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OLPC Mass Production Begins

ScuttleMonkey posted about 7 years ago | from the long-uphill-battles dept.

Hardware 187

chris_mahan writes to tell us that mass production of the $100 laptop is finally being ramped up. "Hardware suppliers have been given the green light to ramp-up production of all of the components needed to build millions of the low-cost machines. Previously, the organization behind the scheme said that it required orders for 3m laptops to make production viable. The first machines should be ready to put into the hands of children in developing countries in October 2007. "There's still some software to write, but this is a big step for us," Walter Bender, head of software development at One Laptop per Child (OLPC), told the BBC News website."

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187 comments

So, can we buy civvie models yet? (3, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#19959823)

I want to support OLFM, One Laptop For Me.

Re:So, can we buy civvie models yet? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19959959)

Hmm, me too... BTW the BBC also has a good feature guide [bbc.co.uk] (at least by the standards of the mainstream media)

Re:So, can we buy civvie models yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960139)

I was about to say, since I'm a child at heart. More importantly, a child at heart without a laptop!

Re:So, can we buy civvie models yet? Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960447)

I want one, want one, want one.

And if'n I don't get one, I'll thcream & thcream & thcream til I'm thick.

Seriously though, I really do want one & would be prepared to cough up 200 squids for one. Where do I sign up?

Neil

Re:So, can we buy civvie models yet? Please (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#19960599)

Seriously though, I really do want one & would be prepared to cough up 200 squids for one. Where do I sign up?
`0.o Er, do you appear on one of those Japanese competitive eating shows? I'll give you the laptop for free so long as you promise not to do that.

Re:So, can we buy civvie models yet? (1)

lixee (863589) | about 7 years ago | (#19961285)

I want to support OLFM, One Laptop For Me.
Patience. The Asus EEE is due in a few weeks. It beats the pants out of this one.

Re:So, can we buy civvie models yet? (2, Interesting)

rcw-work (30090) | about 7 years ago | (#19961689)

Patience. The Asus EEE is due in a few weeks. It beats the pants out of this one.

Except for two things (for me anyway): a display readable in direct sunlight, and extended battery life (the presenter at LinuxFest Northwest earlier this year claimed he left an XO running for 24 hours once while it was displaying the camera's output on the screen).

So in a year or so... (4, Interesting)

Stanistani (808333) | about 7 years ago | (#19959851)

We'll shortly know how this massive social experiment works out. If it's even half as successful as they planned, Negroponte and folks deserve a Nobel.

Re:So in a year or so... (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19959941)

Hell yeah!

Re:So in a year or so... (1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#19960231)

Call it schadenfreude, but I'm going to laugh my ass off if this grand noble effort just results in a slew of new ID thieves and scammers in Africa, a Muslim backlash against internet immorality, and a thriving black market in OLPC laptops stolen from kids or redirected by corrupt officials. Throwing laptops at kids in shithole countries may sound like a great idea, but that's making a LOT of assumptions (that they'll only use them for good, that the officials in their countries will actually distribute them rather than sell them, etc.).

Re:So in a year or so... (3, Interesting)

Dr. Evil (3501) | about 7 years ago | (#19960329)

I look forward to exploiting this low-cost labour for click-farms.

Re:So in a year or so... (1)

Stanistani (808333) | about 7 years ago | (#19960767)

Walter Bender: "Kiss my shiny philanthropic ass!"

Re:So in a year or so... (1)

gradedcheese (173758) | about 7 years ago | (#19960827)

Uruguay is a shithole country, eh?

Re:So in a year or so... (4, Insightful)

jeevesbond (1066726) | about 7 years ago | (#19960847)

Throwing laptops at kids in shithole countries may sound like a great idea, but that's making a LOT of assumptions (that they'll only use them for good, that the officials in their countries will actually distribute them rather than sell them, etc.).

Whereas you are quite happy to assume everyone that lives in a developing nation is corrupt, evil and not worthy of a chance at a better life. Of course all of us middle-class people in the West, our business leaders and politicians are all whiter-than-white. We're incorruptible!

Ever heard of a self fulfilling prophesy? Treat someone like a criminal and you'll generally force them to act like one: but try to help, do some good and a lot of people will respond. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if the OLPC--and projects like it--will decrease the amount of crime in developing nations. People will be empowered to work on worthwhile projects, and it will build communication bridges with people in the West.

Wake up and stop dehumanising the rest of the world. There are arseholes everywhere, but there are plenty of good people too. Yes some OLPCs will appear on e-Bay, no doubt a few will be used to run scams (although most scammers already have computers), but the vast majority will be used for education. The benefits far outweigh any potential problems, it's really sad people like you can't see that and insist on branding whole nations of millions of people as scum (probably without having ever even visited the continent).

Re:So in a year or so... (2, Informative)

orasio (188021) | about 7 years ago | (#19961303)

Throwing laptops at kids in shithole countries may sound like a great idea, but that's making a LOT of assumptions (that they'll only use them for good, that the officials in their countries will actually distribute them rather than sell them, etc.).
I don't think my country is a shithole country. It's a beautiful place to live, but a somewhat bad place to try and make a living.
I don't know where you live, but unless you live in _some_ countries in Europe, your country probably falls better under the standard definition of what is a shithole, than my country.
Aside from that, we don't have enough money to give equal education to all our kids.
We have too few teachers for them, and giving the kids access to better forms of communication, and all the reading material they need, I thing we are taking a big step towards making education in Uruguay more fair than it is right now.

Re:So in a year or so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19961887)

I don't think my country is a shithole country. It's a beautiful place to live, but a somewhat bad place to try and make a living.
Exactly.

And it's a bad place to try and make a living, mostly, because of the exploitation and resource-draining the third world countries suffered through history from the developed countries. Your "glorious" and advanced nations are "developed" because you sucked the blood out of our "shithole" countries, helped by the corruption and greed of local politicians.

So shut the frag up, you fat "developed" citizens, this is a great project, stop bashing it!

(The developed countries are the responsible for an incredible amount of ecological havoc, too, so your model is not something all "underdeveloped" countries want to emulate. We don't want to be like you. It would kill the planet.)

ebay! (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 7 years ago | (#19960657)

We'll shortly know how this massive social experiment works out.

Yes, I'm going to try to pick one up on eBay for cheap, too. Wonder how much they will end up fetching?

Re:ebay! (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 7 years ago | (#19961309)

Why not buy them from the program its self? Or are they not offering the buy one for you and one for "them" yet?
I want one as a WiFi monitor alone. It'd be perfect as it's already ruggedized and low power.
-nB

Re:So in a year or so... (4, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | about 7 years ago | (#19960819)

So in a year or so... We'll shortly know how this massive social experiment works out.
In a year or so? What exactly do you expect to happen in a year or so? The end of starvation and civil wars in Africa?

I think a more reasonable time frame is 10 or 15 years. I remember using BBSes in the mid 90s and dreaming about an internet connection and one of those funky email addresses with an '@' symbol in it. I would never, *never*, *NEVER* in a million years predicted technologies such as Wikipedia or Bittorrent. Nobody did -- not Bill Gates, not Negroponte -- not any of the Powerful Old Men in computers. It takes a generation of new kids who can think outside the box and have the free time and audacity to try something that everyone knows could never work. Even now very few wikipedia proponents would ever say that they thought it would be as successful as it is.

If millions of kids spend their formative years with a completely hackable, programmable, peer-networked computer, we are going to see a complete revolution of computing technology. It doesn't matter that they have brown skin, speak no English, or live in a jungle hut. They will do amazing things with programs and computers that the last generation would never think of. If there are millions of OLPCs distributed, the internet will be totally different 20 years from now.

Re:So in a year or so... (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 7 years ago | (#19961111)

Negroponte and folks deserve a Nobel.

For what, making cheap shit to sell to poor people? So then, what does Wal-Mart deserve, 10 Nobel Prizes?
All this guy is doing is selling cheap stuff. There's simply nothing at all interesting or remarkable about what this guy's doing.

Re:So in a year or so... (2, Informative)

Stanistani (808333) | about 7 years ago | (#19961891)

He's trying (he might yet fail) to give people the means to more easily educate themselves; to change the dynamics of the educational system in some countries; to enable collaboration between children in said systems through an innovation in applied technology; and give educators a useful tool.

Not precisely what you said.

Re:So in a year or so... (1)

goldspider (445116) | about 7 years ago | (#19961579)

...and if it doesn't, simply chalk it up to the untold billions of dollars already flushed down the third world toilet.

After all, it's not results that matter, but the perception that you are trying.

Re:So in a year or so... (1)

Stanistani (808333) | about 7 years ago | (#19961857)

Remember the Peace Corps?
Look down at your sig.

Blah (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19959863)

Most of these people would probably better off getting $100 which is like 5 years wages where they live.

Re:Blah (2, Funny)

fr4nk (1077037) | about 7 years ago | (#19959917)

They seem to like the ability to browse porn [slashdot.org] too.

Re:Blah (3, Funny)

d3ac0n (715594) | about 7 years ago | (#19960169)

Heh, I was going to post that link, but you beat me to it.

Personally, I suggest a new slogan:

"OLPC, Bringing Internet Porn to horny third world pubescent boys!"

They could include a complimentary subscription to playboy online and a safer sex care pack!

In all seriousness, Come on. Did anyone REALLY think that these things would be used for only "educational" purposes? Hell, I'll bet good money that the majority of them hardly EVER end up used for education. Unless you consider learning new sexual techniques "education".

Re:Blah (2, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 7 years ago | (#19960651)

I think they'll be in for a surprise when they learn that women in other parts of the world aren't mutilated via clitorectomy. So, there's your educational benefit right there.

Re:Blah (2, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | about 7 years ago | (#19961821)

Heh, I was going to post that link, but you beat meat to it.

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Blah (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | about 7 years ago | (#19960083)

I think the idea is that if kids learn how to code, they'll get far more benefit than getting a handout.

Re:Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960175)

Yeah they'll be able to code viruses to steal peoples ID's and hack the internets so they dont have to come up with 419 scams!

Re:Blah (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960201)

They don't have enough food!

THAT IS THERE FUCKING PROBLEM

THEY CANNOT COMPILE THEMSELVES SOME GRAIN

you fat fuck slashdot sons of bitches don't understand anything. I've been to Africa. I NEVER want to go back to that pit of despair. You idiots honestly believe that some laptops and an internet connection will help them. You idiots. You believe that Microsoft and RIAA are the ultimate enemy, and that RMS and the GPL will save the universe, but you live in a bubble without a fucking clue

Re:Blah (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | about 7 years ago | (#19960233)

THAT IS THERE FUCKING PROBLEM
Quite obviously, western-style education hasn't worked out for you.

Re:Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960235)

Yeah, I can see it now.
 
"We used to starve almost to death, daily. But since I got this laptop, I've been eating arrays night and day!"
 
This either solves nothing, or next to nothing. Either way, your time and money is better spent elsewhere.

Not really (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#19960417)

  1. if they produce electronic text books on this, that it will be lower cost education than what is currently happening. IOW, the country will have more to spend on improving total education, on health factors, etc.
  2. This is a case of give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish. It is difficult to get an education in many countries. If this raises education levels, then it will raise the country as well.

Considering that you are a brave AC, I am guessing that you already know this, and are just opposed to THIS project.

Mod parent up (1)

IgLou (732042) | about 7 years ago | (#19960851)

You really have stated the whole point of this project quite nicely.

I'm guessing this is going to be high risk but considering how (IMHO) education is the root to solving so many problems I'd say it's worth the go. Seriously, can it get worst for them??

Re:Mod parent up (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#19960931)

Sadly, it will. The countries with the lowest education levels are those closest to the equator. And it will get MUCH worse if even a partial of the global warming models come true. As it is, darfur is a glimpse at what we are going to see (new comers wanders over owners lands that is currently suffering due to drought). The best (and probably only) way out of all this is via education. Funny thing, is that education helped to create EU, America, and Russia. Now, it is helping to lift China and India out of the abyss. Education IS the key. And yet, you have so many who fight not just moving to LOW cost computers, but the very education that will help. Considering that AC is likely a fellow countryman of mine, it is sad. I guess many ppl prefer a case of "let them eat cake".

Re:Blah (1)

madseal (916186) | about 7 years ago | (#19960729)

Well ... that or take the $3000 for 30 kids and you can probably afford to construct a building,enough used books to teach them all the way through high school and enough left over that you might be able to pay for lunch for them as well for a year.

Re:Blah (1)

markov_chain (202465) | about 7 years ago | (#19961871)

I don't know, $3000 is a lot easier to pocket than a bunch of purpose-made laptops with all kinds of activation features.

Re:Blah (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#19961025)

Most of these people would probably better off getting $100 which is like 5 years wages where they live.


In what is, IIRC, the largest launch country, Brazil, median income for black women (the worst off racial/gender mix) is $156/month. (source [reuters.com] )

Heck, even Rwanda (which is one of the poorest nations that may get it early, through Libya purchasing it for them) has an average per capita annual income of $206 (source [state.gov] ), over an order of magnitude higher than you suggested for "most" OLPC recipients.

When's the "commercial" version coming? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | about 7 years ago | (#19959877)

IIRC they were saying something about a "buy 3 get 1" thing a while back so anyone could get one. Are they still doing that?

Re:When's the "commercial" version coming? (2, Informative)

charlieo88 (658362) | about 7 years ago | (#19960029)

Nope. Scroll down to pledgebank.

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Retail [laptop.org]

Re:When's the "commercial" version coming? (1)

Selfbain (624722) | about 7 years ago | (#19960431)

This probably suffered due to lack of awareness. I would have signed up for it but I didn't hear about it until now. I want one of these damn things and I'm more than willing to pay $300 or so for it.

Yay! One PornTop Per Person! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19959911)

Finally, children in first world countries will be able to access pornography! [slashdot.org]

Oh wait... nevermind.

price (1)

dotpavan (829804) | about 7 years ago | (#19959933)

FTA: "The XO currently costs $176 (£90) although the eventual aim is to sell the machines to governments for $100 (£50)."


PS: have the queues started yet? with waiting lines being "in", for xbox, iphone and HarryPotter books lately..

kids in the states (3, Interesting)

jshriverWVU (810740) | about 7 years ago | (#19959935)

Will kids in the states also be eligible for these? Think WV, Kentucky, or any poor state in central US. Or is it limited to just 3rd world countries like Mexico, Africa, etc

Re:kids in the states (1)

Virgil Tibbs (999791) | about 7 years ago | (#19959985)

they are ONLY on sale to Government/non-profit entitys. pester your local government about them

Re:kids in the states (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#19960293)

Since it seems that there are so many people interested in getting one of these for themselves, would it be possible to set up your own non-profit to distribute them to regular people? Possible things include charging extra and donating funds to the OLPC project or other such organizations. Seems like they refuse to sell them to end users, but why miss out on a market that is obviously there? Especially when it means increased production, which will bring down production costs, and allow extra funds to bring down the cost for the 3rd world countries.

Re:kids in the states (5, Funny)

Xybre (527810) | about 7 years ago | (#19960097)

Africa isn't a country. Oh wait, you went to American public schools? I feel your pain.

Re:kids in the states (1)

br4nd0nh3at (1082179) | about 7 years ago | (#19960699)

Great response your schooling is paying off.

Greetings from the Nation of Africa! (4, Funny)

locokamil (850008) | about 7 years ago | (#19960133)

COMING AS I DO FROM A NATION OF DEPOSED MILLIONAIRE PRINCES AND BRUTAL MILITARY DICTATORS, I AM EMAILING YOU TO REQUESTING YOUR ASSISTANCE IN MOVING MONEY IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,000,000 (TM) AWAY FROM THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF THE NATION OF AFRICA TO AVOID [SOB STORY].

IN RETURN FOR YOUR HELP, YOU WILL RECEIVE AN AMOUNT OF NO LESS THAN 120% (POSSIBLY MORE) OF THE TRANSFERRED AMOUNT. PLEASE REPLY AT THE SOONEST WITH NOTIFICATION OF YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THIS DEAL, BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION AND SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.

YOURS RESPECTFULLY,
GENERIC AFRICA MILLIONAIRE PRINCE

1 AFRICA ROAD
AFRICA CITY, 12358
NATION OF AFRICA

Re:Greetings from the Nation of Africa! (2, Interesting)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | about 7 years ago | (#19960253)

Actually in the Sunday business section of the NYT they were on about how Africa has only 4% coverage as far as the internet.

Oddly enough - and I'm quite serious - they mentioned the countries along the northern coasts, and south africa (the country - not the general region). Not one - NOT ONE WORD - about Nigeria.

SSSoooooo please - someone - ANYONE - tell me. HOW are these (insert 500 mindblowingly creative and vulagar epithets here - and a few involving fetuses in microwave ovens just for good measure) Nigerians getting out so much email with so little fucking connectivity?

Cause I for one WANT TO KNOW. Why can't we just block the whole country? The whole goddamn country? Just shunt the whole IP prefix off the map? Tell the routers that it's a ping flood and dump the bozos?

Re:Greetings from the Nation of Africa! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#19960713)

Well, Nigeria [wikipedia.org] has a population of about 140 million. If .01 % of the people in Nigeria have internet, then there's still 14,000 people with internet. 14,000 people can generate a lot of email. Even if it's just 100 individuals that are causing all the problems, then they could still generate a whole bunch of email. Plus, you can't just block all email from an entire country, Umaru Yar'Adua (President According to Wikipedia) would probably be pretty mad if he couldn't send out any email.

Re:Greetings from the Nation of Africa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960841)

Net cafes. And the vast majority of Nigerian scams do not come from Nigeria.

But if you'd done the slightest bit of research, you'd know.

Re:kids in the states (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | about 7 years ago | (#19960137)

Will kids in the states also be eligible for these? Think WV, Kentucky, or any poor state in central US. Or is it limited to just 3rd world countries like Mexico, Africa, etc

Africa is not a country.

Mexico is not 3rd world

To answer your question, somewhat [wikipedia.org]

Re:kids in the states (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960409)

Mexico is almost universally considered to be "third world".

Hmmm (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#19960481)

If Mexico is NOT 3rd world, then what is your definition of such?

Re:kids in the states (1)

squale (472682) | about 7 years ago | (#19960397)

Neither Mexico nor "Africa" is a third world country

Re:kids in the states (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | about 7 years ago | (#19960511)

Since people are being pretty harse. From a lot of references I've read over the years most refer to Mexico as a 3rd world country. As for africa, I was referring to it as a continent since pretty much every country (except for Egypt) seems to be at the developmental state. Besides the nit picking, the point is more important. I'm glad they're doing this, as other have posted, it'll give a kid some way to break behind their social barrier. But we should allow kids in the US the same opportunity.

Re:kids in the states (1)

hvrbyte (537069) | about 7 years ago | (#19961549)

I don't know about most of Africa being in a developmental state.

Being from Africa originally (South Africa specifically), and having been to quite a few places there, I wonder at your choice of Egypt.

South Africa in particular has an economy nearly twice the size of Egypt and is pretty much regarded as the most developed (both socially and economically) country on the continent (see Wikipedia), and is something like #28 in the world when listing countries by GDP.

In fact, Egypt is #51 on the list, behind Nigeria and Algeria (two other African countries).

Africa isn't as dark as everyone seems to believe. Some places like Botswana, Gabon, the Seychelles and a couple of other ones are actually quite nice. Granted, they don't compare to the US or (most of) Europe, but applying western definitions to them just doesn't work.

Re:kids in the states (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#19960795)

Will kids in the states also be eligible for these?


There is no such thing as individual "eligibility" for the laptops, so the question is incoherent. Yes, the US Department of Education is as free as any other national education ministry to purchase the laptops for distribution on a one-per-child basis, though of course they aren't the principal target market and the OLPC feature set is designed around use in a very different environment than one of the most developed nations in the world.

Free laptop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19959949)

I think I'll stick with my free laptop. [fatwallet.com] Or my slightly less free laptop. [fatwallet.com]

So who gets theirs first? (5, Funny)

dashslotter (1093743) | about 7 years ago | (#19959963)

The kids in the factory that makes them?

Re:So who gets theirs first? (1)

metlin (258108) | about 7 years ago | (#19960049)

Ouch.

That probably hit a raw nerve somewhere.

Imagine that!! (1, Redundant)

TheDarkener (198348) | about 7 years ago | (#19959969)

An initiative to better the world.

You don't see that much these days.

Yes you do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960183)

But most /.ers bash the members of the groups.

My favorite is www.fh.org [fh.org] (www.fh.org)

Of course, suggesting people join in the service of a benevloent king who wants to bring people life and freedom is apart of it. :)

Re:Imagine that!! (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | about 7 years ago | (#19960309)

Wouldn't building better water, road and electricity infrastructures be a better way to help the world? Most of the articles I read about OLPC mention Africa which is a place that often lacks the basic systems I just mentioned.

Re:Imagine that!! (2, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | about 7 years ago | (#19960731)

Wouldn't building better water, road and electricity infrastructures be a better way to help the world? Most of the articles I read about OLPC mention Africa which is a place that often lacks the basic systems I just mentioned.

Better? I don't know if you can even put them in the same category.

The fact is, these computer hardware manufacturers and the OSS community are pulling their own resources together for the vision of bringing technology and information to parts of the world that don't yet have it.

How about asking the major electricity/water industry powers to pull together like Intel, AMD and others are doing to help better the world with respect to their specialties? I'm sure they have plenty of money to spend, and THEY are the experts in those fields, not AMD/Intel/others in the technology market.

This is very exciting news (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19960001)

OLPC has so much potential for communication and education; I can't wait till this project really gets off the ground.

Will it... (0, Flamebait)

perlhacker14 (1056902) | about 7 years ago | (#19960011)

Will it still be used for illegal activities and porn?

Re:Will it... (3, Insightful)

yvajj (970228) | about 7 years ago | (#19960237)


When did porn become a bad word? Society's today seem to be fixated on how sex is bad for you.

I don't see how having access to porn should deter these users from eventually using it for learning. Its pretty much the same as when we first got access to computers and the internet (or in my day, bulletin boards). The first thing you do is look for porn, and once you've exhausted yourself, start learning to use the computer for other stuff.

As for illegal activity... the users who would normally gravitate towards this will do so whether they have access to these PCs or not.

Re:Will it... (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | about 7 years ago | (#19960335)

I think some time around 1837 [wikipedia.org]

Poor child turns down OLPC computer (5, Funny)

fyoder (857358) | about 7 years ago | (#19960023)

"There's still some software to write, but this is a big step for us," Walter Bender, head of software development at One Laptop per Child (OLPC), told the BBC News website. "
A 3rd world tyke expressed disinterest in the OLPC initiative, saying "Scratching figures in the dirt with a stick has always worked just fine for me. I'll consider getting an OLPC computer in a few years once they've worked out the bugs."

Better ways to spend money (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960053)

So how well does this work when someone is living in a grass hut in Africa and they do now have electricity. I guess they could eat the laptop because we all know a laptop is better then food. Also what is the benefit of this? A child has a lap top to use and learn on. My computer has never taught me anything just because it is on and running Linux or Window. It is the power to connect to the internet, download compilers and execute programs and do research online that has taught me. Will these children have the internet in there area or is this just a ti graphing calculator with a bigger keyboard and a few applications. Why not take the $100 and go to that child's town and make a change. Say you have 100 children in a town so, $10,000, take that money and help them redesign the town so crops can grow better. If someone handed me the controls to a Nuclear Reactor I would not know how to use it, much like if you hand a child a computer and the only toy they have is a bike from the 1970's.

Re:Better ways to spend money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960249)

You're totally right, but since you voiced such an opinion on Slashdot, you'll surely get pummeled by about 200 high, nasal voices accusing you of having your head up your ass because you don't see the value in giving starving children a piece of hilariously useless technology. After all, these are the same people who deride others for not caring in the least about "seeing the source" which may as well be in an alien language (and, effectively, is).

A broad world view has never been a centerpiece of this geek culture, dude -- sorry.

Re:Better ways to spend money (2, Insightful)

sleigher (961421) | about 7 years ago | (#19961281)

I am really sick of reading from all you who think this doomed to failure. You know what??? They are not going to drive village to village and hand them out to the kids playing futbol in the street and say " here ya go kids, good luck!" Can we at least wait until it does/doesn't fail and say "I told you so" or "Great it is working"?

We have been handing money and food to many of these third world countries for decades. Problem is they are still in need. Well I say it's high time we try another method. Maybe this will help, maybe it won't.... but quit the, this will never work and is stupid crap....

Re:Better ways to spend money (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | about 7 years ago | (#19960269)

I've read about a lot of failures, when people just give money, or send in teachers, and so on.

I think it is wise to try a diversity of methods, and see what works, especially when traditional failures are being repeated over and over. If this doesn't work, "oh well" -- it won't be the first time someone has failed in an expensive effort to improve the lives of the impoverished. But if it succeeds, it will be (as far I know) one of the first successes.

Re:Better ways to spend money (1)

yvajj (970228) | about 7 years ago | (#19961385)


There are numerous benefits to this... sure you could take the money and buy food and / or build a better school, however I don't believe this is the same thing.

You don't need access to the internet to be able to stimulate interest and growth. Having grown up in South Africa where internet was (and still is) very limited, my first computer had NO internet access (thereafter BBS's came along).

I had learned to program my first machine (a ZX Spectrum 48k) using Basic, and then machine code.

I'm sure there are numerous kids with the interest and aptitude to become successful if given the opportunity and the tools. Even if just 2% of these kids end up becoming interested in engineering and / or other disciplines, its a stepping stone for the country as a whole, as their kids will follow in their footsteps.

Just because *you* could not learn anything from your computer without it being connected to the internet, doesn't mean others can't.

FYI... these PCS come preloaded with software that allow programming out the box

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Software_components [laptop.org]

Re:Better ways to spend money (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | about 7 years ago | (#19961503)

Oh, gee, you're so right, I bet no one thought of that [laptop.org] .

Re:Better ways to spend money (1)

laura_glow (800651) | about 7 years ago | (#19961509)

You are completely wrong.

First of all, there are some intermediate stages of "underdevelopment", it's not black-or-white, it has shades of gray: there are other options other than "big megalopolis where a population with obesity epidemics consume more gadgets than they need" and "living in a grass hut without electricity".

There are lots of children in Uruguay in a economic state you would call "lower middle class".

"My computer has never taught me anything just because it is on and running Linux or Window. It is the power to connect to the internet, download compilers and execute programs and do research online that has taught me"

well, try to imagine a much more motivated child that in lack of internet connection, starts to trade software in removable media with other children and adults. That is a whole wide world of learning, including new social contacts and interaction. It was that way before the internet, in the BBS era. A lot of people that are programmers today, started without internet, you know.

"redesign the town so crops can grow better".

Why do you think that crops solve anything? Do you even know if these kids are in a rural area? Why not in a hacinated "favela" like those in Brazil? You know, the millions of poor people that congregates around big cities? And why would they do with crops if they were in a rural area? I'm not saying that having good crops would'nt be good to a starving nation, but what about desertic nations? And why the most developed countries import their grain instead of "redesigning cities" to have better crops? Is it that they are better off if they industrialize or trade other values in this, the information era? crops? Why don't you suggest that poor people in New York are helped by giving them the chance to raise crops? please!

"If someone handed me the controls to a Nuclear Reactor I would not know how to use it"

You are underestimating the intelligence and desire to learn of any child. Give a child the controls to a Nuclear Reactor, they will have the desire to learn how they work, a powerful need that recedes when we become adults.

They absolutely need to open these up (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#19960059)

And not only allow sale to civilians, but release some sort of development environment/emulator.

Unless the hackers of the world adopt this thing, it'll never be anything more than a simplistic fixed-function device.

Can I get the African diistribution? (3, Funny)

denttford (579202) | about 7 years ago | (#19960063)

The one with the preloaded porn?

It's for a... sociological study in aesthetics... purely educational...

Play With the OS Yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960103)

If you want to play on your own OLPC you can download the LiveCD and run it on any hardware you want.

http://uneasysilence.com/archive/2007/07/11520/ [uneasysilence.com]

Where's the LiveCD? (1)

Qubit (100461) | about 7 years ago | (#19961271)

Ummm... there's no LiveCD there.

All the article mentions are "a pre-configured VMWare image of the OLPC OS" and some information on how to "download the OLPC OS from Red Hats [sic] servers...and configure it in Parallels."

A few months ago I downloaded a LiveCD of one of the OLPC builds and couldn't figure out why it wasn't booting on my desktop... of course, then I realized that my desktop hardware was just a wee bit different from the OLPC's hardware... :-)

Does anyone has a GENUINE link to a x86 build of OLPC OS/Sugar?

How did this get in production so quickly? (5, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | about 7 years ago | (#19960189)

Anyone that's done any business in government would anonymously back me up when I say that this whole project moved into mass production so quickly I find it hard to believe. From the olpc wiki, they list some countries.

        * 2.1 Romania--No
        * 2.2 Argentina--Yes
        * 2.3 Brazil--Yes
        * 2.4 Korea---driven by a few citizens
        * 2.5 Libya--Yes
        * 2.6 Nigeria--Yes
        * 2.7 India--No
        * 2.8 Uruguay--Yes
        * 2.9 Rwanda--Yes
        * 2.10 USA--Talking

Anyone that's worked government IT would tell you that it's incredibly difficult to get paid in a timely manner. On top of *just* getting paid, they've been paid so much the entire OEM chain is ready to mass-produce?

Someone somewhere has a lot of influence (e.g. money) to get this going because OEM's certainly don't work for free and governments rarely, if ever, are enlighted enough to see a good thing an let it pass. Who's pushing this and where's the money coming from?

Re:How did this get in production so quickly? (1)

griffjon (14945) | about 7 years ago | (#19960809)

Not to mention, the laptop's yet to be piloted in any real-world implementations, so wherever this money's coming from, it may not really be going anywhere.

Re:How did this get in production so quickly? (2, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 7 years ago | (#19960963)

My opinion is that there is something more going on than what we see on the surface. That much money doesn't just fly around unless Human Nature is involved. Someone, somewhere, is going to be making money off of this; companies don't just operate humanitarian efforts for fun, effectively wasting valuable resources which they could be better putting to use increasing their stock value (stock holders would have a fit if it wasn't otherwise). And I highly doubt they'll be "creating a new market" with these at this price. The overall shitty nature of Africa will remain the same, because they're not fixing any of the underlying social problems which have attributed to the poverty, lack of education, and warfare. (Same goes for the free food programs.)

Just wait: 6 months to a year after they make their way to Africa, there will be a huge scandal.

At the very least, we'll see a lot more "Nigerian scams" popping up. For school children my ass! (Like the adults wouldn't just take them...)

Re:How did this get in production so quickly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19961331)

Let's suppose that the laptops make it to Africa. Furthermore, let's suppose that they get into the hands of villagers and aren't hoarded by the government. Finally, let's suppose there's Internet access available (Though I'm not sure quite how viable this one is).

Wouldn't having more access to information help overcome the lack of education?

Re:How did this get in production so quickly? (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | about 7 years ago | (#19961901)

Someone, somewhere, is going to be making money off of this...

Duh. The component vendors and Quanta are all making money; only OLPC itself is a non-profit organization.

Critical mass for sapience by 4/17/08 (4, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | about 7 years ago | (#19960203)

Millions and millions of little processors hooked up by a ad hoc wireless network . . . I figure we have nine months until it gains consciousness and starts organizing legions of Third World kids.

ha ha (1)

fattmatt (1042156) | about 7 years ago | (#19960251)

Put me on the list of people who will be laughing at this when we reminisce about the Web 2.0 bubble burst.

I would guess that thtat is the same list.... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#19960557)

that said that NSCA web server and then this a patchy server joke would NEVER take off.

heh. (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | about 7 years ago | (#19960357)

"The first machines should be ready to put into the hands of children in developing countries in October 2007..."

Not the only thing to be in their hands according to reports of them checking out www.filthyinternetporn.com.
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/ 21/1353241&from=rss [slashdot.org]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070720/od_nm/nigeria_ pornography_dc;_ylt=A0WTUfF176FG8XwBExgZ.3QA [yahoo.com]
http://digg.com/tech_news/OLPC_Brings_Porn_To_The_ Third_World [digg.com]

Why the grubby wee bastards. Oh wait, this is slashdot and I'm preaching to the choir. Shock horror, boys are the same everywhere...

Re:heh. (2, Funny)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | about 7 years ago | (#19960919)

Well, considering it has a "pull-string power charger", one could argue that the laptop is actually fueled by porn.

crapware fills the vacuum (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19960395)

Probably they will be so filled with crapware and backdoors for spying that any
useful work will be impossible. Maybe the funding is coming from the
Crapware Association.

You haven't heard then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19961081)

They run GNU+Linux.

The Diamond Age (2, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 7 years ago | (#19960403)

The OLPC project reminds me of "A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" found in The Diamond Age [wikipedia.org] . In the book, a poor girl is given a nanotech book that basically teaches her everything should could ever want to know. Later on, it gets mass-produced resulting in an army of intelligent young girls. The OLPC is kinda like that.

Re:The Diamond Age (2, Funny)

nuzak (959558) | about 7 years ago | (#19960875)

> The OLPC is kinda like that.

Fiction?

Nigeria (2, Funny)

Superevil (1092143) | about 7 years ago | (#19960427)

can we opt out of sending these things to Nigeria? I get enough junk email as it is.

That does not compute (3, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | about 7 years ago | (#19961107)

Why do all these stories keep calling this the "$100 laptop", when it actually costs $176 even in quantity?

Sign of project failure (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about 7 years ago | (#19961827)

So they couldn't get 3 million orders, so they decided to go ahead with production anyway? That might sound like a good plan from a cheery-"We're going to save the world" point of view, but that would be a bad sign in any business situation. They've basically tested the market, found that there's not as much demand as expected and chugged ahead regardless. Along with the failure to meet the actual goal of a $100 laptop, this has all the earmarks of a sinking project.

I'm surprised Microsoft wasn't involved because this is exactly what happened with the Zune and Vista.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the OLPC will end with a massive taxpayer bailout when congress is asked to spend $300 million on laptops that no one wants.
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