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LANCOR v. OLPC Case Continues In Nigerian Court

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the get-your-passport-and-account-numbers dept.

The Courts 281

drewmoney writes "According to an article on Groklaw: It's begun in a Nigerian court. LANCOR has actually done it. Guess what the Nigerian keyboard makers want from the One Laptop Per Child charitable organization trying to make the world a better place? $20 million dollars in 'damages,' and an injunction blocking OLPC from distribution in Nigeria."

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281 comments

Why don't the Nigerians just (5, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877768)

get their money from all those secret accounts that I keep getting emailed about.

Re:Why don't the Nigerians just (3, Insightful)

deepershade (994429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877944)

Why is this post modded as flamebait when in all the other threads about this subject, such a comment would be a minimum +4 funny? Someone needs a sense of humour perhaps?

Re:Why don't the Nigerians just (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877956)

Nigerian moderator?

Re:Why don't the Nigerians just (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878114)

Racist dancer more like.

Re:Why don't the Nigerians just (5, Funny)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878312)

get their money from all those secret accounts that I keep getting emailed about.
Well, we would, but you see, there are a lot of legal fees involved in that kind of transaction. It's actually easier just to transfer the money out of the country, to an American bank account, and then transfer it back. If you'd be so kind as to give me your bank account number, I could just send you the money, and then you could send it back to me. Obviously I'd be willing to compensate you quite well for your time, all I need is to borrow about $5,000 from you up front to help offset the legal fees, and then I'll be able to take care of everything and pay you $100,000 for your time. Let me know if I can count on your support!

(No, I'm not really Nigerian.)

Re:Why don't the Nigerians just (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878728)

If you made more spelling mistakes and invoked Jesus's blessing, I might've mistaken you for an authentic scammer.

Nigeria? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877772)

Please?

MOD PARENT UP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878738)

Admire the beauty of simplicity! Well done!

Also, fuck nigeria and all nigerians!

Dollars $ Dollars (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877780)

$20 million dollars in damages...
Tutorial:

Q: How do you pronounce "$20"
A: "Twenty dollars"

Q: How do you pronounce "$20 million"
A: "Twenty million dollars"

Q: How do you pronounce "$20 million dollars"
A: "Twenty million dollars dollars"

You're welcome.
 

Question Mark (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878360)

Q: How do you pronounce "$20"
A: "Twenty dollars"
Tutorial:

Q: How do you end a question?
A: With a question mark.

Q: How do you end a statement?
A: With a period.

Q: What do you call a grammar nazi whose mock questions don't end in question marks?
A: Dumb.

Re:Question Mark (5, Funny)

SamP2 (1097897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878566)

Tutorial:

Q: Should the word "Nazi" be capitalized?
A: Yes.

Q: Do you hold article comments to the same grammatical standards as the articles themselves?
A: No.

Q: What do you call someone who does the above for no reason other than to attract attention and cause disruption?
A: A troll.

Re:Question Mark (4, Funny)

Cylix (55374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878786)

Tutorial

Q: Should tutorial be the new fad?
A: Yes.

Q: Does it seem weak and unimaginative?
A: Yes.

Q: Then why persist?
A: In the mere hopes that it offends at least one person.

Re:Question Mark (5, Funny)

iowannaski (766150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878902)

Tutorial

Q: Is "it offends at least one person" a single hope?
A: Yes.

Q: Should "hopes" therefore be "hope"?
A: Yes.

Q: ??
A: Profit!!

Re:Dollars $ Dollars (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878486)

Dude, those Nigerians are way ahead of you. They always include how to pronounce those large amounts. For example, from one of my new partners:

"US$21,320,000.00(TWENTY ONE MILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THOUSAND U.S DOLLARS)"

Oh, and don't tell anyone, but I'm getting that much in a few days. Payola!

Re:Dollars $ Dollars (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878506)

Inasmuch as I own the copyright on the use of the term "$20 million dollars" and you have irreparably wasted my time, I am instructing my lawyers to sue you for $30 million dollars. However, you may avoid the costs of a trial by sending $10,000 dollars to me care of Western Union wire transfer.

-- Bogo Mugubwai, Nigeria

Only in America (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878514)

Only in America...

Q: How do you pronounce 'Old'
A: Old

Q: How do you pronounce 'Sold'
A: Sold

Q: How do you pronounce 'Older'
A: Older

Q: How do you pronounce 'Solder'
A: Sodda!

We* can only be amused...

* The rest of the world

Re:Only in America (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878890)

And by "only in America", you must have meant "Only in America, England, Canada, Australia, and every other English speaking nation in the world", right? :)

Besides which, let's not pretend that other languages don't have some messed up rules, too. I know it's popular to think that westerners are ignorant of other nations, but I speak two languages fluently, and can get along in two more. The German tendency to stick together words into huge uber-words is a heck of a lot stranger than any aspect of the English language, and French spelling seems to be every bit as arbitrary as English spelling.

Re:Only in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878952)

And by "only in America", you must have meant "Only in America, England, Canada, Australia, and every other English speaking nation in the world", right? :)
Well I can't speak for England, Canada and other English speaking nations, but in Australia at least solder is spelled phonetically (like "older" prefixed with an 'ess' sound). So clearly the rest of you don't know what you're talking about. ;)

Re:Dollars $ Dollars (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878578)

Pizza Pizza!

expect anything different? (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877822)

Nigeria, the land of scammers and con artists. no wonder thier country is in the state it's in.

Re:expect anything different? (5, Insightful)

callmetheraven (711291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877856)

Nigeria, the land of scammers and con artists.

The silver lining of this truth is that the fewer computers Nigerians have the better off the rest of the world is. It would have been difficult and politically incorrect to boycott Nigeria from the OLPC, with a litle luck they just might boycott themselves.

Re:expect anything different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878132)

That's so wrong... but also right.

Re:expect anything different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878472)

gee that's funny, I always thought scammers didn't need to be living in Nigeria or connected to Nigeria in any way to send those kind of emails, silly me.

Re:expect anything different? (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878530)

gee that's funny, I always thought scammers didn't need to be living in Nigeria or connected to Nigeria in any way to send those kind of emails, silly me.
Nobody said they did. The fact that the Nigerian 419 Scam originated and from and is still largely dominated by well-organized Nigerian gangs with the complicity of Nigerian government officials, however, makes the point perfectly valid.

Really, you ought to at least cursorily research subjects before commenting on them.

Re:expect anything different? (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878746)

Really, you ought to at least cursorily research subjects before commenting on them.


What on earth are you talking about?

This is /., most people couldn't even be bothered to read the article, much less look stuff up on Wikipedia.

Re:expect anything different? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878826)

Well, they certainly got the article wrong. It should have read:

WE REPRESENT THE ESTATE OF GENERAL ALHAJI ISMAILA "KEYBOARDMAKER" GWARZO. I UNDERSTAND THAT THIS MAY COME AS A SURPRISE TO YOU, AS WE HAVE NOT MET YET, BUT WE HAVE COME UPON ARE SUING FOR THE SUM OF $20,000,000 U.S. DOLLARS (TWENTY MILLION U.S. DOLLARS). IF YOU ARE WILLING HELP US FOR THE SUM OF ONE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS DEPOSITED IN YOUR ACCOUNT."

This will probably not make it past the lameness filter. :-D

Re:expect anything different? (1)

geoskd (321194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878196)

Nigeria, the land of scammers and con artists. no wonder thier country is in the state it's in.

I'm not sure why someone doesn't simply go down there with $50k and bribe a judge to find the plaintiffs guilty of some truly dispicable crime, and watch the problem go away on its own... It would be cheaper than paying actual lawyers and, if my understanding of the current situation there is correct, this is the traditional method of settling legal disputes in Nigeria.

-=Geoskd

Re:expect anything different? (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878322)

According to the Boston Globe>, [boston.com]

The founder of Lagos Analysis Corp., Ade Oyegbola, was convicted of bank fraud in Boston in 1990 and served a year in prison.
.Maybe that's not despicable enough, but it sure puts a dent in LANCOR's credibility.

Re:expect anything different? (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878390)

Hell, how much would Murder, Inc. charge? The world would be better off without such "people" in it.

(Note that I mean scammers and sleazeballs, regardless of nationality, not Nigerians.)

Re:expect anything different? (1)

nbert (785663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878432)

I'm not going to defend Nigeria's scammers here, but most scams and spam I get still comes from the US (ranked 2nd is Brazil, which is amazing because I live in central Europe and don't even speak Portuguese). Nigeria has become an icon on scamming, even though a very small group has contributed to this image...

On a side-note: Most of my knowledge of drugs comes from US-spam advertising anti-depressants, libido-enhancing drugs or sedatives. Most of the Brazilian spam is about marketing companies, real estate or plastic surgery and I can assure you that my language skills are getting better every day - algumas coisas bacanas...

Cut to the chase (3, Insightful)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877830)

Just send them weapons.

Re:Cut to the chase (3, Interesting)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878066)

China is doing that a lot in Africa, most likely Nigeria included.
http://www.cfr.org/publication/9557 [cfr.org]

Re:Cut to the chase (2, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878398)

Excellent - I mean, colonialism has turned out to be a massive short-term/long-term fuckup. Now maybe China can play too.

Re:Cut to the chase (1)

Alascom (95042) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878408)

"Just send them weapons" and modded as "5 insightful"! Hahah Brilliant.

Re:Cut to the chase (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878440)

The slashdot mods from Nigeria have responded favorably!

Re:Cut to the chase (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878590)

Just send them weapons.

You mean install Windows on OLPC?
     

Fuller version... (4, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877838)

Guess what the Nigerian keyboard makers want from the One Laptop Per Child charitable organization trying to make the world a better place? $20 million dollars in 'damages,' and an injunction blocking OLPC from distribution in Nigeria.
...and someone to help them get the $20 million dollars out of the country. They are willing to give 25% to anyone who will.

OLPC defense fund (3, Funny)

Broken Toys (1198853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877872)

When I collect my $25 million from the Honorable Juju Majinki, who is holding these funds in trust, I plan to donate part of those funds to the OLPC defense fund.

Don't do business there (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21877916)

Don't do business in Nigeria; ever.

Re:Don't do business there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878490)

Very racist, but oh so true.

I once worked for a bank taking calls from overseas clients seeking loans. We were told to hang-up as soon as someone said they were from Nigeria.

Apparently over 90% of loans we had previously sent there were never re-paid. It was by far the worse country to deal with.

Re:Don't do business there (3, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878574)

Very racist, but oh so true.
Nope. Not racist at all.

"Don't deal with black people" is racist. "Don't deal with African Countries, unless they're white" is racist. "Don't deal with country X that has a history of corruption, and happens to be black" is no more racist than "don't go down Johnson street, there were fifty murders there last year."

Re:Don't do business there (1)

deftones_325 (1159693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878712)

What if it was "Jackson" street?

No Reason to Pity (-1, Troll)

jmasterhook (972041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877920)

I'm not a big fan of IP, but you don't get special privileges to infringe on it just because you're a NPO trying to "make the world a better place."

Re:No Reason to Pity (0, Offtopic)

NosTROLLdamus (979044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877936)

Oh shit, holmes!

You're committing karma suicide!

Re:No Reason to Pity (2, Interesting)

willyhill (965620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877972)

No, but hey, at least consider what they're doing and don't be "that guy".

There is probably nothing of consequence here (legally), but the need to defend themselves will probably put a dent on how much more good the OLPC program can bring to children elsewhere.

The sad thing is that Nigerian children probably need this device as much as kids in Uruguay or Mexico or Armenia, but thanks to some hardass nigerian scammer they might be negatively affected, because this will certainly put a chill on the OLPC distribution plans for their country.

This whole thing is just a shame.

Re:No Reason to Pity (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878866)

The last thing some scammer needs is some inconsiderate bastard from outside the country to enable rapid exchange of information amongst his target group.

Re:No Reason to Pity (4, Insightful)

Databass (254179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877988)

Ok, but when OLPC asked "Assuming you aren't saying you own the entire idea of a multi-language keyboard, which parts of your particular keyboard design are you even saying we stole from you?"

They didn't answer but they still want $20 million dollars.

Re:No Reason to Pity (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878176)

I see a trend here?

- "Linux stole unix code!"
- "Oh really? Which lines, exactly?"
- "I'm not telling."

- "Linux infringes 235 of our patents"
- "That's likely, you patented the obvious. We'll see when IBM starts complaining about their patents you likely infringe upon. BTW, Which ones?"
- "I'm not telling."

- "OLPC steals our patented keyboard input method"
- "Oh really? Which ones exactly?"
- "I'm not telling."

I'm reconsidering the real cruelty of the good ol' times where justice was administered by the king, and if you looked like you were making him lose time on useless technicalities you were going to be hanged.

Re:No Reason to Pity (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878510)

So, are you saying that the Nigerians are pulling a "Microsoft Scam"? Or that Microsoft has been pulling a "Nigerian Scam"?

Re:No Reason to Pity (2, Interesting)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878906)

This is taking place in a Nigerian court.

A hanging (ie: corporate death penalty) may not be totally out of the question. If I recall correctly, LANCOR has to pay court fees if it turns out to be a waste of court time.

Re:No Reason to Pity (5, Informative)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878004)

Putting a bunch of Nigerian-language characters onto a keyboard doesn't qualify as an "invention"; it's exactly what's been done for hundreds of other languages around the world since before Nigerian-language characters were in the Unicode standard even (which, I might point out, that same generous West put in after working hard to create those standards in the first place and then giving them to poor countries like Nigeria for free). Perhaps the West should demand royalties from this company for using its technologies like Unicode and keyboards in the first place, haha, right.

I'm afraid this is just how things go here in Africa, and as someone else pointed out, why it'll probably remain 3rd-world indefinitely. Try give a hand to Africa, and it will demand an arm, and then try kill you for not giving the entire arm. Mod me whatever, but I've lived here all my life and seen this kind of thing over and over, facts are just facts, I wouldn't expect someone who hasn't lived here to get it.

Re:No Reason to Pity (5, Interesting)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878202)

I haven't lived in Africa, but I have lived in under-developed nations a large portion of my life. To be honest, you hit the nail on the head, and it's not just limited to Africa. The problem with aid agencies is that they are just as corrupt, if not more, than the governments they are trying to protect the citizens from.

Aid agencies need to be a lot stricter on their staff members and have stiffer penalties for any transgressions - you know, like a bit of gaol time in a dingy cell rather than painting them as a Martyr like the "Chad Children Thieves".

Re:No Reason to Pity (1)

nbert (785663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878248)

I totally agree that this doesn't qualify as an invention - it is just a matter of common sense to add some chars for the local market.

On the other hand I think there is nothing wrong about letting US-based institutions experience what their government has been supporting since the cold war - even if they are non-profit. It's not because I love preventing people to help, but because I believe it would encourage legislation to abandon a flawed system, because the odds of said system become rather obvious under such circumstances...

Re:No Reason to Pity (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878662)

I don't know why you say this is a "3rd-world" problem. We in the US have crap like One-Click-Buy patents that are laughable (although it looks like it is finally getting overturned). Or, letting MS be the annoying monopoly it is and make every PC pay the Windows Tax even if you want another OS. Organizational stupidity is not limited to the 3rd world. Rationality is the exception.

Further, countries still have their pride, and for us to come in acting like they "need help" is a kick in the ego. By roughing up the westerners a bit it restores a sense of control over their world (even if it may harm them in the longer run). Even starving people want a sense of control (and those doing the activity may not be the starving ones).
     

Re:No Reason to Pity (3, Informative)

jfim (1167051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878274)

Putting a bunch of Nigerian-language characters onto a keyboard doesn't qualify as an "invention"; it's exactly what's been done for hundreds of other languages around the world since before Nigerian-language characters were in the Unicode standard even (which, I might point out, that same generous West put in after working hard to create those standards in the first place and then giving them to poor countries like Nigeria for free).
Their keyboards don't really seem that inventive once you give them a look [konyin.com] . They seem to use a shift^2/Ng key which probably does the exact same thing as AltGr [wikipedia.org] , which is present on a lot of multilingual keyboards, although not at the same location.

Re:No Reason to Pity (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878660)

It is funny that they market "south american" keyboard with letters like , , ð and diacritics like and . AFAIK, there is no currently-spoken language in South America using those symbols.

Re:No Reason to Pity (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878338)

the Unicode standard even (which, I might point out, that same generous West put in after working hard to create those standards in the first place and then giving them to poor countries like Nigeria for free).

Wow.

I am not Nigerian, but as a citizen of another under-developed country I surely appreciacte that pre-20th century attitude!

Re:No Reason to Pity (0, Flamebait)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878438)

Well, when you consider that most "under-developed countries" still haven't made it to the 20th century in political, social, or economic terms, maybe the attitude is appropriate.

Don't want to be treated paternalistically? Stop acting like children.

Re:No Reason to Pity (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21879014)

Insightful? Maybe in opposite land. Perhaps you just missed the memo, it's every person for themselves. I think you need to visit a few of these under-developed nations and take a look at how the other half actually live. What you so outwardly judge as infantile, I see with my own eyes as truly identical, first world, and absolutely no different to any other country on the planet. Corporate greed in America has the same underpinnings the world over. The people at the top want more money and power, they will do whatever it takes to get it. End of story.

I think I prefer to live in one of these countries you appear to despise, I actually have significantly more freedom and a far better standard of living than I could ever have in my country of origin (Australia), and it all comes at a fraction of the price.

Re:No Reason to Pity (2, Interesting)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878736)

Are you denying that it is true though? The very existence of a "Nigerian keyboard" is only thanks to *incredible* amounts of work put in to create things like keyboards and the Unicode standard and software for easily creating IMEs and so on - countries like Nigeria have basically gotten a major free ride being able to simply directly import and use all these technologies, to massive benefit. Do you have ANY clue how much work and money went into creating Unicode alone, just one tiny component/aspect of such a system? It's mammoth, and all free to use, and yet when last did you hear one "thank you"? On the contrary, it's always just complaints about how it's not enough.

Anyway, I'm not going to convince you, let me say this instead: Dedicate your spare time for the next few years to trying to help Africa, then we'll talk again.

Re:No Reason to Pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878750)

As opposed to what, a post-20th-century attitude being that people in first world countries are EXPECTED to give and work freely for the 3rd world? Isn't that just slavery/colonialism in reverse?

Re:No Reason to Pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878924)

I think the world has had enough of it being run forwards, don't you?

Re:No Reason to Pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878226)

Well as the OLPC doesn't infringe but does in fact build on multilingual keybard designs predating the LANCOR stuff this is in fact a case of sheer blackmail pursued by a greedy US based businessman who one can only hope shall soon be bankrupted...

Re:No Reason to Pity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878284)

Of course not, that would be unethical.

Die OLPC, Die. (0, Troll)

likerice (1046554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877974)

The OLPC is a solution in desperate need of a problem. Here's a a problem for Negroponte: IP infringement. Heaven forbid that businesses in the developing world be allowed to develop on their own merits. Much better to force them into a dependency relationship with the West by selling back to them their own stolen innovations.

Re:Die OLPC, Die. (2, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878124)

Here's a a problem for Negroponte: IP infringement.

Describe, in your own words, what IP has been infringed.

+1 Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878812)

Well, *I* got the joke.

Re:Die OLPC, Die. (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878402)

LANCOR is claiming to have a patent on a keyboard that allows the user to type in Nigerian. How can you possibly call that an innovation, and how can you possibly accuse anyone of stealing that? Do you think that Nigerians should be required to pay LANCOR every time they write anything down, or just when they decide to type in their native language? How can anyone claim a patent on a system that follows the already existing rules of any language, or anything at all? They didn't invent anything, they just put into code a long list of rules that already existed.

Here's a problem for you: patent a keyboard that can render all the strange facets of written English: upper case letters, lower case letters, diacritical markings, punctuation, etc. Come back to me when coding language rules is considered to be innovation.

Re:Die OLPC, Die. (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878838)

QWERTY was patented by Christopher Sholes in 1874. August Dvorak managed to patent his keyboard layout in 1936.

I'm not saying the Nigerian one shows the same or any degree of innovation, having not read their patent submission, but it is or was at least possible to patent a keyboard layout in the US.

It is about kickbacks (4, Interesting)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877980)

I guess OLPC didn't pay the kickback moneys in pricing the deal now the corrupt are howling foul. Goes to show us in the free world how well we are off when institutionalized corruption is so rampant.

Or is it the government wanting to keep people dumb and stupid so they don't revolt for a democracy?

Would be interesting to see who bribed who to deprive the children from knowledge. There could be one hell of a story in that.

Re:It is about kickbacks (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878550)

yeah ... because the corporatist religio-supremacist government we have right now in america is really any better at all

Re:It is about kickbacks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878594)

From talking to people from Nigeria, that seems to be the consensus. Everyone in power is trying to get their cut, and unlike more wealthy nations, there is not enough to go around. But it proves that for some peoples, the problem is large scale systematic corruption. I think I heard that some manufacturing concerns in Nigeria are trying to force the OLPC machines to manufactured locally, even though it will end up costing more.

It kind of reminds me of NCLB here in the states. Officials and large businesses were not getting their share. There was too much small business innovation supplying solutions tailored to particular student populations. NCLB ended that by creating purchasing and testing programs that cut out the innovative local educational concerns, and funneled huge amounts of taxpayer money to primarily four testing companies. That is the norm for the world. The free enterprise business always at the government teat.

I have the solution... (1)

Agent__Smith (168715) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877986)

All they need to do is send them the $30M that a dead relative of mine apparently left behind in a nigerian bank account after being killed in a car crash a year or so ago... I have the contact info for a brother in God who will be happy to help them get at it for a small fee... All they need to do is mail him their bank account info, and a few thousand dollars to cover the administration fees...

It would seem to me that Nigerias biggest problem is fatal car crashes as I see this deal about 6 times a day...

Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21877998)

It's easy to forget that most of Africa's problems stem from the fact that the culture places very little value on human life.

You know all those "relief funds" that go to poor/starving/fucked African countries? Yeah, most of those funds end up in the hands of the corrupt government leaders and/or military, who are MORE than happy to let everybody starve if it means more cash for them.

The problems with Africa can't be solved with donations. They can only be solved with armed revolutions. Of course, the U.S. and most of the rest of the world is making too much money off of the exploitation of Africa to actually want to fix things.

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (4, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878146)

The problems with Africa can't be solved with donations. They can only be solved with armed revolutions. Of course, the U.S. and most of the rest of the world is making too much money off of the exploitation of Africa to actually want to fix things.

So, 3.8 million deaths weren't enough [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878192)

Apparently not.

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878204)

Of course, the U.S. and most of the rest of the world is making too much money off of the exploitation of Africa to actually want to fix things.
Initially, I couldn't think of any way the US could be exploiting African countries, because we don't have colonies there, they're not in a strategic location, and they aren't worth much as trading partners, unlike China. For the most part, I'd say we ignore them more than anything, except for the extracting Africa's natural resources. One just has to glance at the diamond industry to see mass exploitation in action.

http://ihscslnews.org/view_article.php?id=162 [ihscslnews.org]
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2006/10/78084.html [indymedia.org]

I'm typically not one to jump on protest bandwagons (and I think protesting in front of diamond merchants and jewelers isn't the way to go here - they're not the ones doing anything wrong). But this is pretty damn obvious even to someone as typically oblivious as me.

Still, please don't forget that the US sends quite a lot of money, both official and unofficial, to Africa in the form of foreign aid and private donations. And while I agree that corruption ruins good intentions (and sucks up relief funds), there's not much else that can be done, short of an armed invasion - and the US military is already stretched pretty thin. It's a bit too broad a brush, I think, to say "the US" when talking about exploitation. I think most people are complicit by ignorance (or perhaps apathy) - I'd like to think that no one wants to willingly buy a diamond paid for by someone else's blood, but it just hasn't been a big story until fairly recently.

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878256)

Just speaking for 'the dutch' here (I'm dutch, but I guess I can only speak for myself), if just this one country here would be paying reparations to the Africans for the damage done in centuries past there would be no food here and a very large surplus of cash in Africa. This country basically bankrolled itself on the exploitation of others. Not limited to Africa (where we were in fact not very 'well' represented), but also Surinam, Indonesia and other parts of Asia.

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (1)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878290)

They are doing something wrong. They are buying from corrutp dealers. Alot of the money may go to the Jewellers but some is still going to DeBeers. If you at least buy non-diamonds then that won't be a problem. You can still use your favorite jewelers but noy support diamonds cartels.
I still like emeralds. Everyone else gets Diamonds or even saphires or rubies, or use Ruby. You can have a ring that has ssphire, ruby, and emerald. No matter what kind of light you will always see somthing.
You could also go for rough diamonds. They are cheaper, though probably not by much, and more interesting, at least to me. And you'd think geologists.

P.S. I just got a wound on my right thumb; for a right-hander that could be annoying though. Did I still type this well for just, except a few keys, with my left hand. It might haveonly taken twice or thrice, I like that word, as long.

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (0, Flamebait)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878214)

According to Wikipedia:

The people of Nigeria have an extensive history, and archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BC."

That means they have 11,000 years of history, so who the fuck are upstarts like us to tell them how to run their civilization?

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878282)

"Of course, the U.S. and most of the rest of the world is making too much money off of the exploitation of Africa to actually want to fix things."

The Africans who get rich off the exploitation of Africa are not known for wanting to share.

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878362)

I know that may people may find this shocking, but Africa is not a country! Really! It is over 50 countries, and almost as many cultures. And believe it or not, some of the countries are not completely fucked up! However, a lot are, and they make better news...

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878460)

"They can only be solved with armed revolutions"

Hasn't EVERY sub saharan African country had an armed revolution within the last 30 years? Fat lot o' good it did them - they threw off their colonial overlords so that they can have overlords their same skin color.

Great solution.

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (1)

Serhei (1150661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878672)

"The problems with Africa can't be solved with donations. They can only be solved with armed revolutions."
The question is, once you do that, how are you going to solve the armed revolutions.

Re:Corruption is part of the culture of Africa (1)

Lisias (447563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878950)

It's easy to forget that most of Africa's problems stem from the fact that the culture places very little value on human life.

I think the problem is worst than that.

I my opinion, the africans really endorses human rights. The main question is WHO is to be considered "Human", and who is just cattle.

Every single african that raises power "promotes" himself to Human. Everybody else is cattle.

So simply promoting "revolutions" will not solve this paradox: revolutions around there just shifts the "Human" and "cattle" tags. And the new "Humans" will just harvest the "cattle" as the previous ones did.

Does the third-world really need laptops? (4, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878024)

If you do read the article, it's a complicated case (as legal cases always are), that essentially boils down to this: Nigeria's officials, including their judges and politicians, are still perceived as being hopelessly corrupt, and by all appearances this is nothing more than attempted legal extortion. The legal claims by which the lawsuit is proceeding is on shaky ground at best. Even if the claims are legitimate, it still is a sad day, when an organization like this is sued by the very people it's most likely to benefit.

Maybe they aren't ready for a mass introduction of technology - they certainly have shown a compunction for abuse so far. Nigeria is already synonymous with Internet-based moneymaking scams. Does the third world have other, more important priorities instead of laptops, such as basic infrastructure, and a stable and responsive democratic government (most of the world's poorest countries are still ruled by dictators). Complain if you will about the governments of first-world countries such as the US, but if so, you likely haven't seen the corruption of others up close. Visit Mexico for a fine example of what happens when a country with significant potential is rife with corruption from top to bottom. Corruption tends to poison and overshadow even the benefits of democracy and capitalism, as it tends to keep power concentrated in very few hands.

On the other hand, perhaps an opening of information can help to educate the next generation - to give them more options, and more information, more hope. Just as wireless technology is leapfrogging the old, expensive landline-based infrastucture in many countries, perhaps an infusion of technology can help jump-start an economic surge in places that need it most. I just hope they choose to use it wisely.

Does the third-world really need education? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878266)

'nuff said.

Re:Does the third-world really need laptops? (1)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878272)

Complain if you will about the governments of first-world countries such as the US, but if so, you likely haven't seen the corruption of others up close.... Corruption tends to poison and overshadow even the benefits of democracy and capitalism, as it tends to keep power concentrated in very few hands.

Exactly. Which is why it's right for people to complain about it. We must keep corruption out of the U.S. government to avoid the positive feedback loop that ultimately results in the concentration of power in very few hands.

Ooops. Too late. That cycle started quite some time ago, and I don't think there's any stopping it at this point...

Re:Does the third-world really need laptops? (3, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878318)

Ooops. Too late. That cycle started quite some time ago, and I don't think there's any stopping it at this point...

Our culture at one point had an answer to that:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
But now, quoting Thomas Jefferson is likely to get you put on a suspected terrorist no-fly list.

Re:Does the third-world really need laptops? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878938)

Let's get them to stop shitting in their drinking water first. No kidding.

keyboard in dispute not used in production devices (5, Informative)

RichMan (8097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878044)

It appears that the disputed keyboard layout was only used in the development devices and not in the production devices. By this there should be no injunction on the distribution and likely no/minimal payment for infringement.

From Groklaw: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071203061340580#c652659 [groklaw.net]

----
If you examine the OLPC Wiki's edit history for the West African (Nigerian) keyboard you can see what Adé Oyegbola is on about. To save you trawling back and forth here it is in a nutshell. Note that where I write "create" I am referring to the Wiki entires - these dates may not correspond to the physical devices.

      1. 2006-08-07 OLPC buy KONYIN keyboards
      2. 2006-11-13 OLPC create Nigerian layout based on KONYIN layout
      3. 2006-11-13 OLPC Nigerian image updated; layout unchanged
      4. 2007-03-02 OLPC image updated to show Beta-3 model; layout unchanged (Original Image March 2nd)
      5. 2007-08-?? LANCORP sends OLPC Cease & Desist Notice
      6. 2007-08-20 OLPC B3 layout revised completely, no longer looks like KONYIN (Revised Image August 20th)
      7. 2007-08-21 OLPC replaces B3 with B4 Ng-MP-Alt layout (more dialect symbols) and new image.

So this boils down to prototype XOs that used the KONYIN layout. I'm not sure how many prototypes were made with the Nigerian keyboard (I'd guess not many more than the 300 used at Galadima primary school, Abuja) but the total quantities were B1: 875, B2: 2,500, B3: 100, B4: 2,000, C1: 300 (see Development Schedule.

Since August 2007 with the C1 (pre-production) the West African (Nigerian) layout has been as you see it on the current Wiki page.

So the crux is that LANCORP are upset over those beta prototypes but the production XOs (and all XOs made since August 2007) have not used the KONYIN layout.
--

Re:keyboard in dispute not used in production devi (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878178)

I'm not a lawyer but if they sent them a cease and desist letter, and they stopped infringing then they don't have much of a case. The best they can hope for is to get all the infringing models destroyed.

Re:keyboard in dispute not used in production devi (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878424)

It's also very hard to see how this could've damaged them either way, since OLPC doesn't compete AT ALL with their keyboard - you can't exactly buy an OLPC laptop and plug it into your computer to use as a keyboard? Even if you could, it would be stupid to spend $200 on a tiny keyboard instead of $20 on a proper one. It seems pretty ridiculous to claim OLPCs might cannibalise their market, unless you can prove that somebody receiving an OLPC laptop would've bought an entire computer with their keyboard instead.

Actually, OLPCs are more likely to *grow* their market, since more children growing up who know how to use computers are eventually going to buy proper ones, and then will naturally need a Nigerian keyboard to go with that --- so actually, if OLPC used the Nigerian keyboard layout, it would encourage sales of their keyboard even more, since apart from a much larger market, all these new users would also be used to their particular layout and thus not want to change.

I suspect that sales of this keyboard are probably horribly low, so now they want to try another 'business model' (i.e. sue comparatively rich Western organisation to make a quick buck).

Just another example of the poor exploiting the rich.

Re:keyboard in dispute not used in production devi (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878436)

Just another example of the poor exploiting the rich

It always breaks my heart when I see it happening.

Re:keyboard in dispute not used in production devi (3, Funny)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878220)

From a RIAA lawyers perspective, this is just fine. Add a little immorality (deprived children), do some simple math (300 * $66,666 = $20,000,000) and voila!

Nigeria (4, Insightful)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878120)

I was born in Nigeria, and spent the first 7 months of my life there, so sadly I don't have any memories of the place. My mum and dad have regaled me with tales of corruption (everyone from the gardener to the police it seems) and it sounds like a horrible place in which to live and work. I have no desire to go back.

Patent Filing (1)

nowhere.elysium (924845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878242)

Has anyone actually found a copy of the patent that Lancor are claiming has been infringed? I've searched for about 40 minutes, and can't find it anywhere. Apparently, it's registered as patent number RD8489.

Good. (1)

agent (7471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878302)

Programming begins with books, paper, chalk board, etc... NOT a computer.

How could we make this cooler? (1)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | more than 6 years ago | (#21878868)

RANCOR vs OLPC. Two go in, one comes out. you know, like Mad Max, without the accents...

Foreigners in their own country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21878994)

First of all, almost all elements used to build these laptops are belonging to somewhere else.

The components are possibly Chinese. the ideas are possible brewed from open source (a good concept, but a salad in the end, for this very same argument explained in here). Many of the "teaching contents" ain't local (with this, you know, local is "Local" in every place is a different culture-animals-religions-traditions-dictators-martyrs-heroes-ECONOMY).

After all, you start trying to give people a better education, but in the process, transform them in aliens, individuals separated from them own reality, and context (i think their context is being abused, since centuries, and robed, and being utilized, and being the last defecating end of giga-planet monopolies-mafias).

So, what happens if you "create" a "global" child in that medium?? usually chaos (think some of those lands are in chaos at this moment), and the necessity of "global people" to rescue them. (finally you generate a Trojan, more chaos, and local monsters that defend their land from the foreigners (attacks they think)).

So, in the end, OLPC, can do, to its maximum extent, provide a "transparent structure", to which, every land would fill with their history, and what they got in their blood.

BUT, HOW.

how can you override the material from which the laptop is made?, necessary evil some will say?

Most directly, people in the countries DON'T need, (nor needed in the past), computers.

They need peace.

They need the time and space to learn from their elders, to heal, and to cultivate the land. to learn from it, to recall what is which this land produces, and how you should take care of it.

All that, is not in a computer (although you can document it, its not advised), is in their will.

Introducing a big factory, the marked economy, in this lands that CANT TAKE THEM, that dont have that history.

Or SENDING THEM WEAPONS, WONT HELP, them achieve the reconciliation, the healing, or the sustainable growing their own land needs.

Even complaining and cursing, saying they ain't good people to do business with, is NOT WHAT THEY NEED. I mean, that does only harm.

In the end, interventionism, generates a monster.

But.. why is the aggressive reaction occurring in this lands? why is people "hunting" each other there?
Is it because of interventionism and the aliens "global culture" generates? (read: we are all living in america)
Is it because of the big factories emplaced in this poor lands? (poor in currency)
Is this because of the social strait stairs that the big factories/market economy generates to be able to "participate" in this economy?
Is this because of the intervention of mafia/monopoly interfering them to consolidate and consume those lands/people?
is this because they are CONSUMING PRODUCTS THAT ARE NOT FROM THEIR OWN LAND? (which generates another type of alien).

In part, those are stuff negroponte didnt took into account, when tracing his plan.

and are stuff market economy will never think about. If they would think of that, they couldnt destroy and colonize new lands. (read some resentment there).
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