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OLPC Available to the Public Early 2008

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the but-is-it-a-tax-writeoff dept.

Portables 192

Zoxed writes "The BBC is reporting that the OLPC will be available to the public early next year on a buy-2-get-1 basis through eBay. With its cheap price, fully open spec. and full/open hardware support for Linux, expandability, 2W rating and LinuxBIOS booting it sounds like an embedded-Linux hackers favorite new toy."

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cool (-1, Troll)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543476)

Sounds like a neat little device, something for those geek kids, i could give one to my 9 year old Sister

Re:cool (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543936)

Sounds like my 6 year old daughters next computer. As of now, the money to buy this is already set aside. Good job guys.

Re:cool (0, Flamebait)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544820)

Why would you buy one of these for a six year old? It is severely crippled and dumbed down. Wouldn't a full featured computer for a little more money be a much better investment in your daughter? My two year old has been running Ubuntu for over a year now with no problems. Recently, he has even taken to doing his own updates. Now, I like to think my kid is overly bright, but if you think that your 6 year old daughter can't use a full featured computer on her own, you are probably under estimating her.

Re:cool (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17545024)

My two year old has been running Ubuntu for over a year now with no problems.
Did anyone catch this? You lead us to believe your child has been "using" Ubuntu since before they were a year old. Seems to be a bit of a reach. I mean Ubuntu is pretty easy but a 1 year old using apt-get seems to be a stretch.

Re:cool (3, Funny)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545062)

I caught it, but was too busy trying to figure out how he installed Ubuntu on his two-year-old to respond.

Any OLPC article is flamebait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17545304)

...because it's such a stupid idea.

OLPC? (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543490)

The BBC is reporting that the OLPC will be available to the public early next year on a buy-2-get-1 basis through eBay ... it sounds like an embedded-Linux hackers favorite new toy.

Between the Gates foundation, guys like mark cuban, the google billionaires, and this type of thing, I love how philanthropy in this millennium is poised to be dominated by nerds.

You must be thinking of a different Mark Cuban (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17544092)

Between ...guys like mark cuban... I love how philanthropy in this millennium is poised to be dominated by nerds.

Since when was owning a basketball team considered philanthropy?

Re:You must be thinking of a different Mark Cuban (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17544448)

The guy matches all his fines with donations to charity. And he racks up a lot of fines.

Re:OLPC? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17544170)

I don't. I'd rather philanthropy be dominated by professionals who understand how to fix the problems, or even what those problems are to begin with. OLPC is questionable here, where things like clean water and vaccines can often provide a much bigger bang for buck. Providing jars of peanut butter can do more to raise IQ than giving every child in the world a laptop. Ironically enough, this is one of the areas where Bill Gates actually has it right.

The OLPC project is still a great idea; nobody said philanthropy has to be all about fulfilling basic human needs like water and shelter. I'm not one of those guys who says we have to solve world hunger first zomg. But I'd hate to see philanthropy become dominated by the pet projects of nerds; pet projects of even smart computer industry geeks are still pet projects, and generally have little correlation with what's needed in reality. It's their money, but it's still a kind of benevolent despotism, where the lower classes are showered with money from the wealthy. Many times, charitable giving is focused on what the donor wants to give, not what the beneficiaries actually want.

To counter that, there should be a diversity of giving. It takes all kinds, from experts in sanitation to experts in economics. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded last year to an economist who invented microcredit finance. Who woulda thunk it? We don't need philanthropy dominated by any one mindset, even if it's geeks. Rich geeks today are just the robber barons of the 20th century, and now they're doing the same thing those 19th century robber barons did, giving away their money to make themselves feel better.

Re:OLPC? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544718)

OLPC is questionable here, where things like clean water and vaccines can often provide a much bigger bang for buck.

Absolutely not. Now, giving water treatment facilities and facilities to produce vaccines, THAT is helpful. But simply giving the people the things makes them dependent on you, which is what a lot of these organizations really want. "We want to save you - and only we know how!"

Re:OLPC? (4, Insightful)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544938)

There are billions of people outside the indusrialised western world who have all their basic needs (shelter, water and food) satisfied that are looking to move to the next level. This is for these people. When did you last hear of starving children in Lybia for example?

Yes if you are have more basic needs it won't help, but not everyone in Africa is starving in a mud hut.

Re:OLPC? (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545086)

Yet another person who doesn't get it. Let me explain for the hard of thinking:

OLPC laptops are for children in developing and developed countries whose governments are interested in moving their education system forward. They are not, and never have been, something that a government should spend money on if there are higher priority needs such as sanitation, food, shelter or an energy network. They are targetted very specifically at countries who have a working sanitation and drinking water system, who have a viable food market, who have a working power infrastructure. Don't be thinking that the countries who are signing up to this are populated by starving Africans who have no electricity and drink from a muddy river. That is not the case. Most of the countries who have joined in are actually not in Africa, and all of them have the necessary basics in place already. Hell, one of the countries on board is the USA (well, a state in the USA, but hey..).

The OLPC project seeks to improve the IT education of children in countries who are providing the basics but cannot (or will not) afford IT equipment. That is a problem, and it's one that is being solved in an innovative and exciting way. There really isn't any downside.

If you feel your money will work better donated to a different cause then spend it elsewhere. You have that choice. I'm glad you're thinking of others. That's more than a lot of people manage. Personally, I'll buy a couple of these computers if it means a couple of kids in Tunisia get a chance to hack some Python. Who knows, they might be the ones who create 2020's version of Google.

what if.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17543496)

I'm not a child or I already have one laptop?

Then you can buy it for $300 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17543646)

think of the africans...

Re:Then you can buy it for $300 (5, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544250)

Judging from all the email I get asking me to help move millions of dollars out of Africa, I think Africans have enough computers. I think they need more financial advisors to help them move that money.

Re:Then you can buy it for $300 (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545476)

Judging from all the email I get asking me to help move millions of dollars out of Africa, I think Africans have enough computers. I think they need more financial advisors to help them move that money.

Funny, I always took it as a sign it's the west who needs more financial advisors. Or maybe it's the lack of warning labels on money, it's a wonder noone has sued the government over it.

A new hero for slashdot readers! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17543532)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Vive el Jefe!
Someone you slashdot left wing socialist scum can look up to.

Re:A new hero for slashdot readers! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17543698)

Don't forget the slashdot right wing fascist scum! We need somebody too!

Re:A new hero for slashdot readers! (1)

obdulio (410122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544154)

There are other initiatives more worth to follow (in spanish, sorry):
http://www.presidencia.gub.uy/_web/noticias/2006/1 2/2006121402.htm [presidencia.gub.uy]

Re:A new hero for slashdot readers! (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544382)

Google translates it fine. Unfortunate name that the Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining has though: Jorge Leprosy

Good present for grandparents as well? (4, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543542)

Hmm- anybody know if the cutdown version will still run OpenOffice? If so, it'd make a damn good present for the retired person as well- a machine that will do e-mail, basic word processing, and web surfing, all in a handy little package that includes three USB ports and an SD slot.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543830)

Interesting idea, though it is rather Fisher-Price [laptop.org] in appearance.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (3, Insightful)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544076)

It's designed to look that way to cut down on black market reselling -- not all possible cases, but those where where the product was diverted from its intended purpose. Basically if a bunch of OLPC's "fall off the truck" on the way to the schools, it's easier to go looking for lime green laptops.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544612)

But now that you can buy them, how will they track down the people who got them from the blackmarket?

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544910)

But now that you can buy them, how will they track down the people who got them from the blackmarket?

I'd guess they'll recolor them.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544132)

I have read in the past that the "Fisher-Price" appearance makes them easy to identify so that if a load are stolen by "bad guys," the "good guys" can tell.
It also attaches the stigma of stealing from a child to whoever did so.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17544198)

Umm.....

You want to steal from a child today - you steal 4 Gig of Ram, a dual core processor, a $250 iPod and a couple of ounces of crack.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543926)

OO? Oh God no, that thing takes forever to load even on an AMD 64 X2. Hopefully Abiword and Gnumeric will work on it though. I use Vim Outliner to take notes at meetings, and a OLPC would be ideal for that.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544106)

That would be sufficient to suffice, I should think.

After all, they're not looking to do presentations or calculate multi-column spreadsheets. The retired set is looking to put out Christmas letters and keep track of their investments, at worst.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

megabyte405 (608258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544486)

A specialized version of AbiWord is in production right now for use on the OLPC, and we are a part of the standard test image - the writing activity.

-- Ryan, AbiWord Dev, Win32 Maintainer, and Art Lead

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (2, Interesting)

Flamefly (816285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544568)

Abiword is already running on it, albeit with a simplified interface. You can download the image for the OLPC OS and give it a go, it's very easy to do. http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sugar_Instructions#Insta lling [laptop.org]

I actually find the interface a little non-intuitive for the beginning user, which I find at odds with it's goals. The documentation itself states

Before you launch the emulated image, we strongly recommend reading through the Sugar Instructions on how to use the environment -- this does not look like the Windows or Mac operating systems!

Essentially you start with a blank screen, to launch a program you move the mouse to edge of the screen which brings up the program bar. It seems to me it would have made a little more sense for the program bar to be active by default (at least when no programs are currently active). Or at least a little "Start here arrow" for the first few boots."

While I'm being critical, I'd also change the Abiword icon to look more relevant to a pen and paper activity (It's currently the AbiWord logo), and rejig the web icon to be a bit of a more obvious globe.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

Tom in Boston (453354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544168)

Grandparents / hacker dude / Mitt Romney - it's not for you!

I'm surprised if the OLPC project is really doing this.

The project's goal, as I heard Nicholas explain it, is for governments to buy these computers on a LARGE scale, so the funding is not an issue. After his speech at LinuxWorld Boston, someone proposed a similar "let me buy one for $200" idea. Negroponte said that it's great that you want to help, and the best way you could do that would be to do something similar in your own neighborhood. Buy a cheap laptop from Ebay and give it to a local needy student. Negroponte and his wife had been buying used laptops for years and bringing them to a needy village school (in Africa, I think?) where they were used in education.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (2, Insightful)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544440)

Because lots of people in the first world do actually want one (myself included). If you don't satisfy that demand then free market 101 tells you that a grey/black market in them will spring up to satisfy that demand. The people running the project don't want that to happen so they are attempting to satisfy the demand themselves.

From a personally perspective I would love to get my hands on one for my four year old neice. She is fasinated by computers and to give her, her very own personal one (preferably in pink) designed around her needs would make a fantastic educational present.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544444)

Having said that- I actually disagree with the OLPC folks on this one. Their design is *VERY* close to *EXACTLY* the type of computer I've been wanting for elderly customers for 20 years now. ROM-based Operating System. User Independant, with solid-state removable media for storage. Easy connectivity. Art-based rather than business-based software built in. Ruggedized enough to survive reasonable usage.

Your average $50 laptop off of EBay doesn't fit the bill. But a $300 OLPC, that ALSO gives to a charity, very nearly does. The three things I see as missing are dialup access, a word processor, and printers drivers.

In fact, the next closest I've found to this that fits the bill would be a $1600 Windows Mobile device, or maybe an older CE 2.0 version of the same thing- not something you're going to buy for a retired person, and STILL you have the printer driver problem.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544862)

The project's goal, as I heard Nicholas explain it, is for governments to buy these computers on a LARGE scale, so the funding is not an issue.

These will be great for kids in any developing country, but they will only be provided by governments in SOME countries. The money derived from public sales could be used to give away laptops in other needy countries. It could also, of course, be used to pay salaries. It will also provide a network of beta testers who speak fluent English, which will provide error information in a language understood by more of the OLPC developers.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544308)

I guess you would be able to cram OpenOffice into it somehow... but the current version uses Abiword.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544536)

I looked up Abiword- and I think that's good enough. I'm DEFINATELY thinking about this as my mother's next machine.

Patronising crap! retired doesn't mean stupid (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544608)

Simple machine so good for the retired? go back to your lollipop you patronising kid! Becoming 65 doesn't mean relapse into child like state.

My dad retired a couple of years ago, signed up for a computer course (never used one before) and now he's got a digital camera and he's playing with Photoshop.

Some folk over 65 might want a simplified device but I know a heck of a lot of retired folks who have a lot more experience than the average college kid at dealing with complex devices and fine at picking up a new one.

Re:Patronising crap! retired doesn't mean stupid (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545056)

What I'm really looking for isn't simplicity- it's MINIMAL DOWN TIME. As in, a lack of stupid question calls and/or virus/spyware removal calls from that individual. Linux in ROM goes a hell of a long way to preventing such calls (heck, any ROM based OS does), for the simple reason that such platforms are a lot more immune to viruses and spyware (just reset to defaults and the computer is "fixed").

With a built-in SD slot, one could argue that this system is *built* for digital snapshot type people.

Re:Patronising crap! retired doesn't mean stupid (1)

Alchemar (720449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545568)

I will admit that I know several people that used the later part of thier life to educate themselves in new technology. Most of the geeks started out young when they had the time to take things apart, figure out how they worked, and put them back together in a way not intended by the designer. It is hard to beat the learning curve for computer and electronics and work a full time job. Most of those young kids now have full time jobs, and a lot of people that had full time jobs find themselves with a lot for free time. Some of those people want to learn about computers, but a lot more just want to be able to use them as a tool to do the things with their time that they consider more interesting. I know a lot more people that want to use a computer to stay in touch with their grandkids, look at the photo of the family that thier children just sent them, and look up what the side effects of not taking this or that medication, than want to know the difference in specs between USB, Firewire, and WiFi. It doesn't mean they can't, most of those people could learn if they invested the time, but it is literally not worth the time to them. Most of these people rely on their children to keep these tools up and running. A simple machine that is hard to break involves less time to upkeep. If that retired person is now wanting to know how a computer looks on the inside, this is a cheap computer to experiment with. Either way it makes a perfect gift for that retired person in your life. If that retired person fits inbetween, they probably already have a computer that they are happy with. Anytime someone makes the statement "the perfect gift", it is implied that they don't already own one.

Anytime someone classifies a large group of people with a generality, there are going to be exceptions. That doesn't mean they are singling you out as not being able to comprehend. The fact that you have a slashdot account implies that you like computers, most people learn about the things they like. Being on slashdot alone implies that you are an exception to many of the generalities that the rest of the human race could be classified under.

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (3, Interesting)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544850)

This project will be surpassed by cell phones.

My cell phone is $150 at t-Mobile with a 2 yr contract, or $200 with a 1 year. On e-bay, unlocked, it is $165.

It runs Windows Mobile 5.0, has WIFI, uses very little power thus could be charged off cheap solar power. It has 200MHz processor at over 2GB of disk space, 64MB RAM.

I have Opera, Skype, VNC, and other applications on it. For $20 I have added 2GB of disk space from the base 64. It has bluetooth and I can hook a bluetooth mouse/keyboard to it.

Sure, this ain't no laptop. It's "not there" yet. However, a friend has Mobile 5.0 release 2 and has Terminal Services client and office viewers. We are close.

The new iPhone runs OSx. Some new cell phones are on UMPC platform and run Windows XP tablet edition, starting at around $900 up to $2000.

I venture to say that in 5 years, our cell phones will do everything an office PC does. As long as you are not a gamer cad cam or video guy, you could do all your work off your cell phone. Having a docking station at home/work.

Given the mass market of cell phones, and the willingness of people to fork over cash for them, I'd say we will get a device that can do all the basic computer functions soon. And through the second hand market we could provide these to 3rd world countries at about the same price.

I may be wrong, but I don't think so :)

Re:Good present for grandparents as well? (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545174)

I tend to agree, except for one small problem- the lack of a fullsize keyboard and screen. While this is a good platform (notice in another reply I mentioned Windows Mobile "sublaptops"), the lack of a fullsize screen is a huge detriment, especially to eyes that need at least a 12pt onscreen font for reading. Likewise the lack of a full size keyboard makes it hard to type on.

But beyond that, you're quite correct- my T-Mobile MDA which I purchased when it was *much* more expensive ($495 with a 2-year contract) is exactly the type of platform I'd like to give to cutomers, except for the aforementioned problem of keyboard and screen (lack of USB type A host connector is also a problem, but I'm working on that one- Windows Mobile 5.0 supports USB OTG, and all that is required is a special cable with a separate power source).

Will it be the _exact_ same laptop? (4, Insightful)

ziggamon2.0 (796017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543544)

Cause if it is the exact same, and they have now created a $200 value for the laptops, they can now easily be sold to collect the money, instead of the intended educational value...

Re:Will it be the _exact_ same laptop? (5, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543642)

Cause if it is the exact same, and they have now created a $200 value for the laptops, they can now easily be sold to collect the money, instead of the intended educational value...

Yep. Exactly like how PBS telethons have encouraged the mugging of ladies carrying bags or men sipping coffee by setting the value of cloth bags and mugs at $120.

Re:Will it be the _exact_ same laptop? (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543980)

If PBS were the only source of coffee mugs and book bags, I guess you might have a point.

I think your parent has a point. At some point we're going to see these on ebay, and we'll think, gee, I hope this wasn't one of the ones Pakistan bought to give some kid a future. And you just know there will be a Terrorist captured with one at some point, and it'll be a big story. Any way you look at it, there will be some retrospection on whether the laptops ended up doing what they were "supposed" to do, and somebody will use the word "misguided" to describe the whole effort. I hope they're wrong.

Re:Will it be the _exact_ same laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17544074)

you may have a point.

Re:Will it be the _exact_ same laptop? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544720)

But the demand would be there regardless. People want these laptops one way or the other, creating a white market way to get them will only further drive down the cost of the black market ones, if not wipe it out completely.

Re:Will it be the _exact_ same laptop? (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544760)

"at some point we're going to see these on ebay, and we'll think, gee, I hope this wasn't one of the ones Pakistan bought to give some kid a future."

Did you understand the part where that's the EXACT OPPOSITE of what will happen? If you buy a laptop from the project (which will apparently broker their sales through eBay), you get one laptop, and you fund one to go to a kid who needs one.

I'm trying really hard to find a problem here, and I can't do it.

Re:Will it be the _exact_ same laptop? (1)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544560)

OLPC is being exhibited [itworld.com] at CES:
The One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) has whittled down the cost of the green and white computer they hope to deliver to school children in developing countries to about 100(euro) (US$130) so far, and hope to reach the target price of US$100 in 2008, a project leader said Monday.

Is this a deal? (0, Troll)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543574)

"Buy-2-get-1."

Does this mean you ay for 2 and get 1, or get an extra one free? Because I can see how this would work:

1. Sell OLPC on eBay, using strange wording to trick users.

2. ???

3. Profit?

-kcbanner

Re:Is this a deal? (5, Informative)

rhartness (993048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543644)

RTFA! It states that it's a buy-2, get-1, send-1-into-the-third-world policy.

A donation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17543648)

Well I assume that you get one and the other goes to someone for which it eventually was designed, i.e. a child in a third world country.
(OLPC = One laptop per child)

Re:A donation? (1)

TrashGUY (966340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543822)

This might be a hard concept for people. Wait im buying three but I only get one... I guess charity and good will is always overlooked.

Re:A donation? (1)

HeroreV (869368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545088)

1 + 1 != 3

The customer pays for 2 laptops. 1 laptop goes to the customer, and 1 laptop goes to a poor kid who will likely sell it for food.

Re:Is this a deal? (1)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543792)

FTFA:
The aim is to connect the buyer of the laptop with the child in the developing world who receives the machine.

"The will get the e-mail address of the kid in the developing world that they have, in effect, sponsored."

The only thing I'm worried about is some jackass phucking this up for everyone by trying to...well, you know where I'm going with this.

Still, this is a cool idea. I can buy two sets of these knowing that two kids somewhere in the world are going to have laptops, keep one for myself and give the other to one of my nieces or nephews, or just leave the spare around the house for fun when they come to visit.

Re:Is this a deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17543826)

It is not a deal, it is a way to sponsor a child in a developing country. You pay for two, you get one, a child gets one.

Better than a donation (3)

walterwalter (777821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543594)

Well this form of "donation" sounds better than the previously reported on where you did not get anything for your money. I would buy "one" of these. I wonder if there will be any form of choice as to which country gets your laptop.

Buy 2, Get 1 -- what a deal ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17543602)

Buy 2, Get 1 -- what a deal ! No wonder Linux is so cheap, you have to pay double for the hardware !

Re:Buy 2, Get 1 -- what a deal ! (1, Informative)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543676)

Slashdot needs a system to mod anonymous cowards out of sight

Re:Buy 2, Get 1 -- what a deal ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17543810)

Slashdot needs a system to mod anonymous cowards out of sight



Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:Buy 2, Get 1 -- what a deal ! (2, Informative)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544088)

Click [slashdot.org]

Just set the "Anonymous Modifier" as -6 and you will likely never see another AC post.

Set it to -2 and browse at 0 and you will only see them if they get modded up decently and you browse at 0 (I assume you do, as you see his post, set it at -3 if you browse at -1).

not to hard is it?

I will buy one (1)

Onyma (1018104) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543776)

What else could you ask for... a cool toy and the knowledge that some of your money went off and did some good elsewhere.

Re:I will buy one (1)

markbt73 (1032962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544672)

Me too... I've been looking for a cheap portable word processor, and my wife has been looking for a cheap eBook reader... two birds with one stone! Not to mention the warm fuzzies of doing a good deed.


What will be interesting is the reaction people have to using one in public... Sit at a coffee shop with one of these and be immediately recognized as a philanthropist.

I would buy one. (2, Interesting)

BlahSnarto (45250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543780)

This would make the perfect remote admin tool

They should totally open the hardware to hacking
hell even encourage it. Maybe a power Adapter hack
incase you want to do something like coding.

i dont know, just throwing ideas out..

Re:I would buy one. (3, Interesting)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543962)

The entire thing is already open source, all the way down to the BIOS.

That's more open than anything you'll find in an American store.

The hardware needs to be durable and sealed tight (to keep out dust), so I think encouraging hardware hacks may work against the goals of giving poor children a long-lasting device. But that's not to say you couldn't take a hacksaw to it and explore... no doubt, many people will do just that once it's put on the market..

Africa (2)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543866)

I'm kind of disappointed that it will go into 2008. I'm looking at going to Africa with the Peace Corps in January of '08 and a computer that could run independent of a power grid or exepnsive solar setup would have been great. Regardless, I think that even at 300 dollars its a bargain for people who are in situations where power is an issue, or, poor families in the states that don't have access to these kinds of resources.

Is it a good move? (1)

thePig (964303) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543876)

I do understand that there a pretty lofty thoughts & minds behind this, but I do wonder whether this is a good move?
If the real world price of this laptop is $200 (it is what the buyer pays, regardless of the fact that one is going to 3rd world country), and it is being sold to people in 3rd world countries for $100, then wouldn't this cause _not_so_good_people_ to buy/steal from the poor people and sell it here?

Even if they are just selling it to the poor countries (and not giving it through ebay at all) , people being people, would buy it through ebay, even paying $150/200 since it is cheaper than what they can buy here.

I guess this $100 laptop should be given to the general public too, so that such injustice doesn't happen.

Re:Is it a good move? (1)

zesty42 (1041348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544268)

Not a bad question, but a couple thoughts:

I think the computer will only appeal to a small market in most countries because it won't sync with iPods (I'm serious). A few geeks and some people that want help other kids will buy them. Also, it would take a bit of effort to steal and ship these computers in a mass that would really be profitable. That may be one advantage of working with Ebay early on, they can help police for such activity and have a vested interest in doing so.

Re:Is it a good move? (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544684)

If the real world price of this laptop is $200 (it is what the buyer pays, regardless of the fact that one is going to 3rd world country), and it is being sold to people in 3rd world countries for $100, then wouldn't this cause _not_so_good_people_ to buy/steal from the poor people and sell it here?


Isn't this a risk regardless?

Re:Is it a good move? (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545060)

At least part of the reason for the distinctive colour is to limit the appeal of resale by making it obvious that you're using a machine you shouldn't have in the first place. Presumably the for sale model will come in a different colour, so that people can trivially see if you're getting something taken of a kid.

Couple Thoughts: Case Color and Good Idea.. (4, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543952)

a: Its about time. Everyone has been clamoring for this, because there are some real interesting industrial & cool uses this could be used for. Between the daylight screen and highly rugged design, this has the potential to be very interesting. I'd be tempted to pick one up for $300 to play with myself...

b: You can stop the reselling problem (one worry is always that by selling them you'd create an adult market and therefore encourage theft) by a simple expedient: a different color case. Make purchased OLPCs black, and kid ones in cheerful old-school iMac colors, and now they are vastly different products from a retail viewpoint.

Re:Couple Thoughts: Case Color and Good Idea.. (3, Funny)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544226)

I'd be tempted to pick one up for $300 to play with myself...
Hey, you can play with yourself without a $300 laptop. Kids everywhere have been doing that for free, for thousands of years.

Re:Couple Thoughts: Case Color and Good Idea.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17544298)

Last time I checked, you could play with yourself even without $300...

Mod parent up (1)

zrq (794138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544756)

b: You can stop the reselling problem .... by a simple expedient: a different color case.

Excellent idea, although possibly yellow rather than black ? I kind of like the bright colour, makes it less like a work machine.

Although if black is all we can have, then I'll take black. I'm keen to try one out and start working on some (free) software tools to add to them.

If they had a 'buy two now get one later' scheme, I'd go for it. Order and pay for them now, but you don't get yours until the retail version becomes available.

Yeah, give them Sugar! (0, Flamebait)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543978)

OLPC is not 'Linux hackers favorite toy' - It'll be running Sugar [google.com] , a complete failure for a user interface, obviously designed by a committee of 'child experts'.

Just watch that google video. It's insulting to the intellegence of even the most stupid of children.

And do you really think these things are going to be 'given' to the children to 'play with' and learn as they would.. - oh no! They'll be carefully controlled, supervised and hamstered away at classrooms, where the kids will have to do exactly what the teacher wants them to do: "now, timmy, move the pointed to this icon and click it, then draw a circle... "

So much for the dream of creating a Linux generation - these kids will grow up to be another bunch of helpless cubicle retards at telemarketing caves...

Re:Insensitive Clod (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544434)

We "cubicle retards" prefer the more PC term "cubetards", you insensitive clod...

Re:Yeah, give them Sugar! (1)

mungtor (306258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544546)

At least we'll recognize them by their high /. ID numbers...

Re:Yeah, give them Sugar! (1)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544602)

Hey...

Remember that those things are hackable using Python, and it is a fairly easy language to learn, and way better than BASIC. My first contact with computers was using a Sinclair, a much more restricted and "dumbed" computer than the OLPC.

Older kids can open a terminal and start hacking these puppies right away! And what prevents a smart kid from wiping the pre-configured Fedora and install Debian or Gentoo?

Also remember that the first batch of laptops will go to the hands of children learning to read, around 6yrs... There will be plenty time for the developers adapt the interface to older kids.

Re:Yeah, give them Sugar! (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544802)

So, basically, you're proceeding from the assumption that this will be the first generation of children to always do only what their teacher tells them.

Would you please explain your rationale? I think that's a pretty shaky idea.

Re:Yeah, give them Sugar! (1)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544984)

How long do you think it will take some enterprising young lad (or lass) to decide that the OLPC is in desperate need of a working version of [insert your favorite distro]? 512 is a bit tight, but could be done if you REALLY got finicky about your packages.

And depending on the age of the child, I think sugar is fair enough. Certainly it is limited, but that isn't a bad thing in a classroom setting. Plus, i would rather Timmy not be playing frozen bubble. It comes with email, IM, AbiWord, a web browser, and an encycopedia. What more do you want for $100?

Anyway, be cynical. It is the best way to get marked insightful on /.

Re:Yeah, give them Sugar! (1)

DeathPenguin (449875) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545094)

One would think 'Linux hacker' implies one willing to utterly defile the system's existing software, ie, make the first priority to install Damn Small Linux (Or similar distro) on the thing. What your saying seems similar to saying that cheap Dells aren't good for Linux hackers because they come with Windows XP Home Edition installed. Linux hackers are not who the OLPC's target users are--Linux hackers are gonna go off and do their own thing anyway.

And did it ever occur to you that maybe, just *maybe* searching forums and fighting flame wars to figure out how to compile a kernel isn't the best way to educate people? Maybe the focus should be on things like arithmetic, reading, and writing rather than fighting one's own operating system to be the l33test kid in the shantytown. Remember, these aren't meant to teach kids about Linux, they're meant as a classroom aid.

What makes you a GUI expert? (1)

feranick (858651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545366)

I am eager to know.

You need a reality check... (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545472)

"And do you really think these things are going to be 'given' to the children to 'play with' and learn as they would.. - oh no! They'll be carefully controlled, supervised and hamstered away at classrooms, where the kids will have to do exactly what the teacher wants them to do: "now, timmy, move the pointed to this icon and click it, then draw a circle... "

So much for the dream of creating a Linux generation - these kids will grow up to be another bunch of helpless cubicle retards at telemarketing caves..."

You do realize that the "story" you just told is a fantasy, right? There is no logic or reason to your rant and no reason to believe this is what will happen.

You need a reality check dude.

OLPC and it's cultural implications (3, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17543990)

Has anyone backing this project considered how these laptops will become nothing more then a symbol of America and 'Westernization'? What happens when it is taken as a political message that these are being distributed to certain regions, and groups who oppose the symbolism move to suppress it? I know this is outside the scope of the current discussion but I am genuinely interested in what has been considered, especially before I think about writing a check...

Re:OLPC and it's cultural implications (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544962)

What happens when it is taken as a political message that these are being distributed to certain regions, and groups who oppose the symbolism move to suppress it?

It's only being distributed to people who pay for it. I don't think they're going to deny any comers, though. It's not like these things are powerful enough to be classified as munitions or anything :D

The whole world is becoming more modern... except those parts that have been shit upon by some more powerful organization (usually a nation, but sometimes someplace like the whichever-india trading co... with the assistance of a nation) and have thus been artifically kept back. This is an attempt to help rectify the rectum-enlargement the first world has imposed on the third.

Re:OLPC and it's cultural implications (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545006)

They are not being "distributed to certain regions". The ministries of education in countries that want them arrange to buy them at cost, and any country or suitable organization is free to buy them for distribution to children. As it stands, the list of countries lined up so far is fairly diverse both in terms of economy and political systems.

Re:OLPC and it's cultural implications (1)

delphi125 (544730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545108)

They will be constructed in Taiwan. Perhaps in 10 years time the Nigerian ones will be constructed in Nigeria. The OS and keyboard will be localised. This is the modern, non-religious equivalent of missionaries. Missionaries have been treated badly often enough not to be nice, but have also chosen their battles - and OLPC is at the request of the receiving country, rather than air-dropped into hostile zones.

Re:OLPC and it's cultural implications (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545574)

There a lot more things in the queue before lime green laptops for that title.

Forget the artificial constraints! (1)

ThePineTree.net (984445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544032)

Why even try to limit the roll-out to third world countries. Just let market economics drive down the price! Who knows if they sold these by Tens of Millions the price would probably drop down under the $50 barrier. Think of the Halo effect this might have! Having a full function computer at the price of a bargin basement cell phone. We run a local news site and I can think of lots of ways we could run promotions to "Give" them away!

No hand crank! (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544086)

They replaced the hand crank with some yo-yo thing. I find that hugely annoying, even if the yo-yo thing works better. They totally trashed my dream of bringing a bright green wind up laptop to a vendor demo and annoying the hell out them cranking my obscenely bright laptop in the middle of their presentation and sending mesh text messages to my co-workers.

I asked for a hand crank, instead I get some yo-yo thing. Humpfh.

Re:No hand crank! (2, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544278)

I asked for a hand crank, instead I get some yo-yo thing. Humpfh.

        My god! I think you may have just read your father's mind!

(kidding, kidding. Couldn't resist)

Re:No hand crank! (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545474)

...and I wanted it to play "Pop Goes The Weasel" when you turned the crank...

300 bucks' a good price. (1)

stardude82 (1030976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544118)

That would be about right for the current generation of e-paper products and less than the other Linux web tablets (i.e. Nokia). Not to mention more powerful than both. /My first laptop didn't have as good of specs as the X0 (133 mhz, 32 mb ram, 9 in. lcd, 500 mb hd, no CD drive) and you didn't hear Intel or Microsoft bitch about it having "inferior hardware" back then. Ran everything I needed it to up until '02.

umm..network access? (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544190)

How are people in rural areas going to get network connections? If the OLPC is working as a wireless router then there needs to be at least one WAP somewhere in the frontier that is being picked up by a OLPC and rebroadcasted to other OLPC. Who will be providing the network infrastructure? People in these rural areas don't even have electricity. Sometimes they get it by splicing a main line and dragging a wire into their houses. Even then the electricity often goes out for several hours every day.

Re:umm..network access? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17545008)

The idea is that the governments behind the OLPC project will also be providing some sort of network link, and meanwhile the OLPCs are supposed to mesh network. I would give you a hard time for not just answering these questions from their page or their wiki but frankly I couldn't find it either - I've just been following the discussions here on slashdot.

Side FX (1)

Device666 (901563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544516)

Let's hope those people in the poorer nations don't discover ebay to soon. They might sell their OLPC...

Put them everywhere, 1st world & 3rd... (4, Insightful)

gwn (594936) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544682)

I provide volunteer IT support in a school and I would love to see the over priced, over engineered, fragile, feature rich, but utility poor machines we currently put in schools replaced by machines along these lines.

Look at what the computers really get used for in our kids classrooms and you start wondering who is really benefiting from them being in there... hint, not the students, think big business.

If I could convince a parent, teacher, principal, or school board to buy OLPC computers with the added benefit of outfitting a student, class, school, or school board in the developing world at the same time... FANTASTIC! Partners in a global community. Where do I sign up?

They should make a full PC from this design. (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#17544882)

A Linux alternative to the Mac Mini, with just enough extra bits to run AIGLX while still on a 12V adaptor.

I'd buy one. Hell, I'd buy ten and give them away to people.
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