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Negroponte vs. Open-Source Fundamentalists

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the fundies-have-more-fun dept.

Operating Systems 414

fyoder writes "Within the world of One Laptop per Child, both the Negropontistas and the Benderites envision a future for Sugar where it runs on multiple platforms, but the latter don't want Windows (or closed source anything) as part of that future. OLPC's emphasis has always seemed to me to be on Sugar, with Linux simply being a smart technical choice for the underlying OS. Yet what is becoming more explicit with the resignation of Walter Bender is that for many involved in the project there was a strong element of Linux advocacy, such that Negroponte's flirtation with Microsoft is felt to be pure sacrilege."

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Education and Secrets don't Mix. (3, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225754)

The article asks:

But when did promoting Linux become one of the OLPC's goals?

This is the wrong question to ask, so it's not surprising that people are a little confused about the answer. This is part of the problem of Open/Free/Linux linguistic ambiguity but it's constantly feed on by people like OLPCNews, an organization run by Intel employees who are working on another project. Eventually, the question is answered:

These are the ones who believe that open source software in general is critical to the mission of education, and that closed source software, especially that of a convicted monopolist corporation like Microsoft, is not only undesirable, but detrimental to that mission. ... A less inflammatory term would be preferable, though -- say, "people uncompromisingly committed to the empowerment of educators and students through the freedom which open-source software provides."

It's a little easier to say that secrets and education don't mix. Sharing is good and that children should not be taught the lessons of non free software in an educational setting - that ideas are things to be owned for personal advantage over people kept ignorant by intention.

It's also easy to see that Microsoft and their friends at Intel want nothing more than to kill OLPC. They would like to see OLPC go the way of DRDOS, BeOS, OS/2, SCO Unix and so on and so forth. They have consistently derided the whole concept and stooped to dirty tricks to block sales and use. Evangelism is still war to them [boycottnovell.com] . Anything they can do to delay the project is good for them, so they will be ready to provide all sorts of help and direction about how to make XP run on the thing and promise to stop hurting the project but it will all be a lie. OLPC will be fine for them when it's One MicroSoft Laptop Per Child and Sugar is broken and forgotten.

We can further be sure that everyone at OLPC knows all of the above and that the whole issue is just so much FUD and nonsense. OLPC is too busy getting their device to kids to fool with this kind of BS.

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (-1, Redundant)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225804)

That's about the size of it. The real OLPC news site [laptop.org] does not mention any of this BS.

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23225890)

Did you just reply to yourself?

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (2, Informative)

willyhill (965620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225970)

Anyone posting on or moderating this thread should be aware that "gnutoo" and "twitter" are the same person [slashdot.org] . Sorry for the OT.

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (4, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226070)

And again, how do we not know that you aren't also part of twitter's schemes?

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (2, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226196)

Wow, I just drilled down the whole list of "just so you know 'x' is also 'y'"...
No wonder my UID is so damned high... I'm not even sure I'm me anymore...

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (1)

willyhill (965620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226208)

If I am then I guess I'm not very clever, since "I" seem to be getting modded down more often than not for replying to myself.

"I'm Twittercus." "No, I'm Twittercus." (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226472)

And again, how do we not know that you aren't also part of twitter's schemes?
Same with you. How do I know you're not Spartac^W twitter too? ;-)

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226162)

Twitter has multiple accounts... we get it! Apparently you still haven't realized that almost nobody cares. You and the other retards that post drivel every time he posts are no better than spammers.

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (1, Informative)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226504)

Twitter has multiple accounts... we get it! Apparently you still haven't realized that almost nobody cares. You and the other retards that post drivel every time he posts are no better than spammers.

Shutup twitter.

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226790)

Who cares? This is Slashdot, where every boneheaded idea has at least 10 supporters. If Twitter wants to carry on as if he has multiple personalities, let him.

Bruce Perens Explains the Details. (-1, Troll)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225984)

The general intentions of non free software companies have concrete expressions that are antithecal to education [slashdot.org] . Everyone should read his explanation of how Microsoft and big publishers have a lot to lose when it comes to getting free textbooks to children. This is not "Fundamentalism" it's calling a vested interests out for bad practices and things that should be considered crimes.

Re:Bruce Perens Explains the Details. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226082)

Very cool post, thanks.

Re:Bruce Perens Explains the Details. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226158)

*facepalm*

Re:Bruce Perens Explains the Details. (3, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226742)

Hahaha! Oh my god twitter, you are a real piece of work.

It's working though, I suppose. Since you post at -1 for trolling, any immediate positive-sounding replies tend to garner attention. I guess that's really the reason why you insult everyone's intelligence this way, isn't it? Just hoping to see if you can muster up a few mod points to bring your account out of karma hell?

Well, once you're done you'll need to work on the Erris [slashdot.org] account as well. That's gonna be rough.

quitting while you're ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226104)

You were doing great until you linked to epic Spamowitz' lame attack blog (here's a hint, he has even less credibility than you), and then for some bizarre reason decided to actually reply to yourself with a sockpuppet. Twice.

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226374)

Posting to undo +1 moderation. Thanks for making me waste a mod point. The fact that for some reason you feel the need to reply to yourself instead of letting your comments stand on their own is just bizarre, but I modded you up before seeing the post by your "gnutoo" sockpuppet.

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (1)

wrecked (681366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226658)

This is part of the problem of Open/Free/Linux linguistic ambiguity but it's constantly feed on by people like OLPCNews, an organization run by Intel employees who are working on another project.


I know you're a troll, but seeing how your post has been modded up, your statement about OLPC News is seriously misleading. Wayan Vota, the alleged ex-Intel employee and site admin for OLPC News [olpcnews.com] , has stated that OLPC is meant to be an global educational project, not a laptop-manufacturing one. The open source stack is critical to the educational goals. He believes that once the XO ships with Windows XP, then the OLPC Project will have truly failed:

The real prescription for change, the idea that had us all foaming with tech-lust, was the combination of education-specific Open Source software running on clock-stopping hot technology to empower education in the developing world. To change any part of that equation this late in the game represents a fundamental shift in the project and is alienating all of us who wanted to be part of a disruptive movement.

Windows XP on the XO can be educational, and Sugar on other platforms is beneficial, but neither alone is the OLPC we signed up for.
from http://www.olpcnews.com/people/leadership/prescriptive_disruptive_to_status_quo.html [olpcnews.com]

Re:Education and Secrets don't Mix. (1)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226866)

it's constantly feed on by people like OLPCNews, an organization run by Intel employees who are working on another project.
Whatever credibility you'd like to think you have was completely lost when you claimed as truth unsubstantiated rumors that have been proven to be false: http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/olpc_news/olpc_news_conspiracy_theories.html [olpcnews.com]

Just to make it absolutely clear: Yes, Wayan is kind of a dick and he's been somewhat inexplicably negative towards the OLPC project from the beginning, but he's not and has never been an employee of Intel, nor has anyone else at OLPCNews.

Incidentally, as a long-time follower of the OLPC project, a G1G1 donor and as someone who has spent a great deal of time using and developing for Sugar, I find laughable your assertions that Intel or Microsoft have had any substantial responsibility for OLPCs problems to date.

damn fundamentalists (5, Funny)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225758)

Okay folks, grab your pitchforks and your torches, it's time to round up as many of these damn fundamentalists as possible. They are destroying our world, and need to be exterminated, leaving only us pure non-fundamentalists.

Re:damn fundamentalists (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226058)

You are fundamentally an extremist :)

Re:damn fundamentalists (1)

ruin20 (1242396) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226852)

We'll get ironman to help

Why MS and textbook publishers must control OLPC (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225770)

I predicted this [technocrat.net] a while ago when they were just talking about "dual boot".

OLPC can go two ways: one of the two is enough of a threat to book publishers and Microsoft that there will be a lot of force waged against it. The other way is just good for world freedom and doesn't have nearly as much power on its side.

The purpose of OLPC is not to give third world kids a laptop. It's to give them books. You see, those third world countries don't have an annual budget of $100/student to buy kids textbooks. So, OLPC is an efficient means to deliver e-texts to those kids.

The Microsoft way to do this is to have pervasive DRM as part of the OLPC framework. Microsoft will partner with textbook publishers to make free or low-cost but time-locked and otherwise DRM-encumbered electronic versions of their textbooks available on OLPC. Thus, there will be less reason for the development of fully free e-Texts under licensing that permits redistribution and derivative works. This way, the markets of those textbook publishers in more developed countries won't be threatened by the presence of those free texts, and Microsoft won't be threatened by a large force of youth trained on Linux.

The Open Source way is to direct the efforts of academic communities toward the creation of fully free e-texts under licensing that permits redistribution and derivative works. This is already well under way. OLPC would run Sugar on top of Linux, and would not in general be a DRM platform. Open texts would become a main stream in education, as would Open Source software. This is obviously a threat to textbook publishers and Microsoft.

The good news is that OLPC is not the only possible platform, and we can keep working on this without them. The bad news is that OLPC has the mind-share, and that's going to be hard to fight, especially with Microsoft behind them.

Microsoft has just essentially killed OpenDocument. They have made it redundant as a standard and showed that people who lobby for its use lose their jobs for their efforts. They did whatever was necesssary to win, with much dirty fighting and no shame about it. The folks at ISO and national organizations didn't show any shame about the perversion of their process, either. Expect to see similar in this case.

Bruce

fudgepack. DON'T DARE READ THIS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23225912)

Why do they have to come up with such obnoxiously gay names as "Sugar?" That is what an old woman would call her 20-year-old dying horse.

MODERATORS!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226036)

mod parent up

Re:Why MS and textbook publishers must control OLP (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226134)

Microsoft's behavior has been DRM agnostic much of the time. I'm pretty sure that they see a formidable business case for cow-towing to big content producers(i.e., playing back DVDs makes their platforms more attractive for consumers) and thus work to provide non-trivial DRM solutions, but right up until HDCP, they have always had a parallel unmanaged path for playback of content. (and given that HDCP is an industry wide attack on the consumer, it's hard to argue for singling out Microsoft for supporting it)

In a world where most consumers don't seem to care about their rights, I'm not surprised that they are failing to use their market position as a lever to support consumer rights.

Re:Why MS and textbook publishers must control OLP (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226662)

Microsoft's behavior has been DRM agnostic much of the time.

Well, you excuse Vista, I guess, as just going along with HDCP as an industry-wide effort against the consumer? Consider that Microsoft was an important part of the development of HDCP.

Bruce

Re:Why MS and textbook publishers must control OLP (1, Informative)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226200)

I was wondering where you got the idea that Microsoft would put DRM onto their OLPC/XP for e-books so I checked out your linked blog post.

"Now, it is likely that third world students will be running DRM-locked textbooks that are only acessable under Windows."

In other words, you made it all up and are just spreading FUD. Every time Microsoft is involved people start seeing creepy characters lurking in the shadows.

Yes, Microsoft should be frightened that the third world will grow up using Linux. Apple should be equally frightened. Microsoft is not above the tactic of squashing competition before it's allowed to develop. They've done it before after all. That doesn't mean we should speculate that Microsoft is putting DRM on their "special XP lite" to shake down 3rd world kids. I think we should give Negroponte a little more credit than that.

Re:Why MS and textbook publishers must control OLP (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226434)

Every time Microsoft is involved people start seeing creepy characters lurking in the shadows.

Unfortunately the creepy characters are not just lurking in shadows. Around the OOXML process they were quite visible in stuffing the ballot box, subverting votes entirely, etc.

Yes, they haven't proposed DRM yet. When rumors of dual-boot on OLPC first came out, I predicted that Negroponte would get closer to Microsoft. He did. I also predicted that there would be DRM on the platform. It's not there yet, but it will be if OLPC continues on this path, and it will be Microsoft's DRM.

Bruce

Why laptops and books aren't enough (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226324)

Why should it matter to some poor kid, just needing a way to afford schoolbooks, what OS his laptop is running?

800 years ago, Moses Maimonides enumerated the forms of charity, from best to least:

  1. 1. Giving a pauper independence so that he will not have to depend on charity. Maimonides enumerates four forms of this, from the greatest to the weakest:
    1. a. Giving a poor person work.
    2. b. Making a partnership with him or her (this is lower than work, as the recipient might feel he doesn't put enough into the partnership).
    3. c. Giving a loan.
    4. d. Giving a gift.
  2. 2. Giving charity anonymously to an unknown recipient.
  3. 3. Giving charity anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. 4. Giving charity publicly to an unknown recipient.
  5. 5. Giving charity before being asked.
  6. 6. Giving adequately after being asked.
  7. 7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  8. 8. Giving unwillingly.

[Text from Wikipedia]

OLPC with Linux and other Open Source is #1 on Maimonides list. It not only gives them textbooks, it gives them a structure that they can use to control their nation's own destiny - the free software on the system that they can use to communicate, plan, write, etc., and it gives them control over that structure so that they have independence.

In contrast, giving them a Microsoft framework is giving them an addictive dependence. Not charity at all.

Bruce

Re:Why laptops and books aren't enough (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226836)

Unfortunately, Bruce, that does not the match reality of how these laptops are being used.

I don't see teachers in sufficient numbers being prepared to take advantage of open source. In Brazil (where I live), I see teachers that can barely teach their subject with a blackboard and white chalk.

What I see is cool and nice that kids have it, but it is miles away form Seymour Papert's dream. Or Alan Kay's dream.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovG_k2b3AXU [youtube.com]

When I was in 5th grade, I was taught Logo. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. These kids have Squeak. Squeak has the potential to blow your mind, because Squeak is multimedia-ready (and cool projects like Scratch have been developed on top of it).

But it seems that it ammounts to having a cool little laptop that can network.

There's nothing intrinsic to it that demands open source OS. Unfortunately, because ideally one would want to be able to go very, very deep. The project seems to fall short in that respect.

What are these kids learning that will teach them that it is the human that makes the computer?

That, to me, is the true "technological transfer."

So, the way the project has been led has been self-defeating, IMHO.

The last point I would like to make is that the GPL license does not, and will not, empower people in India, Brazil, or any other developing nation. This was a big mistake. Only a liberal license like the BSD license can empower people, permiting them to compete in a hostile commercial environment, contributing to a common source but not naively exposing one self to bigger corporations that would crush their businesses (unless they want to play the hypocritical "dual-licensing" - an euphemism to proprietary licensing).

Re:Why laptops and books aren't enough (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226868)

OLPC with Linux and other Open Source is #1 on Maimonides list.

The first item in the list is give them independence - but what OLPC creates is dependence on a technological infrastructure whose sole source in the whim of OLPC and their national government. At best, OLPC is 1d, at worst... 6 or 7.
 
 

It not only gives them textbooks, it gives them a structure that they can use to control their nation's own destiny - the free software on the system that they can use to communicate, plan, write, etc., and it gives them control over that structure so that they have independence.

Sorry, but F/OSS isn't magical pixie dust. There isn't anything that F/OSS allows them to that can't also be done on nonF/OSS software.
 
Additionally, I've always found the "they can modify it" argument a but specious - as modifying any non trivial software takes a considerable amount of technical background as well as free time that the target market for the OLPC doesn't have.
 
 

In contrast, giving them a Microsoft framework is giving them an addictive dependence. Not charity at all.

As I point out at the start of my reply - how is a Microsoft framework any different from a F/OSS framework? The real problem isn't the OS or the applications - the addiction starts with the hardware.

Re:Why laptops and books aren't enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226942)

boy I guess it's a good thing they haven't given ANYONE a microsoft framework then, YOU FUD-SPREADING ASSHOLE

Fortunately, that's not how it is. (4, Insightful)

karmaflux (148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226432)

Hi Bruce,

I'm a support volunteer for OLPC. I'm not officially affiliated with them, but I've been volunteering for them since last year.

You're misrepresenting the project. I am not accusing you of making disingenuous posts, but I suspect you're either underinformed or you've got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Yes, the XO-1 laptop is a wonderful e-book platform. However, you don't need most of the stuff it comes with on an e-book reader. For instance, you don't need a webcam to read a book. The fact is, textbooks are one small part of the ideas that constitute Sugar, which is based on constructivist [wikipedia.org] education practices.

I'm sure you've heard the "it's not a laptop project, it's an education project" quote a million times. Well, it's not an e-book project either. It's an education project, and reading isn't the only way kids learn. We're not talking about the sort of education we receive here in the States, where we listen to an orator and take notes. It's self-directed. The XO-1 is a learning and exploration platform.

As to Microsoft, I have been assured by higher-ups at OLPC that they're not going to devote any resources to porting Sugar to Windows, or Windows to the XO-1. They just don't have the resources; they're too busy deploying [radian.org] laptops [radian.org] . Negroponte's point is that if someone wants to get it done, OLPC shouldn't stand in their way, which is entirely different from "let's drop linux." He's made other comments in the past about how Firefox wouldn't have gained the marketshare it has if it weren't for Windows. Likewise, a Sugar that is platform-ambivalent would rapidly gain mindshare in the educational world.

Sugar is not OLPC. OLPC is not the XO-1. Microsoft doesn't control any of those three things, and I doubt they will. Hell, in current builds, Sugar doesn't even start without NetworkManager, which isn't exactly Windows-compatible software.

You're a luminary in the FOSS world, and a geek hero. I'm sure you know that. I hope you're also aware when you start forecasting things based on insufficient information, a lot of people just take your word for it. I suggest you contact OLPC with your concerns, so they can be suitably allayed.

Re:Fortunately, that's not how it is. (3, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226568)

Hi Karmaflux,

Well, I wish I could believe that it will go the way you say. With folks quitting over philosophical differences, I suspect there is some internal struggle over these ideas that you may not be party to. I'd be happy to meet with the current OLPC staff (do I just send Negroponte an email?) and hear their side.

Bruce

Re:Fortunately, that's not how it is. (4, Interesting)

karmaflux (148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226788)

Trust me, the OLPC support gang has been following the plot. It's important to remember that Negroponte is a visionary -- not just as a label meaning "he comes up with Big Ideas," either. He just looks at everything that way, with a long-term worldview and a high-altitude perspective. It leads to scuffles like this between the head-shed and his field commanders, if that makes sense. Plenty of people send him e-mail, and even us "little guys" get responses. Another great person there is their Technology Manager, Kim Quirk [kim at laptop dot o r g]. I also don't understand your "Microsoft gamed the ISO for OOXML, therefore OLPC is next" rhetoric. The ISO is a flawed quasi-democratic construct, and Microsoft beat them with money. OLPC is a corporate, not-for-profit entity. Are you suggesting they'll be paid to port Windows to the XO-1? Somehow that Sugar will be suddenly close-sourced? The whole point of the GPL and licenses like it is to prevent exactly what you're describing. Even if Microsoft produces a DRM-encumbered operating system for the XO-1, what makes you think a country will choose it over the freely-available Sugar-on-Fedora that the XO currently runs? Furthermore, and more to the point, if an educational body does choose a closed MS platform over a FOSS platform, isn't that their right? If they don't make such mistakes, how will they learn? :) And when the DRM becomes unbearable, Sugar will still be there, still running on Fedora -- and an easy migration destination, if they've spent a year or so running Sugar on Windows.

!news (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225778)

Is this news or just fyoder's take on the situation?

Negropontification (-1, Offtopic)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225782)

Generation of Bits [greenspun.com]
Tales of shame and degradation in the Big Idea Lab
by Hunter S. Negroponte

Too Many Bits

The other day I was thanking my good friend Former President Bush (or ``George'' as I call him) for pulling some strings to get my brother out of that Iran-Contra mess, and he asked me if I knew any hot technologies he could sink his Presidential Pension into. In my opinion, the smart money is on filters. It's getting so you can't read Usenet without seeing that ``Dave Jordan'' Ponzi letter followed by forty replies from dickless wannabes threatening to mail-bomb the poster's sysadmin for the ``innapropriate post.'' Of course, I personally have my staff of Elegant British Women pre-edit my .newsrc for me (God how I envy the British), but that option is not open to the unwired masses outside the Media Lab.

One way to eliminate the blather while keeping the First Amendment intact is to create active ``Filter Agents,'' as I like to call them, that presort my Netnews articles and eliminate the tiresome pseudo-commercial posts. Can you imagine what the net's raw content will look like when all the half-literate morons in the U.S. can publish any text that their tiny minds ooze? The very thought makes me want to refill my glass with the '56 Chateau Lafite. America's Intelligentsia will need some serious Digital Butlers guarding our Offramp on the Digital Highway's Mailing Lists (damn metaphors) when this comes to pass.

The Big Lie

Media Lab critics (there have been a few) have occasionally questioned the practical application of our work. Well, have you heard about the Holographic Television? No longer a device found only in the back of comic books, we've actually made this sucker work. An honest-to-god motion-picture hologram, produced in the Media Lab basement on a 2000 pound holography table by computers, lasers and mirrors spinning at 30,000 RPM. It's real! It works! Life Magazine even came in to photograph it in action (of course, they had to fill the room with smoke so the lasers would show up on film). Practical application? Sure, it requires a 2000 pound air-suspended rock table and a Connection Machine II to run, but hell, everyone knows the price of computing power and 2000 pound rock tables is cut in half every year. My point, however, is more mundane: we have created a demo literally from smoke and mirrors, and the Corporate World bought it. Even my good friend Penn (or ``Penn,'' as I call him) Jillette would be proud.

In fact, I'm a few points up on Penn. You may have heard of the Interactive Narrative work that is proceeding in the lab. Folks, I'll be honest with you for a moment. I know as well as you do that it's a stinking load of horseshit. Roger Ebert said ``Six thousand years ago sitting around a campfire a storyteller could have stopped at any time and asked his audience how they wanted the story to come out. But he didn't because that would have ruined the story.'' You think Hollywood would have learned this lesson from the monster ``success'' that Clue, the Movie enjoyed several years ago. But no! I've repackaged the ``Choose your own Adventure'' novels of childhood as Digital Information SuperHighway Yadda Yadda crap, and again, they bought it! Sony right this minute is building an interactive movie theater, with buttons the audience can push to amuse themselves as the story progresses. Dance for me, Corporate America! I'm SHIT-HOT!

Why, just the other day I listened to a member of my staff explain to potential sponsors that we had spent $US 4,000,000 of Japanese sponsor dollars to construct a widescreen version of ``I Love Lucy'' from the original source. And HE SAID IT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE! CAN YOU FUCKING BELIEVE THAT? Boy, I bet those Nips wish they had their money back now! Earthquake? No, we can't do much to rebuild your city, but we SURE AS HELL can give you a 1.66:1 cut of Lucy to fit all those busted HDTVs of yours! HA HA HA!

A Sucker Born

Last week I was off the coast of Greece on my yacht ``Nippo-bux'' (I put the ``raft'' in ``graft,'' as I always say) with my close personal friend Al (``Al'') Gore. He asked me ``Nick--er, Hunter, how do you do it? You maintain a research staff of, in the words of Albert Meyer [an underfunded Course VI professor], `Science Fiction Charlatans,' yet you never fail to rake in monster sponsor bucks? I could fund Hillary's socialized medicine boondoggle in an instant if I had that kind of fiscal pull.''

I told him that it's merely a matter of understanding our sponsor's needs. Our sponsors are represented by middle-aged middle-managers who need three things: Booze, good hotels, and hookers. Keep 'em busy with free trips and the slick dog and pony shows, provide them with pre-written notes for their upper-managment, and the money will keep rolling in.

Do I worry that one day some sponsor will wake up and say ``Wait a minute--what the hell did I do last night? Did I shell out a million bucks to fund a LEGO Chair in the Media Lab? Tequila!'' Over the years I've learned not to care. I could pull the cigar out of W.C. Field's mouth and sell it back to him at a profit. And he'd thank me for the deal. I'm that goddamn good.

Obligatory Plug

By the way, if you enjoyed this article, you can read it again in my upcoming book: Being Gonzo -- Life on the Digital Information SuperHighway Fast Lane. Buy one now.

Time to go (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225786)

Negropontistas and the Benderites
Ah! The pseudo-religious terminology phase. Let's check the Rational Being's Book Of Life for the proper response.

Hmmm... it says "Face in opposite direction and run away as fast as you can."

Huh. I seem to run across that one a lot these days.

free as in freedom (2)

trb (8509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225798)

Feel free to run Windows, if that's what you prefer.

Re:free as in freedom (2, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226094)

People should only be allowed freedom as long as it's the right freedom. Get with the movement, man!

Re:free as in freedom (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226954)

Er, thats not freedom then. I'm hoping your being sarcastic... but sadly I believe you're serious.

Freedom, means I am able to choose or not choose free software. (In my case, I use as little free software as possible.) That is my conscious choice. You're free to try and convince me (and others) otherwise, though you'll have a better chance with the others than me, as I truly enjoy my Windows experience. But getting back your statement, there is no such thing as "right freedom". Who defines right? Everyone's opinon is different.

Obviously biased write-up (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225818)

With the "istas" label being predominately associated with banana republics and murderous South and Central American groups, the bias of fyoder is obvious.

Re:Obviously biased write-up (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226066)

And the title itself has an even stronger bias in the other direction (the Slashdot editor "ethical thought is stupid" bias).

Negroponte used to be one of the "fundamentalists" (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225820)

Yet what is becoming more explicit with the resignation of Walter Bender is that for many involved in the project there was a strong element of Linux advocacy, such that Negroponte's flirtation with Microsoft is felt to be pure sacrilege.


Negroponte himself, until recently, viewed openness of every component as a key principle of the project, which is why offers from both Apple and Microsoft to provide a free-as-in-beer customized version of their respective flagship OS's as the primary OS for the project were rejected out of hand.

It should be unsurprising that a project that, from the top, embraced openness as a central precept has attracted lots of people for whom such openness is an important ideal, and who are quite disappointed when the leader of the project suddenly embraces a proprietary technology and suggests shifting effort to supporting that technology.

Re:Negroponte used to be one of the "fundamentalis (2, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226596)

It should be unsurprising that a project that, from the top, embraced openness as a central precept has attracted lots of people for whom such openness is an important ideal, and who are quite disappointed when the leader of the project suddenly embraces a proprietary technology and suggests shifting effort to supporting that technology.

But it's funny as hell when said idealists have to make a conscious choice between their open-source principles and getting more computers in the hands of kids (by selling out to the closed-source companies). Surely one wouldn't rather that some poor kid in Africa had no computer relative to a Windows machine?

Re:Negroponte used to be one of the "fundamentalis (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226818)

See this post [slashdot.org] for your answer.

Re:Negroponte used to be one of the "fundamentalis (3, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226904)

Surely one wouldn't rather that some poor kid in Africa had no computer relative to a Windows machine?

Surely you wouldn't rather than some poor kid in Africa had no medicine relative to a couple pounds of Heroin?

More fundamentally than fundamentalism (4, Insightful)

Ilan Volow (539597) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225854)

To hell with ideology. Two completely different user environments, one running on top of another and ultimately requiring someone at some level to be an expert in both, is bad design and asking for trouble.

OLPC Has Lost Its Way (5, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225864)

No good can come from the OLPC that run Windows or any other proprietary system.

There are many "pragmatists" who say that it doesn't matter what runs on the device. To those people I submit, you are mistaken.

Linux, or FreeBSD, or NetBSD, I don't really care, is free. Windows is not. If you give them a laptop for education with free software, you have given them a "gift."

If you give them an OLPC with Windows, you've waisted everybody's time and energy and simply acted as a Microsoft marketing shill. Trapping even more of the world in Microsoft's monopoly.

It is reprehensible.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23225946)

This belief is the cancer that is killing OLPC. If Windows works as well for the same total cost, what is the difference?

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (2, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226020)

This belief is the cancer that is killing OLPC. If Windows works as well for the same total cost, what is the difference?

Who own's the computer? Who owns the information on it? Who benefits from the children using the computer?

In the case of Linux: The child.
In the case of Windows: Microsoft.

If this attitude kills the OLPC, then it needs to die.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (3, Interesting)

wampus (1932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226050)

So it really is about pushing an agenda, not helping children. Got it.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (3, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226214)

So it really is about pushing an agenda, not helping children.

It is absolutely about the agenda of helping children, it is just the philosophy of how that is best accomplished.

I don't believe, for one minute, that giving laptops running Windows to children will benefit them in the long run. Microsoft's purpose is to sell Windows licenses. That means extracting money from those who can't afford it.

It is better to give them Linux. It may even be better to *not* give them computers if the choice is Windows, as the alternatives may be cheaper.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226278)

And if Microsoft was to outright give away licenses to an OLPC build of Windows, running Sugar? This is still a bad thing, correct?

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226450)

And if Microsoft was to outright give away licenses to an OLPC build of Windows, running Sugar? This is still a bad thing, correct?

Absolutely. What benefit is Windows? It uses more resources, it is slower and it costs money to put on the OLPC. Why would Microsoft do that? They have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for their shareholders.

The only purpose is to reap money from them later. Linux is a truly altruistic gift that will empower the children with freedom and will not demand anything from them down the road.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226918)

What benefit is Windows? It uses more resources, it is slower and it costs money to put on the OLPC. Why would Microsoft do that? They have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for their shareholders.

The only purpose is to reap money from them later. Linux is a truly altruistic gift that will empower the children with freedom and will not demand anything from them down the road.
Ahh, yes, the 3 talking points that have been key to any WHY LINUX ROOLS YOU discussion since the mid 90s. Perhaps you didn't read the part where I said 'give away' as in 'without cost.' Companies make charitable donations all the time. Positive publicity. In any case, my troll radar has been going off for some time now, and its time for me to go find lunch and be productive. If you aren't a troll, maybe you should find something else mundane to politicize, I hear there are lots of cool stickers you can get for your truck.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (2, Insightful)

Mad Leper (670146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226480)

Then you admit that the only purpose of the OLPC project was to further the spread of your particular brand of open source evangelism, and the kids education be damned ?

You're not helping children at all if your just using them as pawns to promote your own ideals. In fact, I see no difference between your position and Microsoft's.

Attitudes like yours give the entire open source movement a bad name.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226332)

Yes, it is about pushing an agenda of helping children.
Glad we're on the same page.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

Aram Fingal (576822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226500)

I think it's about seeing that the project does not end up dependent on a proprietary software developer, whether it's Microsoft or Apple. If the project ends up primarily using proprietary software for the OS then they end up being dependent on that vendor to keep supporting the project in the future. With Open Source, you have support as long as there is community interest.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

vyrus128 (747164) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226848)

This belief is the cancer that is killing OLPC.

gb24chan.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225980)

Why should it matter to some poor kid, just needing a way to afford schoolbooks, what OS his laptop is running?

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (4, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226130)

Why should it matter to some poor kid, just needing a way to afford schoolbooks, what OS his laptop is running?

It may not "matter," per se' but why is "freedom" worth fighting for? Why would people rather be free than in a gilded cage?

An OLPC running Windows is nothing more than an attempt to trap even more people in Microsoft's monopoly and drain money from the poor.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (3, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226352)

Why should it matter to some poor kid, just needing a way to afford schoolbooks, what OS his laptop is running?

It won't matter in the short term. But in the long term, the kid will grow up, and he's likely to find that the only OS he learned how to use isn't being offered to adults for free. Then the price difference between the two paths may become rather large relative to his income.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

allthingscode (642676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226426)

It's not going to matter to him whether it's running Windows or Linux. What will matter is when he wants to update the OS to get some new features, he can either pay MS his family's monthly salary, or he can get it for free.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226508)

As B.P. pointed out, it should matter if one OS supports DRM and the other does not. Supporting DRM changes the book publisher's question: "What's in it for us?" If the goal is increase profits by selling books cheap, then by all means go DRM. If the goal is to educate, then don't. Is this about a quick buck or a long term investment? From the point of view of some poor kid, I rather think they'd prefer the investment.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226520)

Why should it matter to some poor kid if their textbooks are accurate, or if their laptop is a method to lock them in to a commercial relationship rather than a way to bootstrap local computer knowledge? Surely the kid won't know the difference or care?

We don't base such decisions on what a child feels is important; if we did, we'd be giving them $100 of candy instead of laptops.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

russellh (547685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226600)

Why should it matter to some poor kid, just needing a way to afford schoolbooks, what OS his laptop is running?
How very neocolonialist of you. This is the same as the question: why do poor farmers care who owns the patents for their seeds? As long as farmers are good obey copyright law, they don't have to worry about being crushed like a bug. Now: when in the world have dirt-poor kids been at risk of accidentally violating copyright law by inspecting an educational instrument that they have been given ? Never before. Let's keep it that way. They might learn something by opening it up and modifying it to suit. Who knows where that could lead. after all, the computer is a useful tool and nobody knows where or how it will really end up being used. With the freedom to inspect and modify, it will be far more useful: it is not a mere book.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

LS (57954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226668)

As others have already mentioned, books may go the way of DRM if Windows is running underneath. That is why it matters what OS the laptop is running.

LS

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226774)

Why should it matter to some poor kid, just needing a way to afford schoolbooks, what OS his laptop is running?

It matters a lot. As other posters have already pointed out, Microsoft wants to see OLPC dead. Are you too young to remember the NC? This the same game. Probably XP will never actually ship on an OLPC laptop. Microsoft will simply keep OLPC preoccupied with trying to make XP run on the thing. "Oh just hang on a few more months, I'm sure we can get XP to run OK, and then the users will be able to run so much software!" On the other side of the coin, Microsoft will be telling potential recipients of an OLPC laptop, "Oh, hang on! Don't take that icky Linux-based one. There will be an XP-based one coming out in a few months!" Delay, delay, delay.

If (and that's a big if) it does ship, it will only be as a lever for Microsoft to kill the project from within. Sugar will become unstable and will have to be disabled. Lots of things will stop working. "Updates are on the way to solve these crashes and other bugs!" they'll say. Updates that never arrive. Delay, delay, delay.

Do you see now why it's so very, very important to not be dependent on a closed, abusive monopoly for a project such as OLPC? (Point of fact, this should be enough reason why anyone would steer clear of Microsoft, but that's another tale.)

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226930)

Why should it matter to some poor kid, just needing a way to afford schoolbooks, what OS his laptop is running?

It shouldn't. But, as I've said from the start, OLPC isn't about kids or education - it's about politics and philosophy. These considerations dominate the OLPC.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226014)

So it was really never about providing affordable tools/technology to children who could not afford it, but simply FOSS indoctrination?

And really how is anyone trapped anywhere? If you'll admit that people are trapped in windows then you have to admit that linux must be a shitty alternativem (because there IS a choice). Sorry, you freetards can't have it both ways.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226308)

So it was really never about providing affordable tools/technology to children who could not afford it, but simply FOSS indoctrination?

If phrased differently, I may actually agree with this statement. The problem is the poverty. I repeat "poverty." Open Source / Free Software will help the poor and ask nothing in return.

Windows, on the other hand, is a "for profit" enterprise and will ultimately make the poor even more poor.

And really how is anyone trapped anywhere?

Have you not been paying attention to the U.S. and european anti-trust trials? Did you not see what happened to ISO?

The hypocrisy is staggering... (2, Insightful)

sracer (534850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226380)

I find it amazing how people who were all "visualize world peace", "think of the children", "let's sing cumbaya", and "brotherhood of mankind" who became part of the OLPC community via the G1G1 program can turn on a dime and be so vitriolic, judgmental, intolerant, and cynical when people don't fall lock-step into their beliefs.

As long as one toes the party line about Linux being the only platform viable for educating children, then all is well. But dare to consider the possibility that a slimmed down XP might also be a viable option... you better duck. You're immediately branded as shill for Microsoft.

Sugar on the XO is slow and incomplete. There still is no viable power management. The stylus areas are still not functional. The "view source code" button is "under development. 10,000's of XO laptops have been deployed worldwide that are not completely functional. Without working hardware drivers for particular aspects of the XO, how can anyone be certain that those features will actually work when the drivers ARE available? Finding out about a hardware design defect at that point in time is a little too late.

And the whole, "but if we don't use an open source operating system then little Johnny won't be able to view and tinker with the virtual memory manager!" justification just masks their own personal agenda.

Re:OLPC Has Lost Its Way (2, Insightful)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226548)

a free lightweight version of Windows XP which has been designed to run on the XO will cost more. How? No more hardware needed no licence costs. Granted it is MS trying to get the next generation hooked on its OS but its already the most popular OS on the planet and I think its better to give kids skills they are likely to use in the work place than skills they are less likely. your definition of free seems to be more than slightly warped.

Off track (2, Interesting)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225884)

Negroponte is getting off track of the goal of the OLPC. Instead of the $100 goal it's now around $177 I think. Take away that open source and involve microsoft and the price will increase again with the new necessary hardware, and maybe whatever they want for the software. I said it before and got berated, but I don't like the sound of this. It's not even that I want linux on them, but having some closed source doesn't seem to fit with affordability for the masses that the OLPC's goal was.

Re:Off track (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226460)

While I agree the goal is to have a $100 laptop. I don't see why the price would increase with an MS operating system. They have already stated that they will make a "XP lite" version which will work with the laptop, so no new hardware needed and they wont charge a licence for it so no extra cost of OS. Personally I don't see why people think that an MS operating system is bad for children its the most popular OS on the planet and most employers want employee's to be able to use it. As long as it doesn't affect the cost why not have as many operating systems on it as is beneficial to the child?

A question of good faith (4, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225892)

Many of the people who paid for the buy one, give one did so with the idea that they were spreading Open Source as well as getting computers into the hands of children that otherwise would not have them. Now that may or may not be a good thing, but that is why people thought they were doing. When you take people's money it is better to keep faith with them.

Nigeria, Please. (3, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225900)

Negroponte: Hey, look at me, I'm an attention whore!
The Market: *yawn*
FOSS: *yawn*
MS: $$$ !
Slashdot: -1, Troll
Negroponte: Hey, look at me, I'm an attention whore!

If it were a purely technical choice... (3, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225904)

they wouldn't have rejected OSX. And I say this as a mac hater.

Re:If it were a purely technical choice... (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226260)

Heh, I just pictured the iPhone interface running on the XO.

Re:If it were a purely technical choice... (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226684)

True but Mac don't seem to have been as willing to bend over backwards as MS and the Linux community has. Possibly since it doesn't want to been seen with the "3rd world" crowd. MS want to hook the new market as does Linux, Linux has the edge by being able to run on a lower spec and be less demanding. MS has the better software support and market share, with MS offering their OS for free and customised for the XO then it's really a no brainer on the surface. But really its all down to the results they push, I cant really see MS slimming down Windows that much (maybe back to W2K specs but still). If MS can get the OS to fit the hardware then I think that that may be enough to Tip the scales. Of course this will really piss off and on the Open source crowd.

Heresy : Think of the children? (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225932)

Last time I checked, I thought the goal of One Laptop Per Child was just that, One Laptop Per Child. It wasn't "come up with a way to push Linux everywhere"... they just used Linux because it happened to be free.

But... if Microsoft ponies up a few buckazoids and delivers some value to OLPC such that it helps OLPC meets its goals, then, how is that bad for the kids getting the computers, all Windows cracks aside?

Re:Heresy : Think of the children? (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226174)

In my opinion, the real thing at play here has nothing to do with the children, but rather has all to with the dominate OS. Meaning, MS and Intel were concerned in the early days that if OLPC took off that the upcoming user base of the developed nations would run the risk move away from the WinTel platform. It was because of this fear that they moved into this sector with a "money loss" approach with the intent of killing OLPC.

Finally, it is my prediction that now that OLPC is pretty much dying on the vine, so to speak, that MS, Intel, and the rest of the threatened players will slowly back away from it and let it all disappear... I also predict that the players, such as ASUS, who are producing the low end versions will eventually back away from doing this as well because they will determine at some point that product margins will be too low to be very appealing...

Re:Heresy : Think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226292)

Because then the computer as a educational tool about how computers work from top to bottom is no longer possible.

As the years progress, those using OLPC may very well grow up to design the new ones. OLPC can be used in colleges to teach real world kernel design, HW/SW interfaces, etc, all on a open non-trivial, non-toy ( unlike Minix ) system. This is only possible if the platform is open from top to bottom.

Otherwise, all those higher-ed educational opportunities are wasted. Because you can't see or work on MS code. Or fix/improve issues if they arise in the field, because in Peru, lets say a certain mix of driver/battery changes improves battery life. You think MS is flexible/willing enough to improve a platform that is earning them zero money.

Re:Heresy : Think of the children? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226770)

I believe some of the previous postings made very clear statements that already answered your question. Now that MS has infected OLPC, the kids will be limited to what corporate mindsets will allow. MS is a typical American corporation and as such, something like education is only important because it provides them with a workers to produce products and make them money. Education focused on enriching students individually and providing them with a solid base to make a better future for themselves and their families is NOT a goal. All the money Gates is doling out may have the mainstream media fooled but if you would take even a little time to research where the money is going, you would see his funding always favors big corporations over small grassroots organizations. A good example would be AIDS drugs for African nations -- cheaper and just-as-effective generics are bypassed for over-priced, high mark-up meds from the big pharmaceutical companies. It's quite clear that OLPC had started out as a unique educational project that has lately turned into just another laptop venture. The XO was a specialized learning tool, but now Mr. Negroponte has put it into direct competition with major computer companies, a very dog eat dog arena. Just another example of how American corporatism has degraded not just US public schools, but also education for kids across the world.

I don't understand (1)

finalnight (709885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23225948)

why they are mixing OS choice advocacy and getting kid a damn computer so they can learn and better themselves? Its kinda of sickening.

Red Baiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23225972)

OK, so this article quotes two people that say Sugar should be able to run on multiple platforms, and one person that one of the goals of the OLPC project is to

"instill in the education industry some of the culture and technology and morals of the open source movement."

This hardly suggests that he's a rabid anti-Microsoft fanatic. It's also not surprising that when you hire a bunch of Linux programmers they're going to have certain opinions about open source software.

My impression was that there were serious technical questions about getting XP to run on the XO, and it provided no technical advantages to Linux. Therefore any effort to get the XO to run XP and Sugar to run on XP was simply a waste of resources.

Let them eat laptops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226184)

Ahhh, and now the true motivations of the open-source community are finally revealed. It was never about getting cheap laptops in the hands of poor children. It was about Linux indoctrination. What a shameful and decadent joke this little experiment is turning in to.

Avatar (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226238)

The last Walter Bender.

New movie from M Night Shamalyananananan coming next year!

No primiary sources listed, ignore this article (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226276)

This article lists no primary sources of Negroponte's opinions, Bender's opinions, or in fact any other referneces to direct opinions. You may as well use a meta-analysis of psychiatric studies of psychiatric studies to validate cancer treatments.

I know it's a slow news day, but this is wasting time looking for flame wars.

Open source can free us all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226282)

Closed source = Diebold-style voting [slashdot.org] = totalitarianism by computer.

Open source = governance by the people [metagovernment.org] = a free and mature human civilization.

Especially if projects like OLPC can continue to spread the internet to everyone. Note that already worldwide, 1 in 5 people [internetworldstats.com] have access to the internet. Universal access is a matter of when not if.

sacrilege? no. stupid? yes. (4, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226306)

I just don't see the point of running Sugar on top of Windows or Windows on the OLPC. The only reasons for running Windows over Linux are related to drivers or Windows software. Let's look at those. Out of the box, Linux supports far more devices than Windows, and driver installers simply won't work well for the OLPC user community. And what Windows software does Negroponte think people will want to run on the OLPC? Sugar on Windows would require a lot of porting, and it's unlikely that it would work particularly well. If you want an educational software environment on Windows, get Squeak and eToys.

This is not even taking into account the fact that Microsoft would likely take advantage of any alliance with OLPC to destroy OLPC, like Intel tried, and like they have done with so many other business partners; Microsoft simply isn't a trustworthy business partner. Furthermore, it is reasonable and justifiable for volunteers to have the goal of exposing children to an alternative to the Microsoft Windows monopoly, rather than to further Microsoft's business interests; that's not "fundamentalism", it is long-term rational, economic self-interest. Few people would have volunteered if it had meant developing a free educational software platform for Windows.

So, Windows on the OLPC just doesn't make any sense, and Sugar on Windows also makes little sense. And an alliance with Microsoft doesn't make sense either. I certainly am not going to develop free software for some kind of get-them-hooked-early Windows educational platform. There are plenty of other projects that help children that I can volunteer for. Negroponte either needs to make a more convincing argument (good luck), or he can expect a mass exodus of volunteers; nobody is obligated to work for him or his vision.

Linux / Sugar implementation (2, Interesting)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226424)

I have an XO and I'm thrilled with it, and so is my 6yr old.

But there are annoyances beyond it being sluggish (which is perhaps to be expected with the low-end hardware)

The mouse goes random every now and again. The XO does not turn off reliably. Drawings get "out of control" as you draw a rectangle and it seems to go in any direction except where you want to put it. The paradigm of fetching a picture from the journal to paste into a document is just too time consuming. WiFi to a gateway has "issues".

It seems to me that if OLPC could make what's there work well, then a lot of issues about MS vs Linux would dry up.

They exclude Flash and Opera which are free. (1)

DustCollector (903185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226438)

>>or closed source anything

Yep, that's why Opera and Flash are not included by default on the OLPC. Sounds "extremist" to me too.

One shouldn't build an organization with the overriding goal of defeating Microsoft. That just gets Microsoft's attention and arouses their anger. No, the goal that's been forgotten is reaching the children.

That said, WinXP would be a frustrating experience for children -- patch Tuesday, registry corruption, viruses, default admin permission, etc.

In contrast, the OLPC hardware is thoughtfully designed and the software included is well suited for children. But to limit software to Open Source only is myopic.

Re:They exclude Flash and Opera which are free. (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226858)

I don't really see why they should include flash. The XO's resources are precious. As for Opera, Firefox 3 is a very strong competitor in efficiency, and it is easier to make it work with the rest of the system (from addons to editing the source code to making a Sugar UI)

A kid with a free laptop with Windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23226540)

...is better off than a kid without a laptop. Again, the world's not perfect. Compromise means giving up something that you want in exchange for the other side giving up something that they want. OLPC using Windows may not be the optimal solution but it's better than the alternative of OLPC not existing at all, or in such low numbers in the wild as to be irrelevant.

Posting this with Sugar on Ubuntu... (3, Interesting)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226562)

...which begs the question: Why not just fork Sugar and get it to run on an ubuntu-minimal install (with some tweaks, obviously)? Has Mark Shuttleworth weighed in on the OLPC situation yet? Maybe he would get behind some low-cost PCs running Ubuntu/Sugar.

Oh, and anyone who wants to run Sugar on Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy can find the packages in the "universe" repository.

Sugar is the problem (5, Interesting)

rcallan (1256716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226644)

I see no problem with allowing XP, if MS wants to pay for the development. Sugar is so slow and unusable (yes I've used it recently and thoroughly) that it actually gives XP a chance (but not a good one) of achieving comparable responsiveness.

Sugar is a blatant reinvention of the wheel, with the motivation being to evangelize a particular type of interface.

A well designed os is invisible to and unnoticed by the user. I think the same thing is true for a window manager (which is what sugar boils down to at the end of the day). They should just pick a simple X implementation that meets their requirements, pick a simple window manager _that is actually being used daily by people in the real world_ and move on to the applications and content, which is what really matters.

With sugar they're falling into the windows trap of "the users are idiots, let's bend over backwards to dumb down the interface." I think smart kids are going to be pissed when they realize no one in developed countries uses sugar, and they see how fast their system can run without sugar. The smart kids are really the ones olpc should be targeting, because they are the ones that will grow up to make a difference in these countries.

Microsoft, the fickle mistress.... (1)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 6 years ago | (#23226656)

give into her temptations with caution, for those memories of passion shall haunt you for the rest of your days.
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