[sugar] OLPC's bizarre behaviors

Alex Belits abelits at phobos.illtel.denver.co.us
Fri May 23 00:34:29 EDT 2008

C. Scott Ananian wrote:
> I'm not sure exactly what you mean.  About a million kids will be
> using the XO-1, in *just this calendar year*.  The XO-2 will not be
> ready until 2010 at the earliest.  How do you feel that the XO-1 is
> merely a test bed?
> This is a serious question: if this impression is widespread, we need
> to do a better job communicating, and your help in discovering what we
> still haven't said is important.  (See
> http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2008-May/013694.html for my
> previous best effort.)

I disagree that XO-2 announcement really makes it look like XO-1 was a 
"test bed", however I still see it as being extremely poorly timed. XO-1 
still has multiple unresolved issues that users see as serious defects. 
It has one issue that *I* see as a serious defect (SD corruption), it's 
just being a kernel developer I am less likely to blame anyone but 
myself for not working on it.

There already was a serious shortage of good will toward the project due 
to Negroponte badmouthing Open Source development in public. Microsoft 
announcement of their "$3" Windows XP makes everyone suspicious about 
existence of some backroom agreements or even payoffs. Then Negroponte 
openly announces "alliance" with Microsoft that all but confirms 
people's worst fears. Then we hear about plans for finding some "third 
parties" that will port Sugar to Windows despite the fact that such a 
project has no popular support inside or outside current Sugar 
development that is, on top of everything, is in a state of flux and 
organizational transition.

At this moment, when everyone is trying to find out what the direction 
of development and deployment of XO-1, Sugar or XO-with-XP is going to 
be, when the answer to that question will determine which people are 
going to participate and support the project, and which people will 
dedicate their time, influence and energy to damage the reputation of 
OLPC (BTW, I can go into either of those categories depending on actual 
answers that I still don't know) -- at this moment what is the most 
damaging thing Negroponte can do short of shutting down the project or 
"donating" it to Bill Gates, SCO or other similarly odious entity?

Right, it's to make a "big announcement" that addresses none of those 
questions, and provides no information that is going to be relevant to 
the public for at least two years (and likely longer because development 
timeframe sounds pretty unrealistic in the absence of massive volunteer 

If I was anywhere close to OLPC management I would recommend to avoid 
any announcements before they can clearly and unambiguously announce 
some kind of position and plans for continuing development of the 
current project that can be seriously taken as immutable for the 
foreseeable future. Especially announcements that require 3D mockups in 
place of actual prototypes.


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