[OLPC Brasil] Why the OLPC promotes terrorism

Nathalia Sautchuk Patrício nathalia.sautchuk at gmail.com
Thu Jan 24 11:36:42 EST 2008

Está rolando na outra lista da OLPC o seguinte texto:

Why the OLPC promotes
Posted by Robert
Graham  at 8:18

When you see a hobo starving in the street, there are two things you can do.
One is to ask the hobo what he would like to eat. The second is to hold a
Big Mac over his head and say "Dance for your food, bum!". The second method
is a win-win: the hobo eats, you get entertainment, and all it costs is the
bum's dignity.

This is the philosophy behind the OLPC, the "One Laptop Per Child" project.
It's a morally corrupt organization that believes in providing technology to
the third-world in exchange for their dignity. It was created by a bunch of
PhDs for their own amusement. It was not built by asking the poor what they

It's not really a laptop that the rest of the world would recognize. The
PhDs decided that the way everyone else uses computers is wrong, so they
designed an entirely new user interface. They also decided that the way the
rest of the world teaches their children is wrong, and come up with an
entirely new education system.

I'm watching a video from their website talking about the "mesh" networking
feature of the laptop. One of their PhDs says: "We don't want them just
using the computer so they can just use the technology; we want them to use
this computer so they can become social with each other and collaborate with
each other". The PhDs spend a lot of time talking about what they themselves
want, but not a lot of time talking about what the children want. In the
end, what the PhDs really want is to rob the children of their dignity.

It's not just their collectivist education philosophy, everything about the
organization is rabidly communist. I'm watching a BBC
the project where they describe it as a hope for a 'great leap
forward'. Apparently, the BBC means this seriously without irony. The "Great
Leap Forward" was name given by Chairman Moa for industrializing China in
the 1950s. Quoting Wikipedia<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Leap_Forward>:
"The Great Leap Forward is now widely seen - both within China and outside -
as a major economic and humanitarian disaster, with estimates of the number
of people killed by famine during this period ranging from 14 to 43

Their dispute with Intel is particularly illuminating. Like any communist
organization, the OLPC suppresses dissent. When OLPC announced their
project, Intel announced their competing "Classmate PC" program. The basic
philosophy of communism is that there is only one "best solution" for
everyone, whereas capitalism believes in different solutions suited to
different needs. Thus, OLPC is upset with competition, believing that
everyone should work collectively on the best solution, rather than working
competitively on different solutions for different markets.

At the heart of the Intel vs. OLPC squabble is the fact that Intel
"disparaged" the OLPC. Well, that's what competition means: pointing out
your advantages while describing the disadvantages of competing solutions.
Nobody is above criticism, no matter how high-minded and moral their goals

As a result of their suppression of criticism, the OLPC has a lot of chronic
problems that it's unwilling to fix. It's not just whether their Great Leap
Forward is a good idea. It's the more basic problems with the computer. For
example, it's extremely buggy. I was unable to do anything useful with it
for any length of time without having to reboot it. It's painfully slow. The
processor is more than fast enough to run software written in capitalistic
programming languages like C++, but the majority of the user interface is
written in slow left-wing languages like Python. The OLPC has a link to
Gmail on its screen, but the system becomes slower and slower and eventually
stops working if you attempt to use Gmail. I got a unit to fuzz test the
WiFi stack, but the stack crashes often by itself even without me fuzzing

The PhDs claim its "easy to use", but this is the same hubris that all
programmers have (all programmers claim their software is easy, no matter
how difficult the users think it is). Most people can't even figure out how
to open the box. I like to hand people the unit and say "it's so easy even
children from the third world can figure it out"; it's funny watching them
struggle for 10 minutes before I show them how it works.

In contrast, Intel's Classmate PC runs the same Windows or Linux desktops
that everyone else in the world uses. Intel's computer has no enforced
educational agenda. It doesn't have communist software on it, yet the
children collaborate with each other anyway without software forcing them

The real danger with the OLPC is that it's like sending guns to terrorists
to attack us with. The OLPC teaches the world the ideals of university PhDs.
It teaches children that capitalism and democracy is evil and the cause of
their problems, rather than the solution. Yet, at its core, it's still a
computer than people can use to hack the United States. It is a weapon that
can attack our nation's infrastructure much more effectively than a gun
would. Here is a picture of us installing
Metasploit<http://www.metasploit.com/>on it:

EDIT: A lot of people think this last paragraph is a bit of a stretch. I
thought it was obvious. A certain percentage of any population of computer
users will use their computers for evil rather than good. If you flood the
third-world with computers, a certain percentage of them will also use the
computer for malicious purposes. As soon as Nigerians got hold of computers
in the late 1990s, the rest of the world started receiving e-mail from the
grieving widow of Sese-Seko needing help transferring her fortune out of the

In places like Russia, there are more skilled computer nerds than there are
employment opportunities for those skills, so programmers turn to
In other places, such as India, where computers skills gets a well-paying
job, cybercrime is less prominent. The recent DDoS attack against Estonia is
a good example of the result.

When your choices are $10 a month herding goats or $100 a day herding bots,
it's hard not to choose the later. While computers are mostly benign, they
also have the potential to be weapons. Dumping weapons on third world
countries has rarely turned out well.

We can address these risks. We can find ways to provide further education
and employment, to give the best and brightest other opportunities than
cybercrime. However, we cannot do so in the current climate of the OLPC that
suppresses all criticism and dissent.

EDIT: Look at the comments to this post and how they assume I'm against
helping poor nations get access to technology. I'm not. I love free-market
solutions (like Intel's) that people freely criticize. While OLPC gets all
the press, a lot of companies are designing or shipping low-cost PCs for
poor nations; those are the ones we should support. While some computers are
purchased by rich nations and sent to the poor ones, the majority are
purchased by the poor nations themselves. Instead of textbooks. Because
everyone says says how wonderful the OLPC is, nobody criticizes it, so if
their education ministers think something is wrong, it's because "they just
don't get it".

EDIT: Some people seem surprised at my communist conspiracy theories. I
don't think there is a conspiracy, of course, or even that it's very
communist. However, if you ever used the OLPC, you'd understand better what
I'm talking about.
site: http://erratasec.blogspot.com/2008/01/why-olpc-promotes-terrorism.html

Nathalia Sautchuk Patrício
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