[Olpc-open] Another adult early adopter here :)

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky znmeb at cesmail.net
Sat Dec 1 15:16:23 EST 2007

gnome wrote:
> Neophile early adopter, here.  I'll make a confession:  I've used linux 
> for years, but I'm no black belt geek, so who knows if I'll be smart 
> enough to figure out the Sugar interface.  I bought it anyway, and I'll 
> tell you why:  sunlight-readable screen and long battery life.  I do a 
> lot of writing, and I like to do it anywhere, including out on the 
> beach, on mountaintops, wherever.  I'm hopeful that the Green Machine 
> will be a light, sturdy, use-anywhere writing machine.  The small 
> keyboard may be a problem, but I've used a Treo.  I know for a fact it's 
> bigger than that.

Another adult XO early adopter here. :) I consider myself at least a 
brown belt Linux geek -- my home distro is Gentoo. Why did I enter the 
G1G1 program?

1. My main personal interest in the system is as a tool for 
collaborative computer music creation, along the lines of the Princeton 
Laptop Orchestra. The mesh networking and the fact that CSound is a 
native tool on the system were the clinchers.

2. Given that, what I'd like to see is a world-wide network of XO 
musicians of all ages. I'm particularly interested in finding some way 
of collecting the music from the younger XO users in the rural areas 
where the XO will be used. That of course means they'd need school 
servers with Internet connectivity.

3. The screen was also a deciding factor -- I read a lot of PDFs and I'm 
sick and tired of having the print them out to be able to read them at 
all. As far as the keyboard is concerned, I too have adequately adapted 
to smaller ones -- the HP-100LX and the Toshiba Libretto 70.

> I didn't pay $400 out of charity.  I'm 100% in favor of the OLPC ideals 
> and project, but in monetary terms, 100% would probably be about $25.  I 
> paid $400 because it's the only thing out there, at that price, that can 
> do what I need it to do.  That's in sunny, cutting edge, Southern 
> California. (The warm glow from knowing I'm also helping somebody is 
> just lagniappe.)

I think I'm more along the lines of the G1G1 split -- a $200 unit for me 
and a $200 unit for a young learner somewhere in an underdeveloped area.

> So, anyway, the point of all this is that nobody really knows what 
> anybody else's priorities are.  Just because I'm an urbanite, doesn't 
> mean the Eee is for me.  The life of a rural farmer is different from 
> mine, and mine is different from yours.  The Green Machine won't suit 
> some people, and will suit others down to the ground.  The important 
> thing is to have *choices*.
> And that's the thing that really freaks me out, watching the Intels and 
> Microsofts trying to figure out how to squash the OLPC before it gets 
> beond them.  It's not that their machines are useless.  It's that we 
> need more than one kind of machine, and I worry that they're trying to 
> make sure we don't get that.

Well ... Intel and Microsoft are huge giants, to be sure. But they 
aren't the *only* giants in the industry by any stretch of the 
imagination, nor do they have commanding market shares *everywhere*. 
There's IBM, of course, Sun, Google, all of whom have built open source 
to the point where I don't think survival of open source is in question 
any more.

And as far as the "educational market" is concerned, at least here in 
the USA, there are folks other than Intel and Microsoft with 
well-established niches. Texas Instruments, for example, has a pretty 
good grip on the educational calculator niche. Some major universities 
require their students to own Macintoshes. And I'm sure Red Hat also has 
a presence in the educational market.

My main concern is not that Intel and Microsoft can out-manufacture and 
out-sell Quanta/OLPC. My concern is that there aren't *enough* "adult 
early adopters". I think there are too many people that will pay $400 
for an ASUS Eee rather than $200 for an XO, simply because the Eee is 
faster and has more RAM. As you noted, though, those of us who chose the 
XO each had our own reasons.

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