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One Laptop Per Child Gets 4 Million Laptop Order

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the tall-orders-to-fill dept.

419

An anonymous reader writes "DesktopLinux.com is reporting that four countries have together ordered 4 million low-cost, Linux-based laptops from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The countries of Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand have each placed the 1 million unit orders."

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Let the 419 jokes begin!!! (5, Funny)

lecithin (745575) | about 8 years ago | (#15823084)

"The countries of Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand have each placed the 1 million unit orders."

Dear Mike,

Thank you once again for finalizing the order. You will know that this transaction is 100% Guaranteed.

We will send our certified funds after the customs are paid by you. Please send the customs fee of $37,000,000 ($37*1 Million Units) via wire transfer to:

Barrister MUGO Gy PAN Oguami
419 Scam DEC
Lagos, Nigeria

>>Hi Mugo,
>>We have approved your order and are ready to ship. You mentioned a custom's fee that we are very ready to pay. Please let me know how much per unit we will need to send.

>>Thanks again for the business!!!

>>Mike Undundrum

More importantly (5, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | about 8 years ago | (#15823198)


The laptops are part of Nigeria's "leave no scammer behind" initiative.

Re:More importantly (0, Troll)

marafa (745042) | about 8 years ago | (#15823393)

i am not nigerian but that statement was still neither funny nor kind.

Saving Africa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823202)

Fight AIDS, don't buy Apple!

One Laptop Per Scammer... (-1, Flamebait)

Cryptnotic (154382) | about 8 years ago | (#15823222)

...thanks OLPC. Soon we'll have a million new scammers online. Great.

Re:One Laptop Per Scammer... (3, Insightful)

alamandrax (692121) | about 8 years ago | (#15823391)

someone needs a "How to be funny and not just stupid" guide book. Oh! Here [uncyclopedia.org] 's one lying around. Should keep you amused for ages. Cheerio.

Re:Let the 419 jokes begin!!! (0, Redundant)

webologist (991471) | about 8 years ago | (#15823223)

I was just thinking that...

I guess only one thing can describe ... (2, Insightful)

HateBreeder (656491) | about 8 years ago | (#15823091)

...the feelings of the OLPC project owners right now:

Cha-Ching!!!

Re:I guess only one thing can describe ... (3, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about 8 years ago | (#15823103)

Only if they are clueless. Frankly, I'd be scared shitless that I'd have to deliver 1,000,000 computers for $1,000,000 when they costed me $1,500,000 to build.

Re:I guess only one thing can describe ... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823138)

Wow! Dude, you can make a million computers for $1.5 million! You'll destroy Dell and Apple!

Re:I guess only one thing can describe ... (1)

wwwillem (253720) | about 8 years ago | (#15823240)

Ehhh, 1M computers for 1M dollars??? Forget about the factor 1.5x built cost. I guess you forgot some zeroes here and there. On my little calculator 1 million $100 computers is still 100,000,000 dollars. :-)

Re:I guess only one thing can describe ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823278)

Oh you're evil, Dr. Evil

Re:I guess only one thing can describe ... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15823245)

Oh, if only they could build those laptops for a dollar fifty each! They'd only be out five hundred thousand dollars per million dollar order. (I think you missed some zeros.)

Re:I guess only one thing can describe ... (5, Interesting)

qortra (591818) | about 8 years ago | (#15823142)

Cha-Ching!!!

Is that the sound of a non-profit organization [wikipedia.org] selling laptops at cost? These people will probably make passable salaries courtesy of the organization, but these are not going to be multi-million dollar CEOs and CTOs. Their only major gain here is possibly the minor fame that comes with starting a project like this. In fact, I think most of the companies involved are selling the parts are near cost. The fact is that everybody wants to get a choke-hold on emerging markets (the same markets that these target); but even if that happens for AMD and the like, I don't think Negroponte or any other "owner" is going to be exploiting starving children or their poor governments in order to buy shiny red Ferraris.

Re:I guess only one thing can describe ... (5, Insightful)

dexomn (147950) | about 8 years ago | (#15823415)

The 'major gain' here is that kids will get to use computers.

good idea (5, Insightful)

babtrek (256300) | about 8 years ago | (#15823098)

I really like that these countries have the determination to use linux laptops to help increase there education levels, it will benifit everyone. In the short term the production lines get busy making the laptops ready to be uses, and it will promote using open source software and Linux which could mean more and better tools out there for us eventually. But it could also breed us more scammers, damn them wasting so much of out time.

Re:good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823239)

I really like that these countries have the determination to use linux laptops to help increase there education levels, it will benifit everyone.

You're education mite benifit to.
 

Re:good idea (5, Insightful)

ronanbear (924575) | about 8 years ago | (#15823256)

4 million is a huge number of laptops. It represents about 10% of the annual worldwide laptop shipments. If these shipments actually occur in a reasonable timeframe it would have a massive effect on the worldwide computer market. It would effect component prices for OEMs. Imagine the headlines as Red Hat grab a larger proportion of the laptop market than Apple.

Re:good idea (1)

sanyam_y (982945) | about 8 years ago | (#15823383)

As an Indian I feel bad that the government here has backed out from this project. Had it been implemented only partially in India, it would have been a huge boost to free software (read damage to Microsoft & Co.)

Starving programmers (5, Funny)

dotslashdot (694478) | about 8 years ago | (#15823101)

What's next? Outsource to malnourished kids. All they get is a little cookie (or several, depending on their privacy settings.) You can pay them even less than the Indian & Chinese programmers since these kids don't need money for food. They can just eat the cookies without getting any cache.

Re:Starving programmers (2)

flynns (639641) | about 8 years ago | (#15823139)

Boooooooo.

Re:Starving programmers (1)

Isotopian (942850) | about 8 years ago | (#15823231)

Oh come on, that was pretty damn funny. You listen to Mitch Hedburg, but have a bad sense of humor? Shame on you.

In Other News: (5, Funny)

darkonc (47285) | about 8 years ago | (#15823105)

Bill Gates has just announced a whirlwind 4 nation third-world tour. Currently in Africa, supposedly on a safari . . . . .

Re:In Other News: (1, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15823264)

Would Bill the Intrepid Explorer [microsoft.com] really go on a Safari [apple.com] ?

Awesome (5, Interesting)

kernelpanicked (882802) | about 8 years ago | (#15823106)

I have a lot of respect for this project and I'm glad to see it's working out seemingly well.

Random Thought:

Wonder if any of the large PC vendors are paying attention, When was the last time Dell or HP sold 1 million+ Windows boxes in one shot?

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

Ethan Allison (904983) | about 8 years ago | (#15823242)

How many places are going to ever want to place an order for that many machines, other than OLPC-participant countries?

Thats great but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823109)

Of course, the real gadget freaks don't care about that.. what they want to know is..

When can i buy one?

No, seriously - they are freeking neat! i want one!

Re:Thats great but.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823185)

When can i buy one?

Just be patient - once they've been delivered, it probably won't take long for them to start popping up on eBay...

What ever happened to the $100 laptops? (0, Offtopic)

Jrabbit05 (943335) | about 8 years ago | (#15823110)

So we can slice laptop price for southeast Asian Contries but can't manage to do this with space flight? Am I missing something here or do we need to brain was the masses in to wanting they're own space fleet?

Spoiled rotten nowadays... (2, Funny)

HillaryWBush (882804) | about 8 years ago | (#15823111)

When we were their age we installed Ubuntu just to look at Goatse, and we were glad to get it!

Linux share in the desktop market (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823114)

Is it just me or won't this mean Linux gains a significant user base that basically never have used anything else than Linux and will never have any reason for using anything else? This must be a big thorn in both Microsoft and Apple's (remember they offered to give away software for this project) side...

Yeah Apple is going care. (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 8 years ago | (#15823247)

Because everyone knows when it comes to really cheap computers Apple is right there as a market leader.

Sorry but no, Steve Jobs offering OS-X for free was nothing but a kind gesture. His product is so out of range of the audience who would have gotten these machines it would be very hard to imagine any generated sales. Unless the project is super succesfull and instantly gives these kids western style incomes. Upper western style incomes.

Windows is an entirely different matter. MS has near dominance of the computer OS and 4 million new users who use non-ms software is nasty. Not horribly nasty but MS is often claimed to keep its dominance because it is dominant. In short you have to use windows, because everyone else uses windows. If everyone else doesn't use windows. Neither do you have to use windows.

It is the reason MS doesn't come down all that hard on piracy and is so willing to offer cheap (by western standards) versions of its OS in high piracy areas. MS rather loose a billion in sales then loose its dominance. Munich showed that MS is basically willing to give its software and services not just away for free but actually offer money on top of it just to make sure some other OS is not used.

Apple competes on quality, MS competes by being the only game in town. Oh and don't forget that linux users will have little difficulty switching to OS-X wich is after all based on that linux wannabe BSD. /me runs for it.

Re:Linux share in the desktop market (2, Funny)

wwwillem (253720) | about 8 years ago | (#15823260)

If the designers of these systems have done their work well, I hope these kids won't see any Linux (ls, vi, etc.) at all. I expect that that's all hidden below an appropriate GUI. What remains a winning point of course is that they are not confronted with a green-hill-blue-sky landscape during their first computer experiences.

my guess (-1, Troll)

bcrowell (177657) | about 8 years ago | (#15823120)

My guess is that for 99% of the children in these countries, the laptops will be totally useless, because what those kids really need is food, a clean source of water, and (especially for the girls) a chance to go to school and become literate. On the other hand, it's possible that 1% of them will really be helped, and among that 1% might be some of the future Bachs and Einsteins of the world.

It will also be interesting to see if free textbooks ever really get going in languages other than English. If they do, then it could really start being cost-effective to distribute them to kids on a computer rather than by dead trees. Personally, the first thing I do with a free book, if I really want to read it from cover to cover, is print it out on paper, because reading it from the screen is too annoying. But for kids in third-world countries, printing might not be an option, and screen reading might really be a sensible idea. In some countries, e.g. India, English may be the language of higher education, but for young kids, I think most of them really need materials in their own language.

Re:my guess (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823136)

Actully, most the targeted countries have water and food already. its a sterotype that too many people buy into.
the real reason for this laptop is to turn a second world country into one that interacts economically with the rest of the world. i really wish people would look closer before condemning the whole project, such ignorance.

Re:my guess (1)

xappax (876447) | about 8 years ago | (#15823320)

trivia fact: the term "second world country" actually refers to the members (now ex-members) of the Soviet Union. The first/second/third world terminology was popular during the cold war as a way to divide the entire planet into Us (god-fearing democracies), Them (god-hating commies), and All Those Really Poor Fuckers (most of africa, south america and the middle-east). So, actually, I guess most of the laptops are going to the third world, though they're certainly not going to the most utterly impoverished third world areas.

Re:my guess (1)

Virtual_Raider (52165) | about 8 years ago | (#15823148)

In Mexico all textbooks are free of charge and provided by law by the government at elementary and secondary levels (thats years 1-6 and 7-9). There is never a single, simple fix-it-all solution to anything: you get the books and the education for free (in fact attendance is mandatory by law) yet extra-curricular problems prevent thousands of children from attending to school.

Re:my guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823156)

I think most of them really need materials in their own language.

You make certain assumptions that make me chuckle - these children don't have ANY reading or writing skills (which is why they are not considered 'literate', yet)...how the hell is it going to make any difference what language they start with, when they can't even read?

English may be the language of higher education

...please....

Re:my guess (4, Insightful)

greenguy (162630) | about 8 years ago | (#15823162)

My guess is that for 99% of the children in these countries, the laptops will be totally useless, because what those kids really need is food, a clean source of water, and (especially for the girls) a chance to go to school and become literate.

To recap the responses to this kind of argument when it came up the last three or four times stories about the $100 laptop appeared on /.:
  • Not every child in poor nations is starving. Even the ones who suffer from some level of malnutrition can still benefit from education.
  • While most children in poor nations don't get as much education as they should, most get some. Most of them would love to learn to use a computer.
  • Until and unless you follow through with your ideas, don't complain about people who follow through on theirs.

Also, did you notice the part where the governments of not one, but four poor nations are buying the computers? That would seem to indicate somebody thinks they will be useful.

Re:my guess (2, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15823276)

Also, one should point out that without economic development in these countries, the problems of hunger and poverty will never be solved. And without some form of education and entree into the high tech world, that economic development will never happen. The ONPC project is aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty over the long term.

Re:my guess (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 8 years ago | (#15823343)

Also, did you notice the part where the governments of not one, but four poor nations are buying the computers? That would seem to indicate somebody thinks they will be useful.

I'm sure they will be useful - for resale on the grey market.

Re:my guess (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823370)

Btw, Argentina isn't particularly a poor country. They had a nasty financial crisis a few years back, but have been recovering steadily. Nor is Brazil for that matter. Of course poor people are poor just about everywhere, including here in the states. Perhaps this program might do some good here as well.

Anyway, you put a right kibosh on those whiney do-nothing nay-sayers.

Re:my guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823170)

your guess is wrong, because you are looking at the picture from too close.
it's true that what *those* children need is food and water. it's also true that, if the funding were present to set up an enormous school system to teach these children, that would be more effective.
It is not.

This is an attempt at an end-run around the basic problem that sits at the root of the others (lack of education) without the massive funding that such an attempt would ordinarily require.

The plan has plenty of flaws, most of which the founders are certainly aware, and more of which will not be discovered until they are visible in the implementation.
But until you have sat and seriously thought about what could be done that would ameliorate the problems those kids face, and done enough research to defend your position (which will likely be that there is no good solution that doesnt require either massive funding or massive manpower, but you might reach a different conclusion than i), your guess is worth less than nothing.

this is not about providing 'relief'. that is transient, and solves nothing at all.
these men and women have imagined a way to nibble at the problem's base.
I'm glad they have had the will to make their vision real.

Re:my guess (5, Insightful)

228e2 (934443) | about 8 years ago | (#15823176)

^^This is what gets me.

This whole 'foreign countries are mud holes' theory that people like you in the US (you're in Cali, i did a little digging) share.

I am from Nigeria, and sorry to dismay your lively opinion of Nigeria and the other countries, but I did not live in a tent, hut, nor was my house supported with bamboo sticks.

I have been to Brazil and Argentina and it is the same as it is here in America, several cities bursting with industrial, urban life, and yes like a few places here in America (Central plains, deep south) ther are places that missed the technology bandwagon and could use all the cheap technology they can get (there are a lot of elementary school in the south that have no computers). My point being these are not third world countries, they are first world.

But back to the thread's main focus, this will be an ideal kick in these countries behind to help them catch up to European and Western countries. If 4 million computers can produce just one more person who can go to college and stand on his feet, then everyone wins.

Re:my guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823270)

That's not what "first world" means. I hate when people are like, "we're totally first world now!" First world is a referencce to the Cold War: The Allies were first world, the Communists were second world, everyone else was third world. It's an accident of history that all the third worlders were poor as hell, but that's why they weren't involved. Get your terminology right.

Re:my guess (2, Insightful)

Cadallin (863437) | about 8 years ago | (#15823295)

the "world" terminology is largely irrelevant in the first place, its a purely social construct. In this case, I fully agree with Wittengenstein, meaning is how a word is used. The origin of "first world," "second world," "third world" as a descriptor for groups in the cold war is only significant in a historical context, it has come to refer to the relative economic strength of Nations. Generally, it refers to the value of GDP/(nation's population), those with a high value are "first world," those with a lower one, "third world," with occasional references to borderline "second world" nations. That these groupings largely line up with their cold war counterparts is again only of historical significance.

Re:my guess (2, Informative)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15823285)

Not all Americans have such a narrow vision of the world. A few of us have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel (as opposed to vacation in tourist areas).

Re:my guess (5, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | about 8 years ago | (#15823188)

My guess is that for 99% of the children in these countries the laptops will be totally useless, because what those kids really need is food, a clean source of water

Gosh, I wasn't aware that poverty was endemic in Argentina and Brazil. I know it's too much to expect people to RTFA, but you could at least finish the summary before going into knee-jerk response mode.

But, let's assume that by 99% you mean 25% and we're just discussing Nigeria. It still doesn't make the OLPC program "totally useless". The thing to understand here is that just because the news channels only show you pictures from Africa when there's a drought or a famine, that doesn't mean that the entire continent is in a permenant, continuou state of starvation.

And yes, clean water and better educational facilities are sadly lacking in many parts of Africa. But that doesn't mean that clean water should be the only problem anyone is allowed to address. We can do things in parallel.

Four million kids, some of whom might never get a chance to see a computer, are going to grow up with marketable skills for the 21st century. They're going to get a chance to bring some money into their countries, and maybe get a chance to fix some of the other problems themselves.

And that can't be a bad thing

Re:my guess (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15823290)

Four million kids, some of whom might never get a chance to see a computer, are going to grow up with marketable skills for the 21st century.

What are you talking about? They will probably be forced to use OO.o and the Gimp.

Joke! Joke! I'm totally kidding!

Re:my guess (4, Insightful)

jmv (93421) | about 8 years ago | (#15823217)

You talk like most people in these countries (Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand) have never seen food in their life or something like that. What these (and other) countries need is not food sent from industrialised countries (which often hurts the local economy more than anything), its means to improve their own economy. This is done (partly) through improved education and that's where OLPC can help. There's no single solution to complex problems. You can focus only on food, just as you can't focus only on computers. But saying OLPC is unnecessary because there are other (possibly more important) problems is missing the point.

Re:my guess (4, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 years ago | (#15823228)

What I think most people are missing is this little thing called the internet. These things can make their own network and I suppose connect to the internet. For many people who had their computer ever disconnected from the net, hasn't it (computer) felt 100x less valuable? That's probably because it was, in a sense.

We don't need to count on future Einsteins, that's a plus. Don't underestimated the power of normal people with access to information. It's empowering. See the two USA Today articles below to understand my point (the ones with cell phones). A network is a useful thing indeed.

My guess is that for 99% of the children in these countries, the laptops will be totally useless, because what those kids really need is food, a clean source of water, and (especially for the girls) a chance to go to school and become literate.


https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos /ni.html [cia.gov]

Nigeria:
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68%
male: 75.7%
female: 60.6% (2003 est.)

https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos /br.html [cia.gov]

Brazil:
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 86.1%
female: 86.6% (2003 est.)

https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos /th.html [cia.gov]

Thailand:
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 94.9%
female: 90.5% (2002)

https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos /ar.html [cia.gov]

Argentina:
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.1%
male: 97.1%
female: 97.1% (2003 est.)

See also:

"Africa's cell phone boom creates a base for low-cost banking"
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/gear/2005-08 -28-cell-banks-africa_x.htm [usatoday.com]

"Africa's cellphone explosion changes economics, society"
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/gear/2005-10 -16-africa-cellular_x.htm [usatoday.com]

Re:my guess (3, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15823329)

I don't have a handy link from the CIA Factbook, but (using the time honored tradition of pulling a number out of my ass), I'd say that the literacy rate here on slashdot was around 47%.

Re:my guess (5, Insightful)

Riktov (632) | about 8 years ago | (#15823237)

Do you even realize just which ones "these countries" are?

Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand. Not Somalia, Bolivia, and Laos.

These are among the most economically developed countries on their respective continents. Hell, Brazil is a country that manufactures jet airliners that are operated by major U.S. airlines.

The computers are not going to naked starving kids in mud huts! These countries' governments know full well what it is that people in such circumstances (which all of the countries probably do have nonetheless) really need. They are likely going to cities which are relatively poor, but with a minimally sufficient economies, and working-class children (boys and girls) who would benefit most from education and the economic mobility it provides. And they've decided that cheap computers are the way to implement that.

These kids can't afford computers, and that's a problem. Because in the very cities they live in, people use computers every day.

Re:my guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823249)

My guess is that for 99% of the children in these countries, the laptops will be totally useless, because what those kids really need is food, a clean source of water,

From the FAQ [laptop.org] :

It should be mentioned that a common criticism of the project is to say, "What poor people need is food and shelter, not laptops." This comment, however, is ignorant of conditions in improvished nations around the world. While it is true there are many people in the world who definitely need food and shelter, there are multitudes of people who live in rural or sub-urban areas and have plenty to eat and reasonable accommodations. What these people don't have is a decent shot at a good education.

computers already widely used (1)

m874t232 (973431) | about 8 years ago | (#15823251)

It will also be interesting to see if free textbooks ever really get going in languages other than English. If they do, then it could really start being cost-effective to distribute them to kids on a computer rather than by dead trees.

It's not a question of "when"; in many towns in third world nations, a room with a bunch of old PCs and CD-ROM drives in it is the library, and there is a lot of open content available for them.

Re:my guess (1)

houghi (78078) | about 8 years ago | (#15823348)

My guess is that for 99% of the children in these countries, the laptops will be totally useless, because what those kids really need is food, a clean source of water, and (especially for the girls) a chance to go to school and become literate.


If I see what 99% of the US people think of other countries, I would say they are in need of education as well. As it seems we must start with the people who teach others, you.

For somebody who teaches physics at Fullerton College you have clearly no grasp at what 99% means, nor what these countries are in real live.

Re:my guess (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823388)

you know, I heard that 99% of the children in brazil were starving and lacking drinkable water and that 86% of them would be dead by next week!

Re:my guess (2, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | about 8 years ago | (#15823377)

what those kids really need is food, a clean source of water, and (especially for the girls) a chance to go to school and become literate.
You really should become a sponsor of Plan [plan-international.org] . For a monthly fee (here in the EU it's about EUR. 20):
  • you sponsor a village
  • they set up correspondence with a child of a family in the village
  • they send reports on how the community is doing
  • the kid sends you some drawings and pictures
If you did this, you wouldn't say things like 'all they need is food and water'.

Does anyone else doubt... (1)

jarg0n (882275) | about 8 years ago | (#15823121)

Does anyone else doubt these laptops won't be given to kids? Perhaps all of these countries government computers need updating.

Unfortunately... (2, Funny)

mypalmike (454265) | about 8 years ago | (#15823125)

Each of those countries has more than 1 million children. In order to fit their "one laptop per child" criteria, there will be a lottery. The winners get the laptops. The losers get to choose a method of execution.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | about 8 years ago | (#15823196)

I suppose they could always wait until they have, what? a billion laptops pre-ordered and then start make them all at once...

Second thoughts, I think they way they're doing it might work better.

This makes more sense than India (3, Informative)

jeffsenter (95083) | about 8 years ago | (#15823128)

Well this follows the /. story [slashdot.org] on skepticism for OLPC in India. Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, and Nigeria are all substantially more wealthy than India on a per capita basis. India (with a lot more help from the industrialized world than it is presently getting) needs to focus on providing things like basic vaccines for all children. Laptops don't help children who are dieing from measels for lack of vaccination. Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, and Nigeria all have enough money to provide some basics like vaccines. These are not countries where large scale famine is a great threat. These four countries have a substantial level of economic development and government services. This is not to say the implementation of public health strategies and other much-needed services in these four countries is ideal.

Re:This makes more sense than India (2, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | about 8 years ago | (#15823385)

It could help the parent of said child know that the child has measles and get them to the hospital.

Didn't RTFA but... (0)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | about 8 years ago | (#15823131)

What I don't understand about these programs is...what good is a laptop without internet access?

Do these laptops come standard with modems and free internet access? If not, what's the point?

Re:Didn't RTFA but... (5, Interesting)

Arker (91948) | about 8 years ago | (#15823161)

They come standard with wireless mesh and connection sharing, IIRC. The idea being that the school can get at least one of them connected, then they all are. Things they all need still only need to be downloaded once, then shared peer to peer over the much faster wireless connection, so it should be quite useful.

Re:Didn't RTFA but... (1)

monkaduck (902823) | about 8 years ago | (#15823248)

Never underestimate the power of Solitare.

Slashdot, news for morons. Stuff that sucks. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823250)

WTF is wrong with you?

What good is ANY computer without a network connection? Besides word processing, spreadsheets, reading e-books, making music or writing non-networked software... really, everyone knows computers only became useful when the ethernet card was invented. Prior to that, they were merely status symbols.

Fucking dumbass.

Re:Didn't RTFA but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823268)

God forbid someone make the effort to lookup an easily-available answer before posting a question on Slashdot.

If someone prefaces a question with 'I am deliberately ignorant', would you still do their work for them?

How about the source... (2, Interesting)

martijnd (148684) | about 8 years ago | (#15823150)

Now this would be a nice toy for my own daughters (says father, who wouldn't mind taking this thing apart). Too bad they don't take orders below one million pieces.

Considering the low specs of this thing how about releasing the distribution and libraries that will run on this? It should be trivial to build a VM that allows you to play with developing software to run in this kind of environment.

To ensure that this project doesn't flop right from the start -- I presume that they would like people to develop some software for it.... (visions of US$ 100 doorstops all over Asia)

Re:How about the source... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 8 years ago | (#15823200)

Well, they're selling them at cost, but would we buy them for $200? I would.

Re:How about the source... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | about 8 years ago | (#15823210)

Now this would be a nice toy for my own daughters (says father, who wouldn't mind taking this thing apart). Too bad they don't take orders below one million pieces.

I seem to recall reading that they do. It's just that it'll cost you three hundred bucks. (That's 100 for the laptop, plus the cost of two more which will be used to send laptops to families that couldn't afford one).

Re:How about the source... (4, Informative)

Dicky (1327) | about 8 years ago | (#15823252)

The distribution and libraries are all open source, published and out there - and there's already a simulator which can do things like the dual-mode screen. Have a hunt around their Wiki [laptop.org] - particularly the software section [laptop.org] for you, I'd guess, and you should find everything you want. People to develop software for it is exactly what they want and need from us - go ahead, jump in!

Riots? (5, Interesting)

weasello (881450) | about 8 years ago | (#15823155)

Last time cheap laptops went on sale/given away there were so many rioting and fighting people that several were hospitalized. I wonder how a 3rd world country would deal with giving away these laptops, and how long they'll stay in the hands they are given to.

419ers, yay (0, Troll)

nanamin (820638) | about 8 years ago | (#15823159)

I think they will be very happy with their new ANUS laptops. http://www.anuslaptops.com/ [anuslaptops.com]

Re:419ers, yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823227)

mod parent down - unfunny old joke from a bunch of lusers who revel in dick and fart jokes! Get a life and stop poisioning good articles.

Still very tough to pull off (5, Insightful)

unPlugged-2.0 (947200) | about 8 years ago | (#15823167)

That is good news but there are still lots of challenges to this. I remember reading that they need 10 million to even be able to produce them. They are still a long way off.

Now I am usually an optimist and i do believe that the OLPC project is at its core a good project but the competition is heating up with China, AMD and Intel with their own programs and china's project being almost competitive on price. Also the OLPC project relies on AMD and indirectly china's production capabilities to make it a reality.

Also in my opinion (and mine only - don't want to start a flameware) it is too much of a one man crusade. I think that there is way too much emphasis and publicity surrounding Negroponte and what he thinks that people (like me) will start to wonder if this is really a group effort or just one man's dream. There are times that the distinction between non-profit and corporation are blurred and the line between philanthropy and publicity are not clear.

However I think idea is sound and I think that the OLPC project has served notice to corporations that there is a very underserved market that can further the adoption of computers and thus overall help everyone out (like the Intel's and AMD's of the world). I think that a few years from now the lasting legacy of the OLPC project may be the fact that it spurred companies to serve this market.

And regardless of what people may say about computers and learning it does let me slack off and post on slashdot all day so they can't be so bad.

Re:Still very tough to pull off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823206)

how long till these things show up on e-bay?

Re:Still very tough to pull off (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 8 years ago | (#15823284)

I remember reading that they need 10 million to even be able to produce them. They are still a long way off.

Seems to me they're about half way there.

article in latest Wired (1)

glitch23 (557124) | about 8 years ago | (#15823169)

There is an article in the latest Wired about the guy who was called in to design the $100 laptop. It looks like something Fisher Price would make (but he gives the reason for that in the article).

Why not foo? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823172)

Nigeria can't feed its own people and now they are wasting $100M on something so that white men in the west can feel good about spreading "information" or something. Bah.

humm (1)

crashelite (882844) | about 8 years ago | (#15823187)

i wonder if those will be able to run vista? also i am wondering if chairs are going to be thrown at M$ because that is 4 million less PC with windows installed. then again that is 4 million more with linux. oh well.

I'm in the minority, but I think this is useless (2, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | about 8 years ago | (#15823193)

Even if we assume that the corruption which normally gets in the way of everything in countries such as this will not be a factor this time, I don't think these computers will make a bit of difference in these countries. Computers require both infrastructure and previous basic education to make them worth anything. Just handing a computer to somebody who doesn't have the background to understand the tool's context isn't going to make any difference. Some people seem to think that computers somehow make people smarter and better-educated all of a sudden, but real education can happen far cheaper with much more basic and traditional tools. I love technology and I'm all in favor of progress, but I see zero evidence that computers in U.S. classrooms are making education better. I see even less likelihood of it making education better in Nigeria. Of course, as I said, I'm in the minority with this opinion. Since it runs Linux, most geeks think it's cool enough for them to want one, so it MUST be good for impoverished kids in mud huts. David

Re:I'm in the minority, but I think this is useles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823277)

the corruption which normally gets in the way of everything in countries such as this ... Just handing a computer to somebody who doesn't have the background to understand the tool's context isn't going to make any difference. ... impoverished kids in mud huts.

  translation: don't waste yer time tryin' to help brown people. they ain't like you and me.


Wow! Overt racism from Alabama. Whodathunkit?

Re:I'm in the minority, but I think this is useles (0, Flamebait)

DavidinAla (639952) | about 8 years ago | (#15823315)

You're an idiot. I wouldn't normally be so blunt, but your stupidity, rudeness and prejudice justify it in this case.

Good intentions don't necessarily mean results. And you're truly a moron if you believe that my judgment that this project won't help people means that I am a racist. For your information, I've been on trips to a couple of places with "brown people" to actually work for improvement in their lives. But you're dumb enough to think that it's racism if I think a project doesn't make rational sense.

The funny thing is that YOU are the prejudiced one in this case who makes assumptions which aren't justified by the reality of the what I said.

David

Re:I'm in the minority, but I think this is useles (2, Informative)

Riktov (632) | about 8 years ago | (#15823280)

For the hundredth time....

They are not going to STARVING KIDS IN MUD HUTS!!!

Please, scroll up and read the responses to the post by bcrowell.

Re:I'm in the minority, but I think this is useles (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | about 8 years ago | (#15823324)

That phrase was intended as hyperbole. I'm sorry if it wasn't obvious enough.

David

You must be American, you are so ignorant... (1, Flamebait)

fantomas (94850) | about 8 years ago | (#15823374)

"MUST be good for impoverished kids in mud huts"



You must be American, because you are so ignorant.



Just joking to make you sit up, one terrible stereotype deserves another....

I'd suggest you visit some of these countries to open your eyes and learn a little more about them, or if this is not possible, at least go to Wikipedia and read a little about them. It's a shame you make this comment because it devaluates the quite reasonable statement you make about querying the value of computers in education.

$100 laptop per child... (-1, Redundant)

DesireCampbell (923687) | about 8 years ago | (#15823209)

Still nothing on the $100 in food, clean water, shelter, and clothing per child project.

redundant? (-1, Troll)

bobamu (943639) | about 8 years ago | (#15823366)

the person who modded this redundant was being either idiotic or ironic

I don't really know which

Re:$100 laptop per child... (3, Insightful)

apflwr3 (974301) | about 8 years ago | (#15823368)

Still nothing on the $100 in food, clean water, shelter, and clothing per child project.

Right, because all possibly avenues for relief and charity dropped what they were doing to work on the laptop project.

Oh, and last I checked, Bob Geldof and Sally Struthers weren't making the world a better place-- and that $1 a day to "feed the children" doesn't seem to be doing much to provide for their future. Maybe a combination of current huminatarian efforts, with the access to education and knowledge that the laptop project will make possible could help some of these kids grow up to make their societies a better place.

You know, "teach a man to fish" and all that.

MOD PARENT + (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 8 years ago | (#15823407)

Maybe it is redundant to suggest this, but it does need to be said. Computing is secondary to these things. It's a lovely idea, but it's only a distraction from the main issue. I'd rather be alive (and hopefully secure in the knowledge that I would remain so) than computer (read internet) educated or literate.

Lebanon just cancelled their order (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823215)

...return to sender, no longer needed.

RTFM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823255)

They are giving away the laptops for FREE, not selling them.

compo time! (2, Funny)

Pliep (880962) | about 8 years ago | (#15823266)

Now how long before someone starts a "be the first to install Mac OS x86 on this machine" competition?

Pass out something other than Laptops.... (0)

chrisinsocalif (984172) | about 8 years ago | (#15823313)

I really think they should pass out birth control rather than laptops. With less starving kids around, less problems we have. Or set up a plan to have them Spade or neuter and have Bob Barker be the spokesperson.

Problem solved! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823360)

If the laptops can just run hot enough.

Re:Pass out something other than Laptops.... (2, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | about 8 years ago | (#15823382)

Unfortunately, our main man George W. Bush withdrew all US funding from foreign health clinics which advocate for or distribute birth control. So don't look to the US-of-A for any population control leadership any time soon.

It's ok (5, Insightful)

rhfixer (920651) | about 8 years ago | (#15823361)

Well, I live in Argentina, so I can tell you what the situation is like here. There are people with a lot of money, that own towns or entire provinces (most of those ppl are in the goverment, that's obvious), people with a normal economic situation, who can buy a house or two, have a computer (or 3, as I do) and a car, and there are poor people. That plan is going to work, not for all the children, but for a small quantity. I think that plan is going to work, partially, but it is going to work.
My guess is that for 99% of the children in these countries, the laptops will be totally useless, because what those kids really need is food, a clean source of water, and (especially for the girls) a chance to go to school and become literate. On the other hand, it's possible that 1% of them will really be helped, and among that 1% might be some of the future Bachs and Einsteins of the world.

Just because we're outside the US doesn't mean we aren't enough intelligent to operate a computer. Well, they have food, a clean source of water, a chance to go to school, they only need a teacher.

test (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15823378)

hello this is a test
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