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Mandriva Linux pre-installed on Intel's Classmate

Hemos posted more than 6 years ago | from the a-brighter-tomorrow dept.

Mandriva 93

boklm writes "Mandriva announced it will have a version of its Mandriva Linux 2007 pre-installed on Intel's new low-end laptop for students in developing countries, the Classmate PC. This laptop comes with 256MB of RAM, 1 or 2GB of flash memory, 802.11b/g WiFi, 10/100Mbps ethernet, 2 USB ports, a 7-inch LCD display and 4 hours battery. Produced in Brazil, shipping is expected to begin in the second quarter of this year, and will be available to Mexico, India, and developing countries."

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OLPC Clone? (3, Insightful)

Eun-HjZjiNeD (1001079) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572661)

Certainly looks like an OLPC Clone to me.

But what the hell, WHY NOT.

Re:OLPC Clone? (5, Insightful)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572915)

An OLPC clone is exactly what it is. Most analysts give OLPC little chance of long-term success. But if any aspect of the OLPC experiment reveals a previously unknown market for computers, the big players like Intel and Microsoft want to be prepared to move in. The potential upside is huge. Currently computers are only sold to a small fraction of the world's population; finding a way to turn the billions of non-computer users into new computer consumers would be a market far to big for any computer company to ignore.

Re:OLPC Clone? (1)

Cato (8296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18583971)

Who are these "most analysts" exactly? OLPC shows every sign of becoming a long-term success, in the sense of delivering a valuable educational tool supporting independent learning as well as school work. The fact that this tool happens to be an innovative laptop is secondary.

Re:OLPC Clone? (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#18579833)

Yes, it indeed is a clone. But isn't that a good thing? Granted, Dell's probably approaching this more for potential monetary gain than for charity, but does it matter?
The OLPC project doesn't have enough financial backing to supply every underprivileged child with a notebook. Do you think those actually only cost $100 to make?
Even if they can manage it on the first pass, you have to take into account that everything breaks eventually.

If more companies did the same, it means a few more kids can become interested in computers, learn more about them, and even get a high-paying job later in life. Send in the clones!

Re:OLPC Clone? (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#18579857)

Just correcting myself. I meant to say Intel instead of Dell.

OLPC Memories? (-1, Troll)

Checkmait (1062974) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572665)

But OLPC didn't have such a smashing success...
While I accept that technology in developing countries with very little of it can help, I have not yet figured out how these laptops will feed the thousands of starving people in these countries, especially in Africa.

Re:OLPC Memories? (4, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572701)

Bah, what part of "these aren't for the starving people instead of aid" do you not understand? these are for people who have food but lack a complex economy which would be needed to take advantage of the global world's purchasing needs. Maybe if they had these computers they could start to learn SKILLS which will be useful to them in generating money for themselves and their region.

Re:OLPC Memories? (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572967)

Maybe if they had these computers they could start to learn SKILLS which will be useful to them in generating money for themselves and their region.

And then join India and Siberia in taking jobs away from us.

But on a serious note, these people don't need toy computers, especially when the actual cost of a real computer is not that much more. More than likely when these things are given away, they will for the most part end up on eBay after having been converted to something that these people find more useful, money.

Re:OLPC Memories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18573121)

And then join India and Siberia in taking jobs away from us.

Welcome to capitalism. Ain't globalisation a bitch?

these people don't need toy computers

Damn right. The darkies might start getting ideas above their station, and we can't have that now can we?

Re:OLPC Memories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18573609)

Welcome to capitalism. Ain't globalisation a bitch?
So, you're saying that you wouldn't mind living under the economic conditions that most Indians and other "second world" economies support? You're full of shit and have no cluse about how economies and living conditions relate. Why don't you buy a plane ticked and fly over and see how you like it for a year? You wouldn't make it a month.

Damn right. The darkies might start getting ideas above their station, and we can't have that now can we?

Totally racist remark that is totally uncalled for.

Re:OLPC Memories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18573715)

So, you're saying that you wouldn't mind living under the economic conditions that most Indians and other "second world" economies support?

No, I'm saying globalisation is a bitch. I made no comment on my position with regards to globalisation. For your further enjoyment, I shall point out that globalisation is largely a US led enterprise. An American poster complaining about someone "taking our jobs" is just so nicely ironic, don't you think?

That last one was a rhetorical question by the way. We all know you don't think.

Totally racist remark that is totally uncalled for.

I shall remember to place nice big <SARCASM> tags around any sarcastic response in future as an aid to your understanding. If only Slashdot allowed the use of the <blink> tag.

Oh, darn. Well next time, perhaps.

Re:OLPC Memories? (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#18574005)

But on a serious note, these people don't need toy computers, especially when the actual cost of a real computer is not that much more.

(Note: I'm not sure if you're talking about the Classmate or the OLPC. I'm responding about the OLPC)

You need to learn more about what the OLPC is. It's not a toy computer, and it's certainly not just a scaled-down, limited version of the PC that you use. Unless you're still in high school, it's more powerful than the computer you learned on, and it's a computer that has been designed from the ground up as an educational tool for kids. It provides a toolset for kids ranging from those who can't even read yet (the basic UI is completely icon-based -- no text at all) through those who want to engage in serious hacking, and provides a smooth continuum of computer use experiences in between. Along the way, it also provides a vehicle for electronic texts, computer art, communications, simulated labs, etc. A "real" computer could do most of the latter, but not all, and does a fairly poor job of the former.

There are also hardware-related issues. "Real" laptops aren't nearly as durable as the OLPC, don't provide the same wireless networking infrastructure and pose significant problems in areas where power isn't easily available.

Not only does a real computer not accomplish the goals of the OLPC as well as the OLPC, it also does cost "that much more". To you and I, the difference between a $130 OLPC and a $300 low-end laptop is insignificant, but only because $170 isn't really significant to us anyway. To people to whom $130 is a lot of money, more than doubling the cost is a big deal. Of course, the OLPC project doesn't plan on selling to the people directly, but to the governments, and any large organization buying millions of anything cares about a 130% price difference.

More than likely when these things are given away, they will for the most part end up on eBay after having been converted to something that these people find more useful, money.

Undoubtedly, that's a problem. I don't think it's a large problem, however.

I spent two years living and working with very poor people in Mexico (and they're actually well off by the standards of some of the areas targeted by the OLPC -- they almost all have electricity, for example) and also spent a bit of time with people in similar situations in Jamaica. One thing I noticed was that most of the parents placed a huge importance on their children's educations. They knew very well that the only avenue available for their kids to obtain a better life was to acquire a good education, and these parents sacrificed a great deal to make sure their kids could learn as much as possible. Of course, even with all the parents could do, the opportunities were limited. Only rich kids' schools could afford computers, of course, and many of the kids had to work part time so that the family could eat. They tried to arrange things so that this word didn't interfere with schooling, but sometimes it just wasn't possible.

I really, really doubt that such families would even dream of selling their children's OLPCs, unless they got into a situation where they truly were starving to death. The idea that their kids could jump into the computer age, learning high tech skills that would allow them to compete internationally for high-paying jobs (yes, taking our jobs away) would make it clear that the value of keeping the OLPC and using it for its intended purpose vastly outweighed any short-term monetary windfall they might percieve.

Keep in mind, too, that these parents want their children to get ahead not just because they love their children, but because their own futures depend on the kids' success as well. For better or worse, the industrialized world has moved away from the idea that adult children are responsible for the welfare of their aging parents, but in much of the world the idea is not only prevalent, it's the only way for elderly people with poor health to survive.

Maybe parents in other parts of the world are different, but I doubt it. They're uneducated and poor, not dumb. Heck, I see the same pattern in my own family: My grandfather had to drop out in the 6th grade because the depression hit rural southern Utah very hard, and the day my father graduated from college was one of the happiest days of his life. He worked three jobs most of the time my dad was growing up, trying to find ways to make ends meet so that his kids wouldn't have to work.

So while I'm sure that some of the OLPCs will end up on the open market, I think many, many of them will be held very dear by families who recognize the opportunity they offer.

Re:OLPC Memories? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#18576667)

But on a serious note, these people don't need toy computers, especially when the actual cost of a real computer is not that much more.


A computer adopted to the needs of a specific market and that is part of a project including software, support, and related products and services targetted to that markets needs—as the OLPC is, though the Classmate seems less so, at least from what I've heard so far—is not a "toy" simply because it is not adapted for a completely different market's needs.

But, yeah, the OLPC and the Classmate are more toy-like because their target userbase is the same as the target audience of most toys: kids. But they aren't "toy computers", they are real, though specialized, computers. (And, of course, that they aren't what you consider "real" computers limits their ability to be converted into money, anyhow, as people with the kind of needs that would motivate them to get what you call a "real" computer won't likely be buying many of what you refer to as "toy" computers.)

Re:OLPC Memories? (2, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573011)

these are for people who have food but lack a complex economy which would be needed to take advantage of the global world's purchasing needs.

People in USA or other "developed" countries might just not be able to understand this. But I know the availability of these kind of computers is something beneficial for Mexico.

Take as an example something that happened some 4 years ago (more or less, around 2003). I was somewhere in Mexico in a friend's Internet Cafe who also sells and repairs computers (btw beige box PCs are prevalent in Mexico), when a person entered the shop and asked for a cheap 486 computer, he was looking for something *very cheap*, not the new Pentium 4, not even a P3, he was looking to pay something like $100 bucks ($2000 pesos) for a complete computer (PC + monitor). Unfortunately, my friend didnt sell used computers, just new ones so he could not sell one to him.

But this gives you a panorama for how is there people that do not have a computer but is also not *starving*to death, Unfortunately, it is the medium-class whose (in Mexico at least) economy is going down and do not have the money to spend in the top line computer.

I am really glad this opportunities are rising

Re:OLPC Memories? (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#18575171)

But this gives you a panorama for how is there people that do not have a computer but is also not *starving*to death

To add another data point, I spent time in rural southeastern Mexico and the campesinos have plenty to eat -- farmers rarely go hungry except during severe drought and the like, and fresh water isn't a problem in the rain-soaked tropics -- but computers are almost unheard-of luxuries. In many cases, electricity is something of a luxury, too, so a standard PC would be basically unusable, even if it could be purchased. These people would get a great deal of benefit from the OLPC, both because it would help educate their children (who often live too far from a school and have to work too much to make attendance feasible) and because it would provide them with a way to get useful information about farming and markets. I could see a young, computer-savvy campesino taking the bus into town to do research on farming techniques and grabbing a download onto his OLPC so that others could read it back home.

Information is power, and the OLPC is about empowering those who are surviving okay, but don't have the opportunity to rise above their present condition.

Re:OLPC Memories? (1, Offtopic)

Pyrex5000 (1038438) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572709)

Silicon chips. They're like potato chips, only slightly crunchier.

One more time around this block (2, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572777)

I wonder if some of you realize it's pretty *offensive to assume that everyone outside of your own affluent country is a barely-human organism subsisting on tree bark or whatever. But here's how laptops feed them:

With the right information, you can increase the yield of your agriculture industry, like much of the world did in the mid-twentieth century [wikipedia.org] . You can increase it a *lot.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573685)

I don't that the people questioning these laptops are trying to be offensive. The honest question that a lot of them have is simply is this the best use of resources? Just how valuable is a laptop going to be for a child in elementary or middle school. I question if a child in the US needs a laptop before they get to at least seventh grade.
Your answer about the right information increasing your yield is correct. However you left out that it was done without computers. In the poorest countries it may make sense to have people going around teaching farmers how to increase their yield. I feel that it would be for the best to try to minimise the amount of chemicals used since those cost money and can increase the debt load of the country. As a replacement for text books wouldn't it be better for the countries involved too write their own and then print their own. If they make their own paper and ink they could keep more of their money in country and create jobs for their own people. To use your language. I assume that just about every country has a at least a few people that could write elementary level textbooks and run a printing press why not use them instead of buying text books from the UK or the US?

In every country including the US a cheap laptop for secondary education sounds very useful but I am not so sure about the OLPC.

Many projects to help poor nations have turned out to be total wastes of money because they where the wrong solution. It isn't offensive to question if the OLPC is the best use of resources the help nations with less resources then the US or the EU. I just worry about a bunch of broken, useless OLPCs sitting around and the money spent on them sitting in a Chinese government bank account. Everybody does know that it is a Chinese company that is going to make them right? I will give Intel some credit. Making their laptop in Brazil will help bring jobs to Brazil and some technical knowledge.

Re:One more time around this block (2, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#18574439)

Part of what OLPC does though is make teching cheaper.

In the US all (most) of the schools can afford textbooks. OLPC could very quickly pay for itself and increase the availability of up to date information. These are problems that only the worse of US schools have so there is not a real parallel.

You ask why not use the local people to write the books and print them? I ask why not use local people to write the lessons in HTML?

Things like tests can be distributed for free, instead of written out by hand. This allows for more time to be spent on productive things which is what computers are all about.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#18574997)

"You ask why not use the local people to write the books and print them? I ask why not use local people to write the lessons in HTML?"
You could but then you are not creating jobs in country for the people doing the printing, makeing the paper, growing the trees or plants you make the paper from, harvest the plants or trees that you make the paper from, and distributing the text books. Most of the costs of a text book are profits for the publishers. Printing is cheap and every penny kept in country is less debt and better living conditions for the people in the country.
Up to date for Elementary level educations? Basic grammar and spelling doesn't change, elementary level math doesn't change. Even most elementary level science doesn't change a lot. You know plants take in CO2 and produce oxygen. A mouse in a mammal, the Earth goes around the sun... I doubt that most science before say forth of fifth grade get to any science that changes a lot.
The entire point was making wasn't that nobody thinks that the OLPC is a good idea but that you can question the value of it without insulting or demeaning the people for the countries that are interested in it.

But if you don't question you will not find the best answer. Frankly the idea of hundreds of millions of dollars of aid money flowing into China to make the OLPC seems like a less than ideal situation. Why not pay a little more and build them in say Mexico, Brazil, or any number of countries that are not exactly at the bottom of the economic ladder but also not at the top. That way you would increase their technical level and economy as well?

Re:One more time around this block (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#18575483)

Point taken about building them in countries that are supposed to benifit from them.

But all the jobs created in text book printing distribution ect. are jobs that could better be spent doing other things (like educating for example). Creating efficiency can be painful, but that is how economies improve. Creating fake work can be a short term solution (see 1930's US) and have great results (see the US 30's era projects), but creating a sustainable economy should be the goal, and creating ineficiencies for the sake of jobs is not the way to go. Much better to just pay the people directly to do whatever they want prodective and hope they start a business that fills a real need. In fact you can do it in a micro-loan fashion and it doens't even need to be charity.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#18575857)

"But all the jobs created in text book printing distribution ect. are jobs that could better be spent doing other things (like educating for example)."
Well I think creating the text book is educating. The people making the paper and running the press probably are not qualified to be teachers. It was more an example of how one could think that the OLPC isn't a clear cut "great idea".
The real point is that people in the poorest counties need JOBS. They need opportunity. Microloans are a great idea and should be pushed hard but let's face it a very poor country can not jump into making CPUs overnight and as Mother Threasa said, "People need to eat in the short term." Sustainable forestry and paper production can provide some wealth for those countries so they can buy medicine and maybe more schools. Printing can help them distribute news papers, and other useful printed materials. When I am working in my garden I take pamphlets on bugs and fertilizers not my laptop.
Paper is sometimes better than computers.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#18576141)

"The real point is that people in the poorest counties need JOBS."

Alas, no. You're clearly very informed, but this line of argument is just an extended broken-windows fallacy, as another replier points out.

What the people in the poorest countries need is GROWTH. Genuine economic growth, based on economic problems being solved in the most efficient way possible. Which, I agree, is often through microcredits, giving the native population a leg up so they can use their intimate understanding of those economic problems and address root causes.

"When I am working in my garden I take pamphlets on bugs and fertilizers not my laptop."
I take neither, because I have copied this information into my brain. This is the most efficient way to store and transport information. In brains. And the most efficient way to copy it is either by speaking to people or by making digital versions of it and sending it down a wire.

"Paper is sometimes better than computers."
Yes. e.g.
-When reliability of electricity (to run the computers) is not good. Hence the auxiliary manual power on OLPC
-When the quantity of information needed is so small that a book is more weight- and cost-effective than a lightweight laptop

I don't see either of these situations obtaining in the case of your average third-world farmer.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#18577001)

Actually there are many problems. Growth is one but frankly in a lot of third world countries you have a corrupt ore at the best overly bureaucratic governments stopping growth and development. The Congo is a prime example of a country with a lot of valuable natural resources and a lot of misery and poverty. I really wish I was better at writing because my reason for posting wasn't to say the OLPC is a bad idea everywhere or a good idea everywhere. What I was trying to say was that there are logical reasons why a person could feel that the OLPC wasn't the best use of resources and that opinion has nothing to do with racism or arrogance but on an honest difference of opinion on the best way to help people. I don't know all the answers to solving poverty and misery in poor countries. I freely admit that the poorest counties have visited is the Bahamas in the late 80s. So I actually know very little about the problems of the extremely poor nations, except what I read, and hear.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#18577875)

'It was more an example of how one could think that the OLPC isn't a clear cut "great idea".'

You are correct the OLPC is not a clear cut "great idea" everywhere (or really even a "great idea" everywhere). But that is a far cry from the claims that some make that it is a waste of money, or that the money is better spent on food as blanket statements. The OLPC program has a lot of positive things about it, especialy in areas with some infastructure to allow at least limited internet access.

You don't take your laptop into the garden, but also the cost of a pamphlet is trivial to you, it is likely not to everyone though. Also, your laptop is not designer for sunlight visibility, rough environment, or operation for extended periods of time without an outlet (perhaps). The OLPC is specifically designed with these issues in mind and therefore could be worth taking into the garden to save $.10 or $.25. If a country is in such a place that sustainable forestry and paper production can provide some wealth, then let us subsidize that with the money saved in the schools to help it get started. If money is there to be made it should not be pure aid money that makes it happen, business should be involved.

With governments as the biggest customer we either have a lot to fear (curruption buracracy ect.), or it is indeed something people that are local feel the need for and not just a western solution jammed down their throats.

I also think OLPC has potential in American (US) schools to reduce the cost of education. It will probably never happen though because the text book companies will not let it.

Part of the problem is that many westerners are all talk and no action (like me). The amount of money "save the Earth" types spend on cigarrettes is stagering and I think everyone can agree it could be better spent.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#18578193)

"But that is a far cry from the claims that some make that it is a waste of money, or that the money is better spent on food as blanket statements."
but you see that is the problem. You get blanket statements like the OPLC is a great idea and other that say that it is a total waste. It is really easy to just write a blanket statement and frankly this is slashdot so short messages without depth are to be expected. What I find so sad is that a statement like the OLPC is a waste seem to inspire people that think they are great to jump to the worst possible conclusions. As I said it is often just a difference in view points. If people would spend half the time thinking that they spend shooting off flames maybe we could actually make more progress.
I agree with you about Tobacco.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 6 years ago | (#18577341)

Why not pay a little more and build them in say Mexico, Brazil, or any number of countries that are not exactly at the bottom of the economic ladder but also not at the top. That way you would increase their technical level and economy as well?
Maybe "a little more" is "a LOT more". Are you seriously suggesting OLPC set up a chip factory in Brazil or Mexico?

Broken window fallacy (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#18579221)

You ask why not use the local people to write the books and print them? I ask why not use local people to write the lessons in HTML?
You could but then you are not creating jobs in country for the people doing the printing, makeing the paper, growing the trees or plants you make the paper from, harvest the plants or trees that you make the paper from, and distributing the text books.
Keeping education based on paper to boost the paper industry is much like vandalizing shops to boost the glass industry [wikipedia.org] . That's not education; that's Animal Crossing. If an XO laptop is cheaper than a set of books, then it is a more efficient use of scarce resources.

Basic grammar and spelling doesn't change
O RLY? See Wikipedia articles Language change [wikipedia.org] and Spelling reform [wikipedia.org] .

Why not pay a little more and build them in say Mexico, Brazil, or any number of countries that are not exactly at the bottom of the economic ladder but also not at the top. That way you would increase their technical level and economy as well?
That could very well happen under OLPC as these economies grow.

Re:One more time around this block (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#18575631)

Farmers have a strong presence online, and there is lots of information that someone in the less-developed world can use.

For example, developed-world farmers fab a lot of their own equipment, including converting old buses and trucks into effective tractors.
A new tractor may be just a dream for a poor farmer, but bobbing a truck chassis and adding hydraulics driven from the power steering pump might be doable.

OLPC is for helping people who really leverage information. Most will probably go to waste, but that does not matter! It's about reaching the few (it's always a "few") who will learn and act on their newfound knowledge.

Re:One more time around this block (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18576607)

We have been down this road before. What some people of industrialized nations are doing in their rush to benevolence is upsetting the ecosystems of the peoples they are trying to help. Will they in the aftermath take responsibility for their actions? Any positive outcome, let alone manifestations of more utopian visions are far from guaranteed. The opposite is far more likely as indigenous peoples of modest yet sustainable means find themselves burdened with the cruelest of shoes, to move forward untenable, to go back impossible. Such is the cost of these gifts from modern societies, the reduction or removal of self sufficiency and the increasing reliance on externalities beyond their control. In the balance hangs life as it has endured and evolved over thousands of years. The risk of good intentions in its failure is to extinguish that life but for the desires of technological synchronicity on a global scale. Success measured by the ability of modern society to mutate that life into unrecognizable form but by who's permission or upon what authority is such action taken? It is not a matter of ability, clearly modern society has demonstrated the technological acumen and the manufacturing prowess to accomplish the task. The greater question is not "can this be done" but rather "should this be done?"

It is my opinion that in the timeline of humanity, although we find places on this planet where human kind has evolved at rates separated by fractional percentages, it is neither warranted nor advantageous to artificially inseminate them with technology in making up the difference for it will upset an otherwise delicate balance, the ramifications of which are unpredictable. But even if the outcome was assured, the greater question remains.

Re:OLPC Memories? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572795)

These are not in place of food. They are meant to address a bootstrap problem. A good way to get a country from "developing" to "developed" is to introduce a skill-based service economy. There's no carbon emissions except from the power sources for the computers. There's no huge 8-lane highways needed to ship materials. Intel can sell more chips to them once they start buying higher-end replacement machines. ;-)

The problem is, you don't teach people to use computers, administer computers, build computers, repair computers, and program computers if you don't have enough computers to make these viable career choices. Once the people get their hands on these systems and learn to use them, there will be a market for higher-end systems, and a skilled workforce ready to use them. Much of the world skipped wired phone systems and went straight to cellular. This effort looks designed to skip the steno pool and the industrial manufacturing economy. If developing countries can go straight to lightweight manufacturing plus information economy instead of going through the heavy manufacturing phase most of today's big economies did, it'll be faster for them. It'll also be better for the world economy, less polluting, and maybe even cause fewer wars over access to resources.

Re:OLPC Memories? (2, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573009)

>starving people in these countries,

Yeah! And what of these charities that teach them literacy and give them medicine? What the hell. They need food, not books and healthcare. They dont need condoms, or clean clothing either. Clean water? For what? Like you said they need food only! Schools are for overfed westerners only.

Obviously, the goal of the olpc and 99% of charitable donations in third world countries is not related directly to food. Lets not pretend that it is. Everytime I hear 'they need food' not -insert something they also need- jsut shows the ignorance of the person saying this. Maybe we westerners can do with some charitable donation to help with our ignorance problem. Like some kind of wiki thats also an encyclopedia. So we can look things up before we post about them online. Yeah, that would rule...

French imperialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572681)

Oh no, its the French imperialists at work again...

But anyway, Mandriva's menus didn't work at 800x600 so how exactly is this going to look on a 7 inch screen?

I love it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572693)

How the world flips a great big "Fark You!" to the USA.

Looks like we are becoming hated even by tech companies worldwide!

256MB RAM? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572705)

Erk. Imagine running KDE/Gnome, Firefox and OpenOffice.org simultaneously on that machine! Not to knock Linux, but it's very weighty on the desktop (although Vista has caught up!) and you really need 512MB if you don't want thrashing.

And no, you don't end up telling students to use TWM, SIAG Office and Links...

Re:256MB RAM? (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573317)

My laptop has 128 MB and runs KDE/FF just fine (no thrashing). One important point: with such a small screen, it's unlikely the users will want to keep too many apps open at once.

Suites also work well internally to share libs. KDe takes less RAM iff you use Konqueror iso FireFox, and KEdit iso OpenOffice. Mixed suites eats RAM.

Re:256MB RAM? (2, Insightful)

cyclop (780354) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573593)

One important point: with such a small screen, it's unlikely the users will want to keep too many apps open at once.

There are virtual desktops.

KDe takes less RAM iff you use Konqueror iso FireFox, and KEdit iso OpenOffice. Mixed suites eats RAM.

Gold truth, but I'd have settled for something XFCE based maybe (Xubuntu comes to mind).

Re:256MB RAM? (1)

bavarian (59962) | more than 6 years ago | (#18577437)

>> KDe takes less RAM iff you use Konqueror iso FireFox, and KEdit iso OpenOffice. Mixed suites eats RAM.

> Gold truth, but I'd have settled for something XFCE based maybe (Xubuntu comes to mind).

As far as I know, KDE with Konqueror is more RAM-efficient than XFCE with FireFox. XFCE and other small footprint window managers need less RAM if you run them without apps, but as soon as you need apps, a single toolkit solution (KDE with KDE/Qt-only apps or, to a lesser extent, GNOME with GTK-only apps) will be more efficient because they share their libs.

Re:256MB RAM? (1)

cyclop (780354) | more than 6 years ago | (#18580085)

Well, XFCE and Firefox are both GTK based, so it's like KDE+Konqueror. Using GTK apps makes a single toolkit solution under XFCE.

Re:256MB RAM? (1)

bavarian (59962) | more than 7 years ago | (#18596253)

Firefox is not GTK based in the same sense Konqueror is Qt-based. It has its own graphics toolkit (XUL) under the hood of the GTK UI, and it does not use GNOME infrastructure to extent Konqueror uses KDE infrastructure.

But I looked up the (somewhat outdated) numbers I remembered, and you are right in the particular case of XFCE + Firefox vs. KDE + Konqueror:

http://ktown.kde.org/~seli/memory/desktop_benchmar k.html [kde.org]

As soon as we add more applications the picture changes though.

Re:256MB RAM? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#18579319)

There are virtual desktops.
And it would be expected that when you switch virtual desktops, the apps on one desktop get swapped out and the apps on the other desktop get swapped in.

Insane claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18575237)

Linux... weighty on the desktop? Aren't you normally flaming Linux for being nothing but a command line and a compiler? How did it go from a text system circa 1980 to "weighty on the desktop" without having gone through "I acknowledge that Linux has a desktop" ???

PS Benchmarks prove you wrong, at that.

Re:256MB RAM? (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 6 years ago | (#18575729)

If it's using flash as main storage, rather than a hard drive, then surely disk thrashing would be much less of a problem anyway?

On the countrary (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#18577457)

Flash tends to wear very quickly when enduring repeated writes. There are usually some spreading algorithme that will try to distribute the write stress accross different sectors.

But flash tends to be sensitive to writing-intensive softwares.

Re:256MB RAM? (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 6 years ago | (#18577385)

KDE/Konqueror/Koffice?

Re:256MB RAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18581273)

students need to learn... and command line interface looks like a good idea to start...

Low end? (1)

glueball (232492) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572711)

Why is this a "low end" system? Is it because it is targeted at the non-US, non-EU market?

I'd consider it "efficient" rather than low end. It's efficient because it will not come with a load of hardware that is not needed at a cost that is not needed.

There are people spending $4K on a system with a 7"-ish monitor who will use it only for email. Perhaps this would be a better system for that market.

Re:Low end? (3, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572817)

Those same people spend $6.00 for a coffee with a fancy, nonsensical "foreign" name and a 500% markup on designer cigarettes that don't even come with designer cancer.

I doubt you will convince them that a $400 laptop == $4,000 laptop for their purpose. They are impervious to reasoning.

Everything I want, nothing I don't want (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572837)

I'd consider it "efficient" rather than low end. It's efficient because it will not come with a load of hardware that is not needed at a cost that is not needed.
Agreed. If they were sold on the U.S. markets, I'd probably buy one myself. I've been looking for a "low end" system for quite a while, but nobody seems to want to sell them. All the smaller notebooks have to have some extra special feature so they can still sell for 800-1200 or so.

Re:Everything I want, nothing I don't want (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#18575849)

You'd think some up-start low-ed manufacturer would step in and make a killing in the 7" $400 laptop market then...

Re:Low end? (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573035)

Size matters. I'd rather have 7" than a 3" PDA/phone screen.

Since Mandriva presumably wants to make money instead of "just" being a non-profit charity I seriously think they should go the route of FreePlay radio. Market in the first world and charge at an appropriate sweet spot -- if only to help support the 3rd world effort.

Just because I have electricity doesn't mean I didn't love my original FreePlay. They probably sold as many in the 1st world as they did in the 3rd.

7 inch screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572717)

is this a misprint? thats nothing...

-1 redundant but still

Re:7 inch screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18573453)

Yes you are right, only uncivilized savages would use anything less than a 17" inch screen and at least 40 ghz dual core and 2gig of ram to read their email.

What like of uncivilized savages are there outside the USA? Just get a credit line and buy your low end $4500.00 laptop. cripes! I'll bet they dont even drive SUV's!

Four hours battery? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572729)

The school day around here is a lot longer than four hours. OLPC paid a lot of attention to the power supply. The spec sheet for this one just shows the battery and mentions an adapter. I'm presuming that the laptop would take the place of text books and as such it would be on all day.

The spec sheet also shows Windows XP pro as one of the operating systems. What up wit dat? I thought Linux was the os of choice because it could be stripped to just the essentials.

Re:Four hours battery? (2, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573575)

They should put Vista on it too. It would make an excellent demo for Linux, having two machines side by side - one running Vista/XP (and practically unusable), the other Linux.

Re:Four hours battery? (-1, Troll)

Phleg (523632) | more than 6 years ago | (#18575387)

Yeah, unfortunately it's the other Mandriva. Seriously, why?

Re:Four hours battery? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#18574303)

What school-kids have a textbook open all day?

Re:Four hours battery? (1)

Heymdall (1025640) | more than 6 years ago | (#18577035)

Well, if that notebook is to replace not only textbooks but also (paper) notebooks which you write in, it should last more than 4 hrs... Ofcourse then it'd need some kind of tablet to draw diagrams and sketches with (I can't really imagine someone using only keyboard and a mouse to do all the maths for example... it's much too inconvenient and the kid couldn't keep up with the pace).

Re:Four hours battery? (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 6 years ago | (#18576821)

You can get it with either Linux or Windows XP. And I believe the 1GB version is Linux and the 2GB is Windows XP.

In Soviet Russia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572749)

In Soviet Russia, you eat computer!

Re:In Soviet Russia (0, Offtopic)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572887)

In Soviet Russia, joke screws YOU up!

Tiny screens. (2, Funny)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572821)

I for one, welcome our new acquired-myopia suffering young overlords.

Good to see they thought to include essentials... (4, Insightful)

StupidKatz (467476) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572823)

TPM 1.2 [wikipedia.org]

1.2: now with 50% more potentially restrictive evil! :P

Third world countries (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572833)

Heh. Making them use RPM should keep them third world for a long time.

Re:Third world countries (3, Interesting)

Ankh (19084) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573507)

For what it's worth, Mandriva has for years (OK, from when they were Mandrake) used RPM-format packages, with package management called "urpmi", which you could think of (if you wanted to) as a slightly improved improved apt-get. You can also use apt-get if you like. Or rpmdrake or Smart. All of which, including urpmi, will download packages automatically, including all dependencies.

On the other hand, they are quickly going to need more Mandriva distribution mirrors in the countries where these new computers are sold, and Mandriva is going to need to work on keeping them reliable.

Nothing but control: TPM, remote monitoring (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572835)

When you compare the features and goals of the OLPC with the Intel Classmate PC, it's almost as if Intel is pushing it as an instrument of control. Don't forget that Mandriva Linux is only one of the available options and the unit comes with a TPM as standard, enhanced 'remote surveillance' and censorship software such as 'Teacher Control' and 'Parent Control'. The unit is a complete antithesis to the OLPC and appears to be nothing more than a cost-down PC with 'Big Brother' features. What a shame since I was praising Intel this morning over their new d80211-based open source wireless LAN driver for Linux - and now I see this.

Mod parent up (1)

fang2415 (987165) | more than 6 years ago | (#18575229)

This AC is right on the money. The only thing way I can add to his comment is by tagging the story treacherouscomputing.

Better for west than OLPC (2, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572867)

This seems to be a much better system for Western school kids (and geeks). A 900mhz ULV intel opposed to a 350mhz AMD Geode will be a huge huge difference. Also key is the fact it's using a real life OS, either XP or this linux distro. The OLPC uses a highly customised OS which bears little resemblance in terms of usage to anything else and despite being OSS, doesn't have a great deal of compatibility from what the devs are saying.

I'm sure there are plenty of brits here who used Acorn Archimedes at school and know how useless it can be getting taught on an obscure OS.

Re:Better for west than OLPC (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573533)

Yes, I would so much rather have been using MS-DOS and Windows 3.0... ugh no wait that's what we did have to use.

Re:Better for west than OLPC (1)

BertieBaggio (944287) | more than 6 years ago | (#18574699)

Yep, I'm a Brit that remembers using an Acorn. I'm not sure of the OS - the newer ones loaded and ran Windows Terminal Services (ugh) which may have been on top of Archimedes (sadly I never paid much attention to the OS back then). I'm surprised at your sentiments about being taught on a so-called "obscure OS" though. I think it's a Damn Good Thing(TM). It's often repeated here that most folk don't learn how to use computers; they just learn to repeat steps that achieve the desired result (eg 'reboot to fix Windows'). Using an OS with different fundamentals and a different presentation on a machine with a different architecture (IIRC the Acorns used ARM processors?) will surely encourage people to experiment with the machine and learn to use it rather than iterating over a list of steps to do a task?

Re:Better for west than OLPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18574935)

NO!!! You're wrong!!!

You must use an AMERICAN o/s. No others are allowed. Linux counts as American because Linus Torvalds is over here now, so he is an American hero.

developed vs. developing Countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18572899)

Developed Countries have it really good.

They're safe because they're the home of terrorists (TV told me so).

They're free because there is no need for security (see above).

And they get all the cool stuff for much lower prices (Cars, Phones, Computers, "Intellectual Property").

Wish I had the freedom to take my income and life there, but the developed country I'm living in doesn't like such freedom.

This is great! (1)

timjdot (638909) | more than 6 years ago | (#18572919)

So is Win-Tel dead now that Intel is selling Linux? Imaginge the millions of people running Linux and contributing to Open Source. Sourceforge is going to have to innovate fast to keep things running efficiently.

When will Linux desktop shipments outstrip Mac OSX? Microsoft Windows? I evaluated as of Oct 24 with the release of Fedora Core 6 that the Linux Desktop is on parity with Windows. Novell SUSE, Madriva, and Ubuntu are all great desktops. Some features are superior to Windows. Some need some polish. We even have offered an "OpenBooter" with the top desktop Linuces pre-installed. Simply plug into your USB and fire away. (Of course old computers need to boot from a helper CD due to their BIOS not being able to boot from a USB drive.)

TimJowers, http://www.serviza.com/ [serviza.com] 2007 will be remembered as the Year of Open Source. The year the market realized its technical superiority in many areas and its order-of-magnitude faster development cycles.

Re:This is great! (1)

jsight (8987) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573071)

This page on your site made me laugh:
http://www.serviza.com/2/Notebooks.htm [serviza.com]

"Price: $2995 USD.

        * Dual Core 2.2MHz Intel processor."


That's a fast processor you've got there. I didn't even think they made dual core 2.2Mhz processors. :)

Re:This is great! (1)

timjdot (638909) | more than 6 years ago | (#18578825)


Dooh! That was supposed to be the 8MHz semi-processor. Thanks for pointing out the error.

Tim

Does this still have a M$ tax (1, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573087)

No matter what OS comes on this, I will bet that the usual Microsoft Tax is still included.

We should have broken up Microsoft during the DOJ trial, but I think this could be renewed as soon as the White House switches parties. This time , put some real muscle behind it and break up Microsoft.

The USA needs to do this to even think of remaining competitive with the rest of the world.

Cheers

Re:Does this still have a M$ tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18576649)

Your first statement is pure speculation.

Your second statement indicates you think you should be in charge of everyone.

Your third statement is made up, with no basis in reality.

+5, insightful

Re:Does this still have a M$ tax (1)

Glasswire (302197) | more than 6 years ago | (#18577131)

Not likely. Vast majority of these will probably be deployed with the Linux stack.

grown up version soon? (3, Interesting)

bazorg (911295) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573277)

If only they'd kill the toy-like design and fitted these 7" screens on grown up laptops, I'd be one happy email/OpenOffice user. And they even used NAND instead of harddrives for longer battery life.. must be a tease...

and a million little hackers (1)

chelanfarsight (835467) | more than 6 years ago | (#18573289)

are born...

Why can't I get one of these!?!? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18573347)

Why can't I get one (or five) of these! This would be perfect for a low end semi-thin client. Get a single powerful server machine for the house, and run CPU intensive tasks from there, and get one of these for each person in the family. It's still powerful enough to use on its own for tasks outside of the house, and it looks small and light enough to actually take places. If it just had a hand crank for power....

Re:Why can't I get one of these!?!? (1)

onescomplement (998675) | more than 6 years ago | (#18578233)

I agree. It would make a great portable network diagnosis tool and also a good walkabout, semi-stateless notebook for everyday use.

Re:Why can't I get one of these!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18580193)

How much do/would these cost retail?

tubg1rl (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18573883)

moronic, dilletante

OS non exclusive (1)

feranick (858651) | more than 6 years ago | (#18576003)

What the poster forgot to mention is that Mandriva is one of the possible option available for the Classmate, the other being Windows XP. I wonder given the choice how many kids would opt for Mandriva...

Re:OS non exclusive (1)

opkool (231966) | more than 6 years ago | (#18578507)

Set WindowsXP on one, Mandriva Linux on the other. Let the kids run both computers, side by side, for a month.

"The survival of the fitest".

My prediction: many (if not all) will choose Mandriva Linux.

Peace!

How do you say Mandriva in english? (1)

TihSon (1065170) | more than 6 years ago | (#18576627)

I find it curious that, at the time of my posting anyway, not one person seemed interested in discussing this article from the perspective of Mandriva's future plans. All discussions seem to be based on the value of the OLPC or an OLPC clone, or the value of cheap systems to third world nations, food vs. education, etc, etc ...

Considering Mandriva has attempted to make inroads into certain African nations recently, and remembering that they still have the easiest to install and maintain system out there for the average Linux rookie, I would think a gang of Linux geeks (such as is the norm on /.) would be speculating as to the future goals of our favourite french distro.

Shouldn't we at least have a distro flame war or something? :-)

It's a totally offensive colour!!! (1)

chris_sawtell (10326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581185)

Who is the ignorant insensitive clod who designed this hideous offensive brick?

Do they not know that you just do not package anything coloured turquoise if you wish to sell it anywhere in the Islamic world?

Well they do now.

Re:It's a totally offensive colour!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18582187)

Excuse my ignorance, but what is the significance of the turqouise color in Islamic countries?

Pre-installed? (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585743)

WtF does pre-installed mean? They installed it before they installed it? Perhaps they meant "Comes with Mandriva installed". Pre means BEFORE, not ahead of time. The more you know!
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