×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

OLPC Launches Buy One, Give One Free Program

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the haven't-we-heard-about-this-before dept.

Education 282

Tha_Big_Guy23 writes "For the first time, and for a limited period only, people in North America will be able to get their hands on the XO, MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte's rugged little laptop that's designed specifically for children. And for each cutting-edge XO purchased in the West, another will be given to a child in a developing country. For $399, customers can order a laptop for themselves; bundled into the price is the cost of delivering a second XO to a child a poor country."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

282 comments

Other options? (5, Insightful)

ScorpFromHell (837952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322505)

With so many other options for low cost linux based laptops coming up, how many would lap up the XOs? Yeah some geeks & some philanthropists ... the tech loving & God fearing maybe ... but will it sell like the Dells?

Re:Other options? (2, Insightful)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322561)

With so many other options for low cost linux based laptops coming up, how many would lap up the XOs? Yeah some geeks & some philanthropists ... the tech loving & God fearing maybe ... but will it sell like the Dells?

I think their going for the philanthropist geeks. If they sell a thousand at this price they can move towards lowering the price.

Do they say how much of the money is shipping to the third world country? I would think if they picked one Costal City for the initial recipients, it would be cheap to ship the laptops via ship and have a local volunteer or two distribute them to the children.

Re:Other options? (2, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322775)

Do they say how much of the money is shipping to the third world country?
 
Since the price is $399 for 2 and the manufacturing costs are "about" $180 each, that leaves $20, or about 10%, for distribution and other miscellandy costs.
 
I wonder if that's enough to cover the 'gratuities' to 3rd world customs officials who just want a little extra something for themselves no matter what it being transported.

Re:Other options? (4, Informative)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322897)

Yeah that's about right. I just ordered one. Here are my numbers right from the confermation email. But I think the sipping might be for my laptop not the one being donated. It was calculated after I entered my address

Payment Details Item Price: $399.00 USD
Total Shipping: $24.95 USD
Total: $423.95 USD
Order Description: G1G1 program donation

Re:Other options? (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323135)

I would think if they picked one Costal City for the initial recipients, it would be cheap to ship the laptops via ship and have a local volunteer or two distribute them to the children.
I went to a local talk on the OLPC a while back, and yes they have considered the shipping aspects. While they didn't mention cost, perhaps because its almost secondary when you're dealing with palettes of computers and corruption, but they were definitely concerned about the security angle.

Re:Other options? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322571)

We all know how sturdy the cheap Dells and Acers are going to be. I bet they will get great battery life too.

Re:Other options? (2, Interesting)

ScorpFromHell (837952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322629)

But certainly Asus eeepc will be a better option if not Dell/Acer?

Re:Other options? (4, Informative)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322915)

I have held both an XO and an Eee in my hands (and a ClassMate, too), and the XO clearly beat the competition in term of built and robustness. It was built expressly for the purpose of surviving usage poor condition (dust, humidity, heat) and are totally centered around the needs of kids, while the Eee and ClassMate where built to be a shrunk-down imitation of full-sized laptop and be as cheap as possible.

As an adult, I prefer the Eee though, mostly because I do not like the XO rubberized keyboard.

Re:Other options? (2, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322981)

The XO is:
1) Same price (4GB w/ camera, less after tax deduction)
2) includes a donation.

Does the better CPU and RAM beet the low power usage reflective mode? I would have to see it to know.

Also, pull chord is a very compelling extra (don't know if it will be available though).

The spill-proof design also has some value to me (business part is in screen and keyboard is sealed).

I personally can't wait to see what the XO gets for it in the hands of hackers (either in the form of full distros or addons to sugar OS).

Re:Other options? (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323283)

I wonder how long before we see all-in-one chip with CPU + GPU + Flash (32GB) + Sound + 1Gb Net + 2GB RAM. At price around $100 would be huge for low-end computers at K-Mart and Co. Such chip would allow for really small box at low price that works well with all "normal" applications (everything minus games and file servers). Maybe AMD/Intel don't want to cut own profits by such design, but VIA could try it, however I am not sure they own flash technology (GPU from VIA is nothing special too, but DVI support would be sufficient in this case).

Re:Other options? (2, Informative)

semiotec (948062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322739)

First, you make it sound like being a geek or philanthropist are bad things or deviant from normal behaviour.

Second, are only the God-fearing allowed to help others? only tech-loving people should play with gadgets? You wouldn't bother helping others unless there was some strong incentive to do so? Your curiosity is only limited to that which you are familiar with? I don't wish to judge you from the few words you have typed in the comment, but the world-view presented within them seems to be extremely narrow and dogmatic. If makes you sound like the people I see who'd go bargain-hunting at charity auctions.

I am sure you are a good person in your daily life.

Re:Other options? (2)

ScorpFromHell (837952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322849)

No, I don't have anything against geeks or philanthropists ... I consider myself to be a bit of both.

I run a group which implements Edubuntu and other FOSS at poorer schools in India for free. So, am naturally interested in XO & all its alternatives out there to better utilize the meager funds (so far zilch) we have.

And I have a vested interested in the success of this buy one donate one concept as it will help groups like ours & many more.

I only put up an honest query and not any rhetoric. I really want to know if the average Joe in the 'developed' countries would really buy these when they get cheaper deals from others like ASUS Eee PC, that do not donate any PC to the 'under developed' countries. I do not know the demography of the typical customer in the 'developed' countries first hand or otherwise. So put up the query.

Re:Other options? (1)

semiotec (948062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322989)

Like I said, I am sure you are a good person in your daily life.

Nevertheless, your original comment suggest that you think that the "average Joes" are only charitable if they are God-fearing? That it takes some "special" people to do good for others?

Would you be interested in the success of the OLPC project if it has absolutely zero bearing on your group?

It is not the aim of OLPC to sell like Dells in developed countries, in case you haven't noticed already. Its hardware and software specifications are far from "normal" usages in such countries, but not far _below_, since in many areas it certain excels. This "give one get one" program serves to bring higher awareness among the developed countries, as the presence of some of these machines will certain generate interest and queries among those who were not previous aware of them.

Re:Other options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322873)

First, you make it sound like being a geek or philanthropist are bad things or deviant from normal behaviour. Second, are only the God-loving allowed to help others? only tech-loving people should play with gadgets? You wouldn't bother helping others unless there was some strong incentive to do so? Your curiosity is only limited to that which you are familiar with? I don't wish to judge you from the few words you have typed in the comment, but the world-view presented within them seems to be extremely narrow and dogmatic. If makes you sound like the people I see who'd go bargain-hunting at charity auctions. I am sure you are a good person in your daily life.

There, fixed it for ya!

Re:Other options? (1)

semiotec (948062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323025)

You don't seem to understand the concept of quotation.

Generally, one is not supposed to change the actual words used.

Re:Other options? (2, Insightful)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322787)

Why God fearing? Where does that come from? I would hope that people today would give without "fearing" God. I mean, people do not need religion to teach them what is right, correct? That is what I hear, anyway. Comments like this, however, make me very much question that statement.
By the way, people who give out of love for their fellow man are God loving. Those who are God fearing send money to the Christian Coalition and try to legislate everyone else's behavior.

Re:Other options? (2, Interesting)

JonathanBoyd (644397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323091)

Actually the Bible frequently talks of the fear of God in a positive sense and being in no way opposed to God loving. A major theme of the book of Proverbs (and the Psalms for that matter) is that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

Re:Other options? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322905)

I intend to buy one solely for the high res B&W screen. If they still sport that....I stopped paying attention because I thought they weren't planning to sell these to the public.

And I'm someone who spends a lot of time in the countries where these will be distributed. I expect to be able to trade into one relatively cheap, but I'm also happy to support the cause.

Re:Other options? (4, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323259)

I think you've missed the point of the OLPC. It's not about a 'low cost linux laptop'. It's a computer designed for group work (mesh network), rugged to take abuse, daylight viewable screen, and educational software.

"It's an education project, not a laptop project." -- Nicholas Negroponte

If you want a cheap laptop, buy the Asus or Dell for $400+. If you want an educational computer designed for kids, buy the OLPC.

Re:Other options? (3, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323303)

My main reason for wanting a OLPC XO is that it can be used as eBook Reader, i.e. the screen can be rotated and the thing converted into a tablet, none of the other cheap laptops I have seen so far allow that, heck, even the non-cheap laptops don't allow that, only the really expensive ones. And all the special eBook reader are far more expensive then the OLPC XO. The only other device that seems to come close is the Nokia N770/N800/N810, but they are all rather small.

When it comes to selling, we have to wait and see. Currently the OLPC isn't even sold by normal means, you can buy two for the price of one, but only when you are in the USA and only when you order it in the next two weeks or so, which kind of limits it to how many people can buy one.

I'd love to buy one, but I guess I have to wait a little longer till its even available here in germany.

Nice Chance for a Donation (2, Interesting)

blh (414027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322517)

Just ordered one a few hours ago.

Nice way to help a worthy cause and not a bad deal for a years t-mobile service.

Re:Nice Chance for a Donation (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322607)

"a years t-mobile service."? I don't see where you got this.

I also don't see where to buy one... I went to laptop.org, but can only find the 'donate money' area, not somewhere I can buy 2 to get one. (It occurs to me that this might make a good present for my niece.)

Re:Nice Chance for a Donation (4, Informative)

tb3 (313150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322661)

Maybe you went to the wrong site, but it's quite obvious here. [laptopgiving.org] $399 for two laptops, one is given to a child in a developing nation. The cost of the second laptop is considered a charitable donation and is tax-deductible. The T-Mobile info is on that page, too.

Re:Nice Chance for a Donation (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323017)

I had to reload the page (laptopgiving.org) several times before the pictures and links showed up.

As for T-Mobile, they are giving one year of free Wi-Fi access, so you can use your XO, or any WiFi device, at Starbucks, Borders, several US airports, etc. It's not free mobile phone service.

Re:Nice Chance for a Donation (1)

desNotes (900643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322769)

Just finished placing my order for one. Agree, it is a worthy cause and would like a first hand ability to experiment with the it.

With the current state of the dollar (0, Offtopic)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322523)

it won't be long until a couple of insert third word currency of choice will equal $399 and the deal will be reversed.

Your sig (1)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322971)

... should be "Plus ça change, plus c'est pareil". Same literal meaning, but yours is not the common French usage.

Re:Your sig (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323087)

It's a quote from somewhere - and it's the common usage in the English speaking world. We tend to misuse your language even more than you missuse ours

A penitant rosbeef.

North America has poor folks too! (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322527)

Though I do not underestimate the level of need in the so called "poor" world, I wonder why the OLPC folks think everyone in America can afford this PC. We have poverty in America too, and people are living from hand to mouth.

I will agree that what America has is what I could call "material prosperity". There appears to be infrastructure everywhere but people are hurting in the pockets. These days, the American dollar has also taken a hit, so everyday stuff is expensive.

Re:North America has poor folks too! (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322581)

From my (admittedly limited) understanding of economics, there will always be a poorer class and have-nots. That being said, why should we focus on ourselves and not give to others that have needs.

I would rather give a computer to someone I don't know (and enable them to learn), than give nothing.

Re:North America has poor folks too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322853)

I would rather give a computer to someone I don't know (and enable them to learn), than give nothing.

I don't think that's the question. Why not focus on ourselves first? Arguably, helping more citizens in whatever country you happen to live in will have an impact on your life faster. As more people escape from poverty, crime rates go down. The quality of living goes up across the board.

There's certainly nothing wrong with helping people out around the globe, but you'd probably get a better return faster on the charity that's close to home.

Re:North America has poor folks too! (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323027)

Sure, for a faster return you should always give locally.

But for a better long-term return (think decades down the line), give globally. There is no long-term benefit in keeping people uneducated globally.

Re:North America has poor folks too! (4, Insightful)

8tim8 (623968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322609)

Though I do not underestimate the level of need in the so called "poor" world, I wonder why the OLPC folks think everyone in America can afford this PC.

Um, is there a statement from the OLPC people where they say that everyone in NA can afford one? It seems to me that they only said that individuals in NA can buy one, if they want. There is no comment about the "material prosperity" of everyone on this continent.

Now that I think about it, the title of your comment is "North America has poor folks too!" yet you only reference [the United States of] America. There are a couple of other countries on this continent, too, don't forget.

Re:North America has poor folks too! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322611)

Yes, America does have poor people, but many of them will balk at the idea of having to crank their laptop to get it running.

Re:North America has poor folks too! (5, Informative)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322695)

I wonder why the OLPC folks think everyone in America can afford this PC.
OLPC is a non-profit who will sell large shipments of XO laptops to any educational customer requesting them. Nothing stops the US from putting in an order for a bunch of laptops for underprivileged children. In fact, apparently [wikipedia.org] Massachusetts and Maine are already involved.

Yes, OLPC is focusing their efforts on third-world countries, but also the US education system is mostly ignoring OLPC. The "why" is fairly simple: it's not because US children do not deserve a good education, and not because they wouldn't benefit from computer access. But, the fact is that the US is structured such that OLPC may not be the "best fit." For instance many libraries in the US have computers in them, and many schools do also. It would appear that in the US the effort is being put into these kinds of educational resources. Whether or not that is the best way to spend US education dollars is of course up for debate.

But it's not really fair to imply that OLPC is ignoring US education. As I said, educational institutes in the US are free to make a case for funding such projects. OLPC will gladly ship the units.

Won't make as much impact. (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322741)

US society already has high technology. Giving a poor kid an OLPC in North America may help him or her. Giving a poor kid an OLPC in someplace where they don't have computers available at the library down the street (which the kid never goes to because his parents and peers think libraries are for geeks and morons) will help that kid interface with the modern world and help bring up the whole country.

Now, I'm not saying poor folks in developed countries brought it upon themselves, or are willfully poor, but I do think that there is greater room for improvement across populations as a whole in other places.

Re:North America has poor folks too! (4, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322979)

Though I do not underestimate the level of need in the so called "poor" world
 
The 'poor' in America are ONLY poor in relative terms. In China, which has an up and coming boom economy, I saw people living in such abject poverty and squalor that I can't even imagine how crappy it must be in Saharan Africa where apparently people have it really rough. Panhandlers at the traffic lights here in the US have it easy compared to 95% of the 'working class' people I saw there. However, even the poorest Chinese was busting butt to better their circumstances and even the most ignorant understood that education for the children was the best way to better the entire family. How many of the poor in the US understand that vs how many understand how to wait for the next handout? Sorry, but I've worked too much with the poor in the US and become completely disillusioned with any romantic notions of how all they need is a little more 'help'. They need the help withdrawn so they'll have a little motivation.

Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322545)

Asus has upstaged (and undercut) them with the Eee PC.

Re:Too late (3, Funny)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322993)

Considering I've been hearing about the OLPC constantly for years so it's permanently etched in my brain, and this post is the first I've heard of the Asus one, I don't think the upstaging has gone very well.

Re:Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21323161)

Asus has upstaged (and undercut) them with the Eee PC.

You know that for sure? Cause I was ready to buy an EEE PC, but now I wonder if they even exist.

The Asus was supposed to be available months ago, but as of yet is still only to be found as pre-orders on Taiwanese web sites. The price also seems to be creeping slowly upwards. And information about why it's late, when exactly it will be available, and what the specs will actually be are sketchy at best.

Ordered! (1)

backbyter (896397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322573)

I've been wanting one of these for my niece. Now she'll have one.

Re:Ordered! (2, Interesting)

soccerisgod (585710) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322627)

Me too! For my niece, as well. Pitty I can't get one because I don't live in the US or Canada. Pitty also for a child that has to go without laptop because of that limitation. I assume it's a) because of limited manufacturing capacities and b) logicistics. Still sucks though.

Re:Ordered! (2, Funny)

Portfolio (552067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322957)

Got one for my inner child! How can I resist a laptop from the folks who first thought up the DynaBook?

OK, when I get tired of it, it will probably go to my nephew (whose second birthday happens to be today).

More information... (3, Informative)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322595)

For those interested, here's a link to the actual order page [laptopgiving.org].

The two laptops will cost $399.00 USD, and shipping is $24.95 USD (for a total of $423.95 USD). Open to residents of US and Canada only. Paypal is the default payment option (credit cards are also accepted). Of that, $200 is considered a tax-deductible donation. Your contribution also gets you 1 year of free Wi-Fi [laptopgiving.org] access at T-Mobile hotspots [t-mobile.com].

The website says that they will try to deliver the laptop before the holidays, but that initial supplies are limited (TFA says 40,000 units in this first month, with 20,000 ready before Christmas), so if you're keen to get one of these things, you should order sooner rather than later.

I'm certainly curious to see how many orders get put in. If a large number of geeks buy these things as hacking toys, then they could very well become the best platform for a variety of tasks. For example, maybe this will finally be a viable e-book reader (portable, rugged, long battery life, display that can be used in ambient light, etc.). Should be interesting.

Re:More information... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322975)

Shame it is US only. I'm on the look out for a new gadget for Xmas. Looks like it is an Eee PC for me after all.

Is this really a good idea? (1, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322633)

I'm sure that this has probably shown up in other OLPC arguments, but is this project really what the Third World needs? I would imagine that it is far more important to get essentials such as medicine, clean water, food, and adequate shelter before we start worrying about something like this.

Re:Is this really a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322715)

Yes it is what they need. Yes it has been brought up. Information/education is what poor countries need to escape poverty... NO ANOTHER BAG OF FREE RICE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re:Is this really a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322951)

Exaclty.
Just like the saying goes. Give a man a match, he'll stay warm for a night, set the man on fire he'll stay warm for the rest of his life.

... or was that something about fishing? nevermind.

Re:Is this really a good idea? (4, Informative)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322837)

I'm sure that this has probably shown up in other OLPC arguments, but is this project really what the Third World needs?
That is an oft-cited criticism [wikipedia.org], and not without merit. However, no one is arguing that OLPC will bring about instantaneous change on its own. Certainly this ambitious project is meant to work in concert with other efforts to help these nations.

First, it should be noted that OLPC is targeting developing nations where there is some momentum to improve things, but where access to technological resources and information are limiting growth. They are not focusing on the "desperately poor" countries where starvation is the overriding concern (take a look at the participating countries [wikipedia.org]). Second, the XO laptops are meant to work side-by-side with other forms of relief, aid, education, and infrastructure improvement.

Saying "why bother with OLPC when people are starving?" is like saying "why bother sponsoring a local child to go to a swimming competition when people are starving?" We can simultaneously be philanthropic in different ways to different groups. Moreover, focusing only on the "most dire" problems (and ignoring everything else) is not a good way to help the world as a whole develop into a safer, more equitable place. So, I view OLPC as a part of the overall puzzle: a positive step that can be implemented in some countries, and which will help stimulate those countries to become more prosperous and independent.

Re:Is this really a good idea? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322911)

Yes it is.
I sponsor a teacher in a school in South Eastern Madagascar. By this, I mean that I pay for her board & lodgings. The government pays her salay (approx $500/year) I have done this for the past 4 years.
The village where she teaches is 4 hours by 4WD vehicle to the nearest tarmaced road. They have plenty of food, clean fresh water etc. What they lack is the rest of the things that connect them with the outside world. There is 1 TV in the village. I supplied it alone with a solar panel, some car batteries and an inverter. They have a pirated Satellite encoder and can now stay in touch with the outside world. The thirst for knowledge of the children is fantastic. If I were in the US I would buy several of these units for the village.
The lack of infrastructure(ie no Electricity) is irrelevant for the OLPC. That said, next year I'm hoping to get a small water turbine installed and connected up to a generator. They will have electric light for the first time. Then we can start to make changes to the houses so that the epidemic of lung diseases can be tackled. This is due to the houses not having chimneys and all cooking is done over an open charcoal fire.
I visited the village again in October. I took supplied of pencils and paper (bought in-country) I also took pictures of the children and printed them out in front of them. They took them home to very proud parents.
The OLPC concept will help bridge the gap between the 1st world and the bottom parts of the 3rd world.

Re:Is this really a good idea? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323045)

You may not see this reply, since you're posting AC, but I'll try anyway...

How did you get involved this way? Is there a particular philanthropic/volunteering group you started out with, and then took on this village on your own? Or did you somehow get in contact with them yourself?

Re:Is this really a good idea? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322967)

I'm sure that this has probably shown up in other OLPC arguments, but is this project really what the Third World needs? I would imagine that it is far more important to get essentials such as medicine, clean water, food, and adequate shelter before we start worrying about something like this.

As an old and wise person once said:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and he can starve because while he's been overfishing the lake to exhaustion to supply Kwik-E-Mart, nobody has planted any rice.

(Or something like that)

Perhaps if he'd had a better education he'd have set up a local fisherman's co-operative, negotiated a better deal with Kwik-E-Mart and ensured that the profits from fishing were re-invested in local infrastructure. Maybe playing some well-designed ecological simulation games on his OLPC or download some good books on sustainable economics via the clever peer-to-peer mesh network would do this trick. On the other hand, maybe building a proper school with a roof to keep the books dry would also work.

There was a comment on the OLPC site at one stage about the back-lit display possibly being the first electric light some of the customers had seen. I'm afraid I had an instant image of an OLPC hanging from the roof of a tent casting a wam glow over a family reading books...

Re:Is this really a good idea? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323059)

Not to mention things like peace, law and order, freedom from corruption... at least some of which are prerequisites for the things you said.

USA? Black Friday... (-1, Troll)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322639)

I'd rather give them to poor and underprivledged children in OUR OWN FRIGGIN COUNTRY but not like that'll happen. Your politicians and upity-up business types get much better press from giving a starving ethernopian a laptop.

Come black friday I guarantee there will be plenty of $400 "real" laptops for sale...there have already been quite a few anyhow. Not much of a deal. Oh, and for those who will say how rugged and durable the OLPC is...yes. But when you can't do jack shit with it even if it survives the trip through a dishwasher...what good is it? As evil as they are, MS is the de facto standard. If you don't know windows you're missing a key skill to join the technology work force. Giving a bunch of kids a one-off linux based laptop leaves out critical skills.

Fail.

Re:USA? Black Friday... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322729)

As evil as they are, MS is the de facto standard. If you don't know windows you're missing a key skill to join the technology work force. Giving a bunch of kids a one-off linux based laptop leaves out critical skills.

And the way to change the landscape is to get people used to using something different in a place where there isn't a de facto standard.

Re:USA? Black Friday... (2, Insightful)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323007)

As evil as they are, MS is the de facto standard. If you don't know windows you're missing a key skill to join the technology work force. Giving a bunch of kids a one-off linux based laptop leaves out critical skills.

And the way to change the landscape is to get people used to using something different in a place where there isn't a de facto standard.
Or $diety forbid teach them to think and learn so that they can make the choice themselves as to what OS to use when their country becomes less technology challenged.

Or is education of the end-user not the ultimate goal here?

Re:USA? Black Friday... (1)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323269)

Education of the end user IS the ultimate goal, but not education in computer skills. The XO laptop is a learning tool, and is likened by its creators to a "pencil". Their goal is to give each child in the developing world their own "pencil" to create with. No one will be reconfiguring their kernels on these things.

Re:USA? Black Friday... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322825)

"Come black friday I guarantee there will be plenty of $400 "real" laptops for sale"

This is one laptop for 200$ US, another one as a tax deductable charitable gift for $200 US.

"Oh, and for those who will say how rugged and durable the OLPC is...yes. But when you can't do jack shit with it even if it survives the trip through a dishwasher...what good is it? As evil as they are, MS is the de facto standard. If you don't know windows you're missing a key skill to join the technology work force. Giving a bunch of kids a one-off linux based laptop leaves out critical skills."

And what might they be? Learning to use a word processor? Check, the XO has this. Browser? Check, XO has this. What exactly does a Windows XP PC have that an XO doesnt? Solitaire? The XO with sugar is a package, its a device capable of browsing, meshed networking, creating documents, and much more. And all of this shared with the rest of the class. If you actually saw the olpc image running, which you can do in an emulator if you download it from their website, you would see that this is a device, in laptop form factor.
I really dont see the point of teaching kids to use Windows Version X and Office version X, when you can give them a specially designed device like the XO and they can use it to access information about *any* OS or software.
After all, are you really suggesting that if these kids were given Windows laptops they would not be able to use a Mac? Or linux? Take a look at the website http://laptop.org/ [laptop.org] and see how it works before you draw conclusions. It is not a laptop for you, nor road warriors, nor VC++ developers. It is a device for platform agnostic kids to access and share information.

Re:USA? Black Friday... (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322945)

You seem to be under the faulty impression that the OLPC laptop is meant to teach children how to use computers. It actually tries to teach them far more basic (and important) skills than that; reading, writing, math, etc. Things that will give these children a way to earn money and escape poverty in the future. That they'll also be able to learn about computers and the internet is just a bonus but irrelevant to whether the OLPC will be succesfull.

Re:USA? Black Friday... (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323217)

I don't use windows since XP, I actually never touched vista, and probably never will. I'm well employed, and the future seems bright for people with gnu/linux knowledge here (Brazil).

Also, the XO was made to make children think, not to be locked in a specific system.

In other news... (1, Funny)

Wiseman1024 (993899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322663)

"The number of nigerian presidents wanting to use your bank account to transfer money in a rush has recently doubled"

XO black market (3, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322699)

Can't I just buy one for myself and let the volume productions reduce the price for everyone?
I bet if they tried the freemarket approach they could get the retail price down to, oh I don't know, maybe 100USD. They could name it "the $100 laptop"

No? Oh ok, I'll just have to buy two Eee PCs for the same amount.

Mod parent funny (1)

lorenzino (1130749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322887)

If I had mod points I will mod you up funny. Not sure you intended to, but you surely are. Wasn't this project (XO) started as the 100$ Laptop ? :P

Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322723)

Wasn't it originally $100.00, then conveniently doubled to $200.00?

Now for only twice the money, you can buy one and get one free! Special price, $399.00 instead of just $199.00, but wait, you get one free! For a limited time only - call now while, quantities last.

Re:Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322885)

Could have something to do with the dollar halving in value?

Re:Free? (1)

yada21 (1042762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323141)

They should have set it's price in ounzes of gold, then the price would remain stable due to the intrinsic value.

Definitely too little too late (2, Interesting)

VorlonFog (948943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322749)

Considering I picked up two full-feature Acer laptops at Wally World [slickdeals.net] two Fridays ago for under $350 each.

Re:Definitely too little too late (2, Informative)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322903)

But the 'Wally World' laptops don't come with a nice warm inner glow of having helped lift some third world child out of information poverty (and you don't get $200 per tax deductable as a charitable contribution)

$399 is pricey (1, Offtopic)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322777)

Why would I pay $399 for a OLPC laptop when I can buy a NORMAL full featured laptop from CC for $299 on Black Friday or $400 any other day?

Re:$399 is pricey (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322807)

Because you're supporting a cause?

Using your logic, why would I donate $100 to the Red Cross when I could just as easily get a mickey of vodka and have a good time for less!!!

Tom

Re:$399 is pricey (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322969)

Because it's pretty badass. At the outset they didn't intend to break new LCD technological ground with the OLPC, but they ended up doing so to meet the requirements. Also, because it's a good cause? That, and you won't get trampled on black Friday obtaining one.

Re:$399 is pricey (2, Informative)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323185)

Because you want to do good (whether OLPC is doing good or not is your call), and because you want a piece of tech history.

The XO basically revolutionize the low-end portable computer market. They where the first to talk about ultra low cost, ultra-portable, low-power computing, and as such kick-start the movement which gave us recently the Asus Eee and the Intel ClassMate. Without them, the market would have slowly converge toward cheaper and cheaper hardware, but I think we would still be a couple years away before the laptop industry change its mindset from "let's pack more power for the same amount of money" toward "cheap enough to be ubiquitous". I doubt OLPC and the XO would get credit for that, unfortunately.

The XO is also a marvel of engineering. The Sugar interface is the first completely kid-centric interface to come out of Open-Source, and leading the pack on that front. The hardware have been carefully thought-out, and it show. It may not be the best laptop for an adult (it is completely kid-centric), but this not just a bunch of discrete parts thrown together by an ODM. Finally, as if it was not enough, five words: built-in Wifi mesh network. If that does not scream "cool" to you, you need to hand over your geek card right away.

So go grab a rebranded Asus on Black Monday and enjoy your crap imitation of a real laptop. In the meantime, I will continue to use my five years old Thinkpad, which will probably outlive the pathetic knock-off you can buy in the price range you quote.

Compare it to other apples. (2, Insightful)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323191)

Actually it can be considered to be better than a eee PC which costs about the same (well $100 less). I would love to have a Solid state laptop (no fan!) and a high res monochrome screen (reading!), and low power (green!).

Bad luck I'm in Scandinavia, may be you can buy one and send it to me?

I agree, but for a different reason. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323209)

I would not tie getting one laptop to sending one overseas. If they want money to further their mission then just focus on that and drop the gimmick. We do not need production of these devices being diverted to this country, let alone to geeks who need someway to feel good.

There are hundreds of good charities to give money to where all the money goes to the cause. I haven't seen a guaranteee of that from OLPC. However I would be more than happy to buy the two OLPCs provided BOTH went to kids and that I had some guarantee that they did reach my intended target

Re:$399 is pricey (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323295)

How much does the "normal" laptop weigh? How many moving parts does it have? How thick is the plastic casing? Is the keyboard sealed with silicone? What is the battery life? Can you read the screen in full daylight?

No thanks (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322783)

Id rather get one of those tiny little asus(?) sub-notebooks for that sort of price.

Just like the Asus Eee PC detractors... (1)

Corf (145778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323095)

...you're missing the point. "Why buy an Eee when I could get a normal, higher-powered 15" laptop for less?"

I own an Asus Eee, and it's a near-perfect little sub-kilo device. But if I had a kid in the 3-8 age group, I'd pounce on this OLPC deal so fast my keyboard would smoke. For the same price as the Eee I can get something way more kid-friendly AND support some third-world future 1337 h4ckz0r?! I can't think of a more noble place for my nerd-donation to go. But my altruism only extends so far. I prefer the Eee for my own use, so that's what I bought.

Guaranteed? (3, Interesting)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322791)

Is it guaranteed that my purchase will be matched by the delivery to a child, or am I simply throwing my money into a huge black pit, in the hopes that the number of people who buy one in the US will be the same as those delivered to children, apart from their already-planned deliveries?

And done. (1)

adriccom (44869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322805)

I'm glad they followed through with the g1g1 idea, after all of the suggesting and petitioning.

Ow, that put a dent in the amex. Oh well, great cause, new toys. If more people catch on to that formula we'll all be better off .. if slightly poorer.

And hey it was only USD. After hyper-inflation gets fully underway ... *cough*

Can I go to bed now?

I ordered one. (2, Interesting)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322859)

The North American model sadly doesn't come with the hand-crank. It's not clear if those will be available for purchase later on, or if I can use (or mod) my cell-phone hand-crank to work with the XO laptop. Excited to try out the XO though, and I'm very happy to support this project.

Re:I ordered one. (3, Informative)

Portfolio (552067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323105)

They haven't had a built-in hand crank since the first prototype. The North American ones will come with a standard wall adapter. They are exploring all sorts of power generation ideas, such as a yo-yo shaped pull cord generator. Check here for many of the other ideas. [laptop.org]

Forget the North Americans - sell to Europe! (2, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21322863)

With the worth of the US dollar dropping so rapidly, most Europeans could afford to buy a couple of these with the loose change in their pockets. $399 is about 3.99 Euro these days. Maybe a slight exaggeration there, but we're not so far off the 100 Euro laptop :-)

Re:Forget the North Americans - sell to Europe! (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323311)

Definitely. It'd be 274 or £193. I'm sure plenty of folks would pay that.

Sure but does it run... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21322973)

...Crysis?Realy need a PC for that :( .

Quick Philosophical Question (1)

HamsterRabies (1124759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323061)

Just wondering- with resources being low in these poverty stricken countries, how much does the electrical charge cost the individual users? At what point will the donation churn to salvation, that is, the point in time when the donation is sold for food or other life dependent resources? Not being sarcastic, but I am always wary of these programs, and I am left wondering if this is The cost of electricity in these countries is very very high. The cost of finding a place to use such a resource is a challenging prospect for anyone with a real need for this.

You might consider it if... (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323131)

if you were a parent. If it's designed for youngster level wear and tear, then why not? If I had a kid, I'd much rather buy him one of those than an x-box. (Yeah, I know x-boxes have gotten cheaper, but a full set with controllers and games would likely cost about the same).

Flash support? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323139)

Anyone know if these laptops have flash support? Or if it can easily be added? (Probably easy to add, since it is linux.) Planning on getting one for my kid and it would be nice to know. :-)

Short warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21323171)

I was set on getting one of these for my daughter - but then I saw that they only offer 30 days of warranty [laptopgiving.org] That seems really a short period. Is it worth taking that risk ?

Looks like a great first computer to me (3, Interesting)

fhmiv (740648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323199)

I'm buying one for my 3-year-old. I can see several advantages to this approach over other laptops. First, I can give her a rugged computer that actually works, something she will surely like as she sees her mom and I using our laptops all the time, and kids learn a lot by imitation. Second, I can continue teaching her about philanthropy - we bought one for her and one for someone else who could use one but can't afford it. Third, to counter the arguments about the US educational system ignoring the OLPC, education begins in the home.

As a programmer, I look forward to seeing the software efforts that are built atop this platform. There's plenty of room for free educational software for kids and this looks like a good platform for it. Surely someone will port the platform stack to a standard Linux distro, and then any software you write for this, you can run on your PC you bought at Wal-Mart.

Cheers, Frank

And since it's made in China--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21323223)

You can contribute to our balance of payments deficit and the falling dollar in addition to helping buy a child in a third world country something they can play games on.

Tax Exemption in Canada? (1)

fygment (444210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323245)

Does anyone know if the OLPC can be claimed as a charitable organization in Canada i.e. can you claim an exemption?

God Fearing (0, Offtopic)

themelv (1000816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21323247)

The first post mentioned 'God fearing'. Isn't a man who gives while not fearing God more righteous than one who gives out of fear of himself not getting to heaven.

Great for Education in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21323273)

With many towns now reeling from the failure of municipal wifi whose cost was in the millions, this is a no brainer by comparison. For every $200,000 spent, 1,000 children get a laptop. That is an incredible and immediate value. Moreover, what an *intelligent* way to create city wifi -- through mesh networking! Just imagine the possibilities: if local towns work with local schools, these laptops can be tied into the cirriculum. This would be an extraordinary boon for education and technical literacy for US children. This is *exactly* the kind of thing that can tremendously surge with glass roots activism. Time for geeks to start getting involved with their local town/city officials.

Brian Basgen
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...