Too much "sugar" and too little "coffee": The real risks of failure for the OLPC project

Edward Cherlin echerlin at
Thu May 1 18:51:50 EDT 2008

2008/5/1 info at <info at>:
> XOs are deployed (by Governments) without following the original principles
> This means big risk of failure for the educational project. IF in the next 3
> years there is no Sugar, and there is no OLPC, the whole educative project
> can survive... wounded... but it will survive. The ideas (principles) are
> set up and they can be developed with other tools (Windows?) or by other
> organization (many).

I disagree strongly. I have posted my objection on the Controversies
page, where I have moved your letter to its own page and replaced the
original section with a summary.

> IF the original educative principles are not followed
> then there is no possible solution: with or without XOs, with or without
> OLPC, with or without Sugar/Linux, the educative project will be deeply sick
> and it will be a failure or just a "political" thing that will not have real
> impact in the global population of poor children.

Constructionism is the first principle of OLPC. Software freedom is
part of Constructionism. Students must be able to understand how their
tools were made, and to improve them. I see that you do not agree. Do
you know what Constructivist education is?

> These are the big risks than can be seen in today's scenery:
> If we don't have Linux/Sugar we are wounded. But we will survive. All these
> other factors are the ones that have the real potential to kill the
> educative project and transform it in a political/economical movement
> without real big importance in the education of poor children.

These political and economic risks are real. But the risk from
proprietary software, and the risk from abandoning Constructionist
education, appear much greater to me.

> We live in "an unweeded garden" (Hamlet). Too much "Sugar" and too little
> "Coffe" (my words).
> Javier Rodriguez
>  May 01 2:34 PM
>  Lima, Peru
> (I have published this in:
> _______________________________________________
>  Devel mailing list
>  Devel at

Edward Cherlin
End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

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