane dribble spouted by the tabliods and you mates down the pub?
Find out what countries own the mines in Africa and how they got them, Found out the Western world obtained the oil, oh and find out how most the black people ended up outside Africa.....
"They would not starve if they could grow their own crops", really so you reckon you could grow crops in the middle of the desert? Good luck, bet you never even planted a carrot, let alone feed a family for a year.
So if someone told you how to make a Bra (a thing "women" wear you could? Bullshit, bet you think they are made of about 2 piece of cloth sellotaped together.
I bet you, if you were dropped in the middle of Africa with no food, water or money, you'd be dead in a week. Doubt many Africans they are trying to help would...So this makes you the dumbest of all.
this causes me some serious doubts about the OLPC management
why should Negroponte even care what other products are out there? If Intel wants to make and sell something cheaper, that's ther business-OLPC was supposed to be *giving these away* so there's no competition at all. having two or more low price devices hurts nobody-unless you're trying to corner the market in such devices and either want absolute control, or are planning on making a personal profit selling the things. Did Negroponte come up with this as a way to get others to design and manufacture hardware at no cost to him? Now that's the best business plan since Andy Warhol-make everyone else do the work and produce the product and then take all the profit and credit when you sell it. Even better because he gets the protection of global socialists as a "charity" too.
I'm pretty sure that the third world knows how to make pants without us telling them. Your contention that knowing how to make pants would make them successful like Western nations is certainly thought-provoking, but as they are already making the pants and are apparently not as successful, a mite questionable. Frankly I'm not convinced that making their own pants (instead of ours) would have a big impact on the bottom line (ba-doom-ching!). The fact is that people in the Third World have been wearing pants for thousands of years.
You say the West is wealthy because "we possess the ability to build things people in the third world can't". That is exactly my point. We didn't have that ability in the middle ages, now we do. What changed? The Industrial Revolution, which has led to ever-increasing specialisation and productivity. What paid for this massive change in the West? Have you noticed that while the Industrial Revolution was going on, the Western powers almost without exception were slaughtering third-world types in order to take possession of their mineral wealth? Some examples:
* Organised and systematic genocide campaigns against the Aztec and Incas to get their gold
* Dispossession of Native Americans to get their land and the associated meat and furs
* Conquest and suppression of India to gain various mineral wealth, as well as opium used to subvert China
* Subversion and subjugation of China to provide silver and tea (a fantastic new source of wealth); read about the Opium-Silver-Tea triangle.
* Countless wars of conquest, dispossession and colonisation across Africa - from tip to toe - which were entirely about dispossessing the original inhabitants to take control of their mineral wealth (pretty much every African country has this sad aspect to its history).
So, just 200-300 years ago, the west essentially stomped the third-world as flat, as the state of the art would allow, eliminated any existing systems of government through methods which would definitely be illegal under current international law, systematically stripped those countries of their assets which were sent back to the colonial powers, ruthlessly repressed and slaughtered millions to maintain this advantageous state of affairs, and when the locals started getting antsy about the situation simply walked off with all the swag, leaving behing the over-mined, over-hunted, over-grazed and undereducated waste we have today - and you have the abominable temerity to suggest that the reason they lag behind us is because they can't make pants?
Now, there is plenty wrong with the third world, but you haven't addressed my point at all: at least a good portion of the trouble is traceable to the ruthless treatment meted out by the colonial powers in the imperial age. Do you deny this? It's all quite well-documented. If your IQ is as immense as you claim, consider reading a few history books.
To address your contemptible point about IQ, I would love to see some well-verified information demonstrating that, on properly culture-neutral tests, administered to people who have been properly fed and educated, the average IQ of westerners is higher than those of Africans, South Americans or Asians (for example) by significantly more than the error bars of the test. These conditions need to be met for the 'ceteris' to be 'paribus' - otherwise you are simply proving the point that the underlying infrastructural issues which I have described are the cause. If you cannot provide a link to a proper peer-reviewed study meeting these requirements, then you are a racist and none of your views on these matters can be taken seriously.
If you are going to engage us all in this international IQ willy-waving business, you should probably also have a go at demonstrating some kind of relationship between mean national IQ and GDP. Good luck with that one. I know a bit about IQ (One of the reasons why my MENSA subscription isn't paid up is because I have concluded that IQ is almost irrelevant when compared with environmental factors, nutrition etc), and the correlation between IQ and achievement - even in individuals - is much more elusive than your statements would indicate. IQ, at best, measures how good you are at taking IQ tests - it has no bearing on your pant-making talent, which you insist is the index of cultural achievement.
Finally, I do not suffer from "demented guilt". I did not cause these problems, but I accept that I can do something about them - in that sense, I suppose I do take some responsibility - and, fortunately, so do many others in the West. I support Fairtrade; I donate computers to charities, and I heartily back the efforts of the OLPC. As more and more people do this sort of thing (and some get into really radical things like volunteering for projects in the third world), perhaps the historical inequities can be reversed, over time. It isn't our fault, but we are the most well-placed to fix it - and, in the process, fix immediate Western problems such as global terrorism. If we can make the third world as wealthy as we are - or at least give them something to lose - I think the supply of suicide bombers and willing cannon fodder will dry up.
Or, of course, you could instead simply rant on about the mean IQs and pants-making facility of various ethnic groups. It's up to you, but I think I know which approach is likely to be more productive.
Subsidies and education
Regarding why Negroponte is so peeved at Intel: Because OLPC did the work of designing a low-powered, low-cost computer usable in third-world conditions. Intel saw there was a market based on the response to OLPC and made the Classmate -- which is simply a small notebook with a slow CPU, and is perhaps looking to sell it below cost. It doesn't have the features of the OLPC -- high-contrast screen, charger that works without electricity, the mesh networking, etc that make it more feasible in places without reliable electricity etc. -- but is taking away some limelight from OLPC by simply being cheap.
Education -- something like OLPC can sound like a luxury item, but if schools in these areas can't afford/can't get books etc., then having a machine that can DISPLAY books is an improvement over present conditions of trying to educate without books. "Guns and butter" (the economics exercise where some input can go to producing X units of guns or Y of butter) simply doesn't necessarily apply here -- that is, the $$$ spent on computers wouldn't automatically go to food, irrigation, etc. if it wasn't going to computers. Ideally it would but real-world economics don't exactly match the idealized ones.
Hmmm , it never ceases to amaze me that in the so called Age of Information freely available on the Intertubes , ignorance still prevails about this subject as has been shown by some answers here or the simple fact they refuse to see beyond the hype and the propaganda fed to us by those with hidden secret agendas !
Indeed , perhaps they a too scared to see outside their closed perverted circular logic of a sheeple ?
Truly the 21st Century is one where both ignorance , Idiocracy and propaganda rule with equal intensity , now what would Paris say about that ?
What price is freedom of choice ?
And to think people pay for tv when they can get entertainment like this?
I have several questions... While on the surface OLPC seems like a great idea, where are these units made, so they can be distributed so cheaply? Southeast Asian sweat shops? Secondly, what about the wastes from depleted batteries?
For all the "green" computing folks in here, where is all the power going to come from? More CO2 emissions? tsk tsk tsk...
For the love of GOD, think of the safety of the children! Please? I'm sure Paris would be appalled at the lack of thought put into this program
They are being made in Taiwan by a company who makes laptops for most of the big names. http://www.quantatw.com/Quanta/english/Default.aspx
The units will ship with some kind of human-powered charger that plugs into the DC socket. so no CO2 emissions from charging the device.
So you hold your breath whilst charging them then, or don't they exhale c02 in the third world ?
Rignt, coat, door , taxi
didn't quit, they were fired.
They didn't WALK about. They were THROWN out. Of course, Intel will spin it as hard as they can to downplay the fact that, as directors in the project, they had a fiduciary duty to not compete with it, amongst other things. Which they did.
The idea of OLPC, which many seemed to have missed, is to allow those who get one to learn from it then modify it to suit their needs. This includes access to both the software, hardware, and all the materials needed to learn about it. It means that eventually they actually know what makes it tick, and might even be able to build different software or even hardware using that knowledge. In other words, it's a step up for those who want to help themselves.
Meanwhile, Intel and Microsoft are busy trying to turn those same people into typical indentured clients, who have to go running back to the manufacturer in order to get anything changed. People who have absolutely no say in how something is designed or used, because it's all locked up behind "beware of tiger" signs in the USA. What they're doing isn't a step up, it's a cynical attempt to swipe the money that could be used for real education and instead transfer it into the pockets of Intel and Microsoft.
I wish people would stop referring to SE Asian manufacturing plants as "sweatshops". They aren't sweatshops. Do some research. I love the way the "western world" wants to "level the playing field" now we're developed to a certain level.
It's about time
we knew for awhile that intel was a) using it to roadblock/subvert and b) push classmates all along.
They did a double bad thing, exploit a charity and kids ...they wonder why 25$ stock hurts ...
This is how Intel planned it
I think many people are misunderstanding the situation. Do you really think that Intel was trying to be helpful? Blaming Negroponte is a red herring. Intel planned to quit the project before the show in Las Vegas otherwise they would have come up with a competetive solution and not a more expensive and power hungry chip. Don't tell me they didn't understand the design criteria. They've got the technical ability, but instead they decided to put their talents elsewhere.
I don't know what Intel expected.
They're late to the party and offering computer bits that are already covered by other members. Retooling right now is not going to happen and there isn't going to be a set of second tier specs, either. So, their presence was largely a waste of time for all parties involved and largely redundant to boot.
I thought Bender said "bite my shiny metal OLPC" or something like that. I guess he's getting old. :-)
Books rot in the tropics
I'm tired of people prattling on about giving people laptops before libraries - to maintain books in readable condition in many countries in tropical regions you have to keep them in air-conditioning.
A sealed, solid-state laptop is a portable library that can survive humidity, 'nuff said.
As far as the design quality of the hardware and software, b shubin said it best.
Why not be grateful for Intel's Classmate
The reason Nick is concerned about Intel undermining OLPC is at least twofold.
The Classmate is essentially a sales job not a marketing job. As many have commented it's the redelivery of a tired old everywhere-is-an-office computing metaphor. So the kids aren't getting the benefit of the OLPC philosophy - designed FOR kids, and to ENABLE them by opening up every level of the system to their own creativity. These devices are not equivalent.
Takeup of OLPC in a host country typically depends upon government buy-in. This is required to facilitate integration with the education system, and where necessary, to pay the price tag for the hundreds of thousands of machines the kids need. If Intel's using its capital muscle to force takeup of the classmate by artificially reduced prices this probably excludes the OLPC from being acquired by that host country altogether. Intel's not offering additional devices, it's displacing devices.