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OLPC Gets $5.6M Grant To Develop Tablet With Marvell

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the one-hip-device-per-child dept.

Handhelds 100

tugfoigel writes "According to Xconomy, 'The One Laptop per Child Foundation and Santa Clara, CA-based semiconductor maker Marvell have cemented a partnership announced last spring, with Marvell agreeing to provide OLPC with $5.6 million to fund development of its next generation tablet computer. Nicholas Negroponte says the deal, signed in the past week or so but not previously announced, runs through 2011. "Their money is a grant to the OLPC Foundation to develop a tablet or tablets based on their chip," he says. The OLPC tablet ... is known as the XO 3 because it represents the third-generation of the XO laptop currently sold by OLPC (the foundation scrapped plans for its e-book-like XO 2 computer and is moving straight to the tablet). ... The deal, he says, means the tablet's development is "fully funded."'"

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Dang, not Marvel comics (2, Funny)

LetterRip (30937) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788208)

Anyone else disappointed it wasn't a Marvel comics themed OLPC :)

Re:Dang, not Marvel comics (1)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788280)

Yeah. Man, I am NEVER going to get my Deadpool tablet at this rate...

Re:Dang, not Marvel comics (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793702)

It's probably better that way. A Deadpool OLPC would just continually make fun of you and randomly explode.

Re:Dang, not Marvel comics (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788294)

Since these things run on batteries, I think it would be a DC comics themed OLPC anyway.

And we need this why? (5, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788238)

The OLPC project went nowhere. They took money and work from the community, then they sold themselves to microsoft, and achieved none of all their goals. The project went nowhere.

There are already awesome tablets like the aPad that exist right now and retail for less than 200 dollars. I'm sure you could drive them below 100 if you built enough and bought them altogether.

Why are we still listening to the OLPC's pipe dreams about developing hardware? They already proved that they can't get anything done, and that they will sell out if necessary. Want to do something? The product you want is already out there. Buy it, drive its price down, and start delivering.

Re:And we need this why? (2, Insightful)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788286)

OLPC should be a Linux distro that runs on any major architecture, and is slim enough that you can throw it on a used computer from 1998 and run it without issue. It should also run on the glut of shitty quality me-too tablets that have been "announced" since the iPad came out.

What they need is something made of metal, with a metal screen protector, that opens up to expose a solar panel. That way the kids can prop the thing up in the window while they are outside playing, and when they get home it is all charged up and ready to go. Make it waterproof and you have a real winner.

Re:And we need this why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788352)

You mean like Sugar on a Stick.

Re:And we need this why? (4, Insightful)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788442)

Well, if Sugar on a Stick already exists, why are they fucking around with hardware?

In a lot of poor areas, power is still available. There are a nearly infinite number of used, but still fully capable computers out there. Maybe the OLPC project should be helping schools generate power and shipping them used computers by the palate.

OLPC jumped the shark when they bowed down to MS. How are kids supposed to learn unbounded when they have to deal with Windows? They are making users out of these kids, when they should be making explorers out of them.

Re:And we need this why? (-1, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788452)

How are kids supposed to learn unbounded when they have to deal with Windows?

A poor workman blames his tools.

Re:And we need this why? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788496)

That's a Bad Analogy. Sometimes the tool is clearly broken. Or sometimes it's clearly a case of being forced to use the wrong tool and then being called a sore loser when you fail. Microsoft loves forcing everyone to buy a bag of hammers when what they really need is one hammer, one screwdriver, and one saw.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788780)

That's a Bad Analogy.

Well his user name is BadAnalogyGuy so I suppose that makes sense. Maybe he is a troll, or maybe it's just an attempt at meta-humor.

Perhaps a *WHOOSH* is in order.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788532)

So build me a house using nothing but a piece of pocket lint and an expired bus transfer ticket.

A good workman has the right tools.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788592)

windows is the wrong tool, not because it is crappy OS (it is, but it is sufficient for most tasks),
but because it won't run on hardware cheap enough to have made the OLPC practical and barely ran on the hardware they ended up using.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788880)

My Ericsson MC12 runs WinCE at 44Mhz in 4Mb RAM

My Ipaq ran WinCE too

try again

Re:And we need this why? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788902)

Don't be obtuse. CE is a WINO.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788950)

Windows CE is not the same as Windows x86.

Try again.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792668)

WinNT works on my Pentium 90, is that good enough for you ?

Re:And we need this why? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791964)

Wrong, not only is there WinCE, but you might want to Google "TinyXP Beast Edition" which runs great on a 600Mhz with 64Mb of RAM. I know because I tried it and it was quite snappy. If some kid with no access to the code can make XP run that well I'm sure MSFT can do even better. There is also WinXP Embedded, which IIRC only needs a 500Mhz and 128Mb of RAM.

If you wanted to give them Linux to teach them programming that is one thing, but acting like all Windows run like Vista is just FUD. I just don't know why someone hasn't given Negroponte the heave ho and made the OLPC a success. It is pretty obvious to anyone that they should have sold to the first world out of the gate and used the economies of scale to drive the cost down for ALL, but Negroponte seems to have never met a bridge he didn't want to burn. first trying to force charity with his "get one, give one" that made the machines much higher than most were willing to pay, then burning the FOSS developers by going with MSFT, then burning Sugar, he just sucks.

I only hope when he finally gives up someone will get the original OLPC specs and make it for all. It isn't like there aren't poor kids in America too you know, and the original OLPC design would have been a great first laptop for kids.

Re:And we need this why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788878)

Half the children in the groups they are aiming at don't have electric power available.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788936)

How are kids supposed to learn unbounded when they have to deal with Windows?

The XO targeted grade school kids - in third-world countries. Think Reader Rabbit not hacking the kernel.

Re:And we need this why? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33790194)

>The XO targeted grade school kids - in third-world countries. Think Reader Rabbit not hacking the kernel.

Really? When I was in grade school we did LOGO and on the Atari and Apple 8-bits.

You expect all students to be average and without curiosity. Kids are really smart, and have more aptitude than most adults.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791230)

When you were in grade school you had teachers that at least knew some of what they were talking about, you had the ability to read your own language and your class all had the same teaching material. Why don't we start with just raising the basics first?

Re:And we need this why? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818006)

Why don't we start with just raising the basics first?

Uh, people have been trying that for a few thousand years, and look how far it got us? In much of the world where the OLPC is being delivered, working on "just the basics first" means knowingly condemning them to the same economic backwater status that they've always had.

Maybe the OLPC won't fix all the world's educational problems. This is almost certain, if fact, because it's going against the local power structure that has kept the population uneducated all along. But at least they're trying something that has a chance of making a change. It's interesting to watch how it's working out. Or not, in some areas [nytimes.com] .

(For those without nytimes accounts, the article describes the recent impounding at the port of entry of a shipment of "laptop computers" to a school district in Iraq. After sitting in the warehouse a while, the shipment was declared non-deliverable and auctioned off for a few dollars per computer to an unnamed "businessman" who since seems to have disappeared. Typical for some parts of the world.)

Re:And we need this why? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33820462)

This is almost certain, if fact, because it's going against the local power structure that has kept the population uneducated all along.

Well, I live in Thailand and the reason for the poor education here is simply because there is no money for it. Same for Cambodia, Laos, etc.

It's also the reason that Thailand dropped out of the OLPC project in the first place, lack of funding.

Just because one country is having problems doesn't mean you can condemn all countries as being equally bad with the same problems.

Also your story is irrelevant to OLPC because with OLPC the government funds the laptops, they're not gifts so in that instance it wouldn't be theft.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791410)

Really? When I was in grade school we did LOGO and on the Atari and Apple 8-bits.

We know we know Grandpa. And then you had to walk 15miles barefoot and uphill both ways to get to and from school.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791206)

The schools OLPC is trying to distribute to have to get donations for paper, pens and books. These are not the kind of schools you went to as a kid that have a ton of computers lying around.

Also haven't you considered for a moment the skills needed to install linux on old hardware? Most of these schools don't even have teachers that speak english, let alone any basic computer usage.

Forgetting for a moment that there are no old computers lying around, the power bills a school would have to pay for old hardware compared to a very low power specifically built device is enormous. So no, there are not an infinite number of used computers out there, perhaps in your country but not in rural Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, etc.

You are missing the point of this project with your Linux and Microsoft speech. It's about using technology to raise the standards of education in countries which don't even have competent teachers.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788400)

That's a fabulous pile of should. Sadly, producing kid-ready products takes a little more work than that.

Only one quibble from you list is that few of the target markets for OLPC had a computer in 1998, and thus it's not a good use case target. The hardware is new, but cheap.

Re:And we need this why? (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788480)

I used an OLPC for the first time at a free software event in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago, The units they had were on loan from a school. It is a fantastic machine. Very rugged and attractive to children. I would probably prefer a stock ubuntu install instead of using the sugar UI, but the hardware is open so you can do that.

I think its a shame more people didn't get an opportunity to buy them.

Re:And we need this why? (3, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789106)

I think its a shame more people didn't get an opportunity to buy them.

Lots of people had an opportunity to buy them. "Buy one Give one", for example.

The problem was OLPC was vaporware, at least as far as being able to provide the "buy one" that I tried to buy. They charged my credit card the day I ordered, then tried dragging the delivery date out until after the time limit for contesting the charge. They lied to me about delivery dates about three times, claiming they had them in stock one day, then two days later admitting they'd been out of stock for a month.

I'd have cut them a lot of slack if they'd been honest about being able to provide what they charged me for, and didn't charge me until it shipped, but they shot themselves in both feet the way they did things.

If they've gotten their act together now, good for them. Once burned, twice shy.

Re:And we need this why? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789168)

Sounds like manufacturing let them down. Also they were first into the cheap netbook market so there may have been a burst of demand.

Re:And we need this why? (3, Insightful)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793376)

Sounds like manufacturing let them down.

You can't blame the manufacturers for charging a credit card without shipping the product.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791244)

So, what happened, did you ever get it, or at least got your money back?

Re:And we need this why? (0)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791478)

I got mine just fine. Were you gen 1 or 2.

Re:And we need this why? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788762)

"then they sold themselves to microsoft"

There are almost 2 million olpc laptops out there, and the number that run Windows is close to zero. Typical slashdot ignorance.

Re:And we need this why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788818)

The OLPC project went nowhere. They took money and work from the community, then they sold themselves to microsoft, and achieved none of all their goals. The project went nowhere.

Microsoft business as usual.

In short, you're an idiot. (2, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788824)

Did you miss the part where they put out 1.5 million laptops [wikipedia.org] ?
Yeah, a $100 target would have been better. Twice as good in fact.
Sticking strictly with open and free is debatable. If they can wheedle a few million out of MS in exchange for some empty promices, so much the better.
The product that they want IS the XO. It has a lot of nice features that other cheap laptops don't.

Do they really need a tablet version? Shrug, I dunno. But to say that the OLPC project went nowhere is a bold faced lie. Just because you don't see them in walmart doesn't mean much. (but yeah, I'd like to see them in retail too.)

Re:And we need this why? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788908)

They took money and work from the community, then they sold themselves to microsoft, and achieved none of all their goals

The XO was presented as a solution for every culture.

The XO hardware.

The FOSS software.

The constructivist philosophy of education straight from the Western media lab.

The education minister was not invited or encouraged to express any doubts.

He only task was to sign the purchase order.

The Microsoft pitch was simpler:

We will sell you an OS and an office suite.

The rest is up to you.

We won't tell you what to teach your kids. We won't tell you how to teach your kids.

Significant deployments of the XO outside of Latin America were perhaps 10% of the whole - and that as much as anything shatters the illusion of universality. Deployment of XO laptops [wikipedia.org]

Re:And we need this why? (2, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789232)

The Microsoft pitch was simpler:

We will sell you an OS and an office suite, and give you a huge bribe.

The rest is up to you.

Fixed that for you.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33790988)

Just dumping computers on poor schools isn't what the OLPC project is about.

Any charity that has gone in and just dumped a bunch of aid on a country (not in a disaster of course) has always been a failure, especially food aid. I watched a good ted talk from a women trying to get a village to help themselves out of poverty. Some douche bags ruined all her hard work by coming in dumping a bunch of food and then leaving. Suddenly everyone there stopped working on the farms and tada the cycle repeats itself.

You might think it's great to donate this style however it only satisfies your own selfish desire to do something quick about a situation and doesn't help anyone actually get out of the situation they're in. It's the reason africa still has problems even after the millions and millions spent over there on aid.

A more specific reason why just dumping an OS and office suite wouldn't work for OLPC is because:

1) The people they're giving computers to have in most cases never used a computer before. These are places with running water and electricity but no books or paper to write with in their schools.
2) An OS and office suite isn't a computer. Why would a government pay for lots of OS and Office installations for computers that don't exist?
3) Software isn't the difficult issue with OLPC. Hardware cost, distribution and education are way above anything related to software.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792032)

The age old issue of giving a fish vs teaching to fish?

Re:And we need this why? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788978)

There are already awesome tablets like the aPad that exist right now and retail for less than 200 dollars. I'm sure you could drive them below 100 if you built enough and bought them altogether.

The aPad isn't awesome, but it does exist and is a functional tablet device that can be had for $100. I think it demonstrates that OLPC could produce a rugged 7" tablet for less than $100 and it would be great for kids. My own feeling however is that the hardware is the easy bit and it will be the software which will prove difficult. I don't think much can be salvaged from OLPC 1.x, not the OS nor the sofware without a substantial rewrite to support touch based input.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789250)

Why would the OS need a rewrite? Only the user interface needs to know about touch.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792590)

Because the OS in this case is a stripped down Red Hat distribution with X11 on top and it's not suitable for a tablet. It uses too much memory, takes too long to start and X11 is utterly unsuitable for touch. I expect Sugar is also woefully unsuited for touch devices and would require major work, especially if it has to be ported.

There are embedded Linux dists which would be more suitable, or even Android which is built from the ground up for smart phones and touch devices.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

elgaard (81259) | more than 3 years ago | (#33800744)

X11 does not take that much memory and works fine with touch screens.

I had a G.Mate YOPY (still have it, but not used it for years).

It has 128 MByte RAM and a touch screen. And X runs just fine. You could run OpenOffice remote over X.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791212)

Yeah, the question is, why the fuck do we need the olpc project then? The hardware is already out there. Do you want a tougher *Pad? add a rubber case.

The software was heavily developed by the community (until olpc sold out to microsoft). Now we have android. So OLPC software is rendered obsolete.

So, why do we need OLPC again?

Re:And we need this why? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792608)

Yeah, the question is, why the fuck do we need the olpc project then? The hardware is already out there. Do you want a tougher *Pad? add a rubber case.

Any device for children has an exacting list of requirements for hardware, software, localization, educational curricula, infrastructure for administration / distribution / repair and all the bureaucracy that goes along with it.

I'm sure you could stick a rubber case on an aPad but that doesn't make it fit for the task.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789370)

The OLPC project went nowhere.

Actually, it went to the countries that chose to by the systems.

They took money and work from the community, then they sold themselves to microsoft

No, they didn't sell themselves to anybody.

and achieved none of all their goals.

"None of all" is a kind of weird construction, but they did, in fact, acheive much of what they set out to do in terms of getting computers, software, and content into the hands of students outside of the first world to enable education on the constructivist model.

Re:And we need this why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789436)

Its time to get that head out of the sand. 2 million XO laptops all with Linux. Hop on here (http://blog.laptop.org/) and take a look. Of course, you are a slashdotter, so you won't really read anything, but I dare ya!

Re:And we need this why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33789948)

and achieved none of all their goals.

I believe their goal was to embezzle loads of cash through their corporate partners.

They reached that goal and then some.

Re:And we need this why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33791384)

OLPC machines do not ship with Microsoft software. It's possible that, in the future, a small fraction of the total number of units might ship with the option to dual-boot Windows and Linux/Sugar, but to date no units have shipped from the factory with Windows. So all this talk of OLPC "selling out to Microsoft" is just hot air.

It is true that there was a big uproar about Microsoft, but there was very little intersection between what actually happened and what people thought.

As the person who did the work to make dual-boot possible, I am speaking from a position of knowledge here.

Re:And we need this why? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33794098)

I don't understand how people thought they completely sold out to Microsoft.

An SD slot was included for increased capacity, and for standard mass storage that could be addressed by Windows (compared to direct access flash). The Firmware was updated to be friendlier to booting other operating systems. That's about the extent of what support they gave to Microsoft. Microsoft still had to write their own drivers, and figure out how to market it as a complete education product. However these two modifications made it possible to dual boot the system into more useful alternative linux distros which many G1G1 recipients did to make the device useful.

However the whole focus of the OLPC has remained on the Sugar OS and NOT of Microsoft

However the whole OLPC project is an example of what not to do. Poor deployment plans, Nicholas Negroponte, Sugar. Sugar is a great concept, but it ignores the fact that the vast majority of kids don't give a shit about developing but Sugar is developed around the idea that kids will want to program everything, then includes poorly documented code that they can't follow. And there's dozens of half-baked "learn to code" tools. Kids need a learning tool, not a programming tool. Sugar is Bugs-galore, and there's variations between system versions that keep breaking apps, and makes it frustrating to develop for. People complain about Windows being "Too heavy" for such a system. Try running sugar in a VM. It gobbles up RAM, and CPU with it's scripting based environment.

Personally I think they'd do better to stick to a more standard GUI environment, then it would have access to a huge library of applications, and be easier to code for as it would be a shared target with other Linux systems.

Re:And we need this why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795132)

Where the hell do you get your information? There was some talk about making Windows run on the XO, but that is what went nowhere. All deployments of the XO use Sugar, which runs on Linux. If you have a recent Linux distribution chances are very good that Sugar shipped with it, so you can install it on any older hardware you might have. Over a million XO's have shipped, and there have been successful deployments in South America and elsewhere. The project is incredibly ambitious, so it is not surprising that it has not delivered everything that was hoped for, but it has delivered and will continue to deliver a great deal.

As for the awesome aPad, I own one. The battery life is two hours at most, it's good for reading text files and EPUBs but useless for PDFs and DjVus, and educational content (other than books) is nonexistent. The XO laptop is far superior in every way, can read every free book out there, and has hundreds of educational Activities for free.

apad $139 (1)

snadrus (930168) | more than 3 years ago | (#33796232)

Looking at the product, it's available for $139.

Re:And we need this why? (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797382)

The OLPC project went nowhere. They took money and work from the community, then they sold themselves to microsoft, and achieved none of all their goals. The project went nowhere.

Not this old bullshit again. OLPC didn't "sell out to Microsoft" any more than, for example, Linux Emporium or System76 has. You can install Windows on an OLPC laptop (apparently, though I've never seen the process) & you can install Windows on a Linux Emporium or System76 laptop. Nobody ever does install Windows on an OLPC though, since every one of the million+ laptops out there is running Linux.

There are already awesome tablets like the aPad that exist right now and retail for less than 200 dollars. I'm sure you could drive them below 100 if you built enough and bought them altogether.

And there were plenty of laptops around when OLPC was first announced. What's your point? Are you yet another lazy journalist who sees "$100 laptop" and doesn't bother reading any of the explanations, justifications, goals or philosophy of the project?

Why are we still listening to the OLPC's pipe dreams about developing hardware? They already proved that they can't get anything done, and that they will sell out if necessary. Want to do something? The product you want is already out there. Buy it, drive its price down, and start delivering.

If you want a cheap tablet PC then sure, go ahead and buy one that's already out there. A problem the OLPC project stumbled into was that some of their hardware looked cool to people who wanted a cheap laptop, but who didn't bother reading/comprehending the actual specifications. Thus many people bought into the Give 1 Get 1 scheme only to be disappointed at the machine they got, saying it's too small, the keyboard isn't standard size, it's not got much RAM, the processors's not very fast, it's not got much storage, etc. when in fact, the delivered machines had HIGHER specs than were originally envisioned (eg. the RAM was doubled to 256MB)! Of course many of these people jumped ship to netbooks when they came out, since their grandiose ideals of changing the world turned out, in fact, to boil down to wanting the same thing they already had but cheaper.

Personally I'm really happy with my XO. It's incredibly portable, has excellent battery life, is completely usable outside in the sun and has really good Wifi connectivity. I use it a lot for development.

OLPC (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788250)

So will they cave in and make it Windows compatible?

Seems to me that a nice low-power ARM OLPC would be a lot more useful in a low-tech environment. The battery would last longer anyway.

Re:OLPC (2, Interesting)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788498)

When you are satisfying consumer demand, is it caving?

Re:OLPC (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788612)

Consumer demands and what happens in IT are two very different things. People want applications, not an OS. The OS is just like a disk, a memory module or some other mindnumbingly boring thing. As long as it runs your applications, works well and stays the hell out of the way people couldnt care less about what OS they run.

Using Windows is not possible if your goal is to make a computer that just works without loads of management and fuzzing about. Managementwise, it really sucks.

Re:OLPC (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788714)

When you are satisfying consumer demand, is it caving?

Depends on your point of view. From the point of view of their (ex) development community, most of whom walked away when they fastened on to the Microsoft's teat, yup, they caved like a nun bluffing on a pair of nines.

Re:OLPC (1)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789100)

Depends on your point of view. From the point of view of their (ex) development community, most of whom walked away when they fastened on to the Microsoft's teat, yup, they caved like a nun bluffing on a pair of nines.

I fail to see why this matters; the machines were not intended to give the "developer community" (whatever that is) the warm fuzzies; they were intended to help kids in underdeveloped countries get access to technology and education, and better their lives. If using Windows opens more doors for those kids (which is what some of the countries in question said), then going with Windows is the right thing to do. If that nets the OLPC project a few million from MS, so much the better: they'll be able to offer more machines to more children.

If your affirmation is right, I'll have to wonder at the values of some in the "developer community". They seem to care more about some irrelevant (and IMO stupid) political point than about helping poor kids. Not a very appealing behavior, I'd say.

Re:OLPC (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792240)

And it's exactly that "screw the developer community" attitude that killed XO-1 as an interesting platform.

Here's the crib notes: if you're going to ship a Windows device, you just order a million EEE PCs and sell them at cost, with a solar cell to charge the battery. Heck, you could ship Linux distros on them. XO-1 was always a vanity project, and when it went Windows, it ceased being of any interest to the people who could have helped make it succeed.

Re:OLPC (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33793606)

The EEE (and any other netbook) PCs are far too fragile and not repairable by end users to the same degree that the X0-1 is. If I wanted to ship a computer to kids, the XO-1 is still a great choice, even running Windows.

Re:OLPC (2)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788974)

In this case, it wasn't "consumers" who wanted Windows on the XO, it was Microsoft and their local lobbyists.

Windows is a maintenance nightmare. These kids would end up as part of a botnet faster than you can say Ballmer.

Re:OLPC (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788644)

Well if they're getting funding from Marvell, I'm betting it has "must run ARM" is somewhere in the contract.

Marvell's CPUs are lackluster (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788314)

Actually, the core of the Marvell CPU is incredible. It's bus width and speed are what hamstring it.

Imagine if Usain Bolt was beat with a whip every day. He wouldn't be a very fast runner after a while.

Re:Marvell's CPUs are lackluster (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788334)

The speed of the core doesn't really matter that much for rural learning. If these kids need to do galactic simulations, the OLPC project can pitch in and buy some time on a big service like EC2.

Re:Marvell's CPUs are lackluster (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788420)

The OS still needs to be supported, as well as any peripherals. That can't be dumped off to the cloud.

Re:Marvell's CPUs are lackluster (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788556)

With Linux the OS supports itself. Teach the kids how to use man and apropos and ls and cd, and they can take care of the rest themselves. This is how I learned Unix when I was a kid.

My point was, for the usual desktop things, an old PC works fine. If they need tons of CPU horsepower because they figured out a possible cure for AIDS, then they can dump that problem off somewhere that has the horsepower to deal with the problem.

Re:Marvell's CPUs are lackluster (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791018)

How can you teach kids to use man when they don't even know how to read english let alone their own language? You seem to be completely missing the point of the OLPC project. It's not to make a ton of unix hackers, its to better the education of children is rural schools that receive little funding for books, paper and quality teachers.

The OS is the tool. Nothing else.

Re:Marvell's CPUs are lackluster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33791900)

They will learn (written) English from using the computer.

And it will run Duke Nukem Forever (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788358)

These clowns couldn't get the XO-1 out without getting way too cozy with Microsoft and abandoning everything which made geeks interested in it. They wouldn't get the XO-2 out of R&D because the tablet is the new hotness. Whatever. They will tank it out too. If you want my attention, scrap sugar and put on Android. Otherwise don't bother.

Sugar (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788546)

"scrap sugar and put on Android. Otherwise don't bother."

No, no, no. Put on android, and put Sugar on that. Sugar's not an OS, and I hear it's nice. Development of sugar shouldn't slow down production of the tablet, and the obvious way to develop a tablet quickly is to use the Android (and Linux) drivers already available. Get it up quick with Android (or Linux) and then work on Sugar on that. The teams shouldn't overlap.

It isn't about you (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788984)

These clowns couldn't get the XO-1 out without getting way too cozy with Microsoft and abandoning everything which made geeks interested in it.

That attidude made the XO a plaything for the geek - when what it was meant to be was a learning aid for the grade school child.

Re:And it will run Duke Nukem Forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33791300)

They don't care about your attention; it's for poor kids, not overweight americans that still live in their mothers basement.

Also they've shipped over 1.5 million XO-1's to kids. That's 1.5 million kids that now have access to books they didn't previously had. That's a success and specifically what they sort out to achieve, not to be your new play thing.

Marvell (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788470)

That chip is really, really good. I've tried it for several projects, and even though it came second to the freescale CPU's because of the requirements - if there wouldn't have been those requirements (of the industrial kind), then that marvell chip would've won out. Big time.

Re:Marvell (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788502)

That must be second in a two chip race, because both NVidia's Tegra and Qualcomm's Snapdragon are leaps and bounds ahead of Marvell and Freescale as far as features and performance goes. Price is a different story, of course.

Scorpion core is amazing. It's just too bad about the rest of the SoC.

Re:Marvell (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788528)

Duh, not Scorpion core.

Shiva core.

Details? (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788602)

"[Shiva] core is amazing. It's just too bad about the rest of the SoC."

Can you take a few minutes to elaborate? Why is Shiva so wonderful, and what stinks about the rest of the system on a chip? What's weak? What does it not offer?

Also I get that Tegra and Snapdragon are much faster than Marvell's stuff, but what features are they offering (besides good video/GPU) that Marvell's SoC lacks?

Sounds like you have some helpful experience. Please share.

Re:Details? (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788750)

I will admit off the bat that my info is about 9 months old, and I know that Marvell was working on fixing the main problem of their SoC, namely it's 16 bit bus width. While the core itself is really fast (I'm sure you've been shown the raw performance metrics), the limited memory bandwidth means that the CPU is idling most of the time waiting for instructions to cache. Once they are cached, as in most "core benchmarks", it turns out performance at almost Atom speeds.

Marvell had a specific niche market in mind when it built the chip, but that market hasn't really taken off. They are trying to shop it around to find other markets it might stick, but as a general purpose chip it can't hold its own against the low end of the market on price or the high end on performance.

For what it was designed for (on the fly image processing and display), it is really great. The image coprocessor and video pipeline is much better than the i.MX5x's, but if you ran actual OS benchmarks, you'd see Marvell lose their advantage pretty quickly. In an industrial setting, Freescale has the advantage since their main focus is on markets where ruggedization is required.

It could be different now. They should have revved the chip at least twice by now, so the above could be all old info.

Re:Details? (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788862)

Thanks for the info.

A quick Google suggests that Marvell's been busy, and that they have some higher-performance designs now, but maybe that's just buzz control. And we don't know what would be going into the OLPC, as they stray away from the Moby reference design (to something LOWER cost?), or whether Marvell will improve things.

Were you looking at the Armada 600 (which is in the current Moby reference) or some other Sheeva-based (Armada?) SoC from Marvell?

Re:Details? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788876)

I am prevented from saying. ;-)

Re:Details? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788822)

BTW, for the money, Freescale probably has the best cost/performance ratio of any ARMv7 CPU out there.

This is wonderful news! (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788512)

The tablet market is already crushing itself to a zero margins race to the bottom even before the first Android tablets hit the shelves. The sweet spot for tablets is going to be $150.

With OLPC and Marvell getting into this, we can expect fairly good tablets with usable screens and good interfaces to be pushed closer to $100, and everyone will have to figure out how to follow suit or die.

I am happy about this because I am not a tablet manufacturer. I anticipate being a tablet user, though, and probably a tablet software developer, and I am going to profit on the pain of all these companies as they are forced to find ways to make tablets for closer and closer to free.

Re:This is wonderful news! (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788740)

You mean like the "$100" XO-1, which you could obtain retail for the sum of $400? I wouldn't hold out for that $100 sweet spot if I were you.

Re:This is wonderful news! (2, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788890)

Heck yeah. The OLPC guys came out with a neato box for $200, and you had to buy one buy buying two (on for you, one for a kid). They missed their mark by something like a factor of two, but definitely came up with a bunch of good ideas for an educational device, and a cheap one, at that.

Sure they'll miss the mark on this one, too. But it'll still push the industry downward. It won't take much innovation to get prices even lower, but it will take some. OLPC will provide some of that.

Re:This is wonderful news! (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792234)

How does selling a "$100" device for $400 in any wah "push the industry downward"? If anything, it shows that there's a market for massively overpriced, over-hyped devices.

Re:This is wonderful news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788816)

You want them to make tablets closer to free? Be careful what you wish for. The iPad is already enough of a closed system that they could easily turn it into an advertising platform. That means anybody could do the same, since the standard's been set for tablets. It could also turn out like cell phones, where you can get an iPhone for the $100 "sweet spot" but you're stuck paying huge amounts for the data traffic.

Re:This is wonderful news! (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789006)

See, I must disagree. The only successful tablet that you can buy is from Apple. Everybody and their mother put their toe in the tablet water, mainly to benefit the shareholders by appearing to take some action, but nobody other than Archos has a decently priced tablet yet, and the Archos sucks.

The tablet race only has one runner in it, and a guy in a wheelchair, and about sixty thousand ghosts who appear to move no more swiftly than a piece of fluff in a light breeze.

OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (4, Interesting)

feenberg (201582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788514)

The good news is that the Marvel chip won't support Windows.

The bad news is that the child with an OLPC while she may learn to do art on her computer, won't learn to do anything helpful in any labor market on earth. With a tablet, she won't even learn to touch type. I know that the project wants to prepare her for more self-actualizing career, such as poet, designer, president or CIO, very few will have that opportunity if they can't get an entry level job in the urban sector.

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788870)

Uh... maybe she won't be a grunt laborer then? Maybe she'll sell out her artistic ability?
Did you know that there are people online who live off of donations in exchange for regular updates? It's a mysterious world called webcomics [wikipedia.org] . I suggest you check it out.


(and having successfully distracted my foe for the foreseeable future, I'm now claiming victory).

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788906)

won't learn to do anything helpful in any labor market on earth

Wow. Right. So, access to the web including sites such as Wikipedia will do nothing to prepare her for the larger world. Rapid, low cost communication won't help either. Diverse news sources that provide perspective to villagers are equally pointless. Only if it runs MS Office and Windows 7 is it of any use.

Jeebus.

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788966)

I haven't found that my inability to use a slide rule has negatively impacted my career.

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (1)

willyg (159173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789486)

Fascinating...

Likewise, I haven't found that my ABILITY to use a slide rule has *positively* impacted my career.

But, they were still pushing them when I went to school. Now, Get Off My Lawn...

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792008)

But there is no known replacement for the keyboard.

Websurfing is not going to raise any nation from poverty.

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (2)

simplexion (1142447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33790978)

How is the parent comment interesting?

The child-driven education [ted.com]
As long as they have access to information especially access to the internet they will learn a lot. That video IS interesting.

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (2)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33791096)

The OLPC gives a child in a rural area an opportunity to have a better education then otherwise.

I live in Thailand where news came out recently that 80% of teachers failed their own subjects they were teaching. Books get donated to rural schools however because all the books are donated they aren't the same so it makes teaching a class incredibly difficult. Knowing English here significantly increases your chances of getting a better job or education however there are no good english teachers in villages because no one wants to live and work in bumsville, center of nowhere or in the south where there is a chance you'll get shot.

An OLPC project here would do great things:
- You could load it with PDFs so that the whole class could be using the same materials
- You could load it with English lesson audio so that children learn how to pronounce words correctly even if their teacher doesn't know english.

There are lots more examples however just these two things would be a huge increase in education for this country.

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792714)

she won't even learn to touch type!!!!

Wow, what a big loss!

So she won't be able to use Microsoft word or touchtype? Let me tell you something, how do you communicate with your mother, your friends... touch typing???? Speech recognition and stylus-touch over screen is the future for input on computers, is way more natural, faster and gives more information(nuances and emotions). How do I know it?, I'm working on speech recognition today. In the future touchtyping will be like slide rules as metrometro has pointed out.

Re:OLPC software isn't attractive to parents (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797442)

The good news is that the Marvel chip won't support Windows.

The bad news is that the child with an OLPC while she may learn to do art on her computer, won't learn to do anything helpful in any labor market on earth. With a tablet, she won't even learn to touch type. I know that the project wants to prepare her for more self-actualizing career, such as poet, designer, president or CIO, very few will have that opportunity if they can't get an entry level job in the urban sector.

Erm... how about she can learn Maths, Science, programming, engineering, etc. etc.? How about she Googles for a better way to sanitise water, or look after cattle, or for the price of bread in the nearest towns? How about she uses it to contact people who can give her advice on how to care for her sick mother? Do you seriously think computers exist so that people can learn to touch type??!

Excelsior!!!! (1)

lordDallan (685707) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788964)

Oh wait.... Darn [marvell.com]

Marvell makes awesome chips, but who knew? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33792126)

The first time I heard about Marvell was about a month or so ago. The chips they're coming out with next year are awesome ... and not just awesome now, I still reckon they'll be awesome next year.

This smells like a publicity stunt from Marvell and who could blame them? OLPC gets lots of news despite everything that the organization has done .. 5.4 million of two years of OLPC getting front page billing on /. isn't a high price.

And who knew that the OLPC Foundation would take the money? What a shocker.

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