[Olpc-open] Why is G1G1 program ending?

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky znmeb at cesmail.net
Sat Dec 29 04:40:38 EST 2007

Nicole Lee wrote:
> Running
> a G1G1 type program full time would be great publicity, support, make people
> who want to be able to get laptops happy, but it would also greatly increase
> the number of people who don't understand that OLPC is not in the business
> of selling cool gadgets to [comparably] wealthy adults, and these people
> demand service at a level that involves abandoning the educational goals of
> the project in favor of a better business model. OLPC is not here to be a
> corporation, and placing too much emphasis on G1G1 and similar programs is a
> risky move, because it puts OLPC down the path towards competitive business.
> is turning over developers to customer service and marketing really what's
> best for this project?
> can the project succeed without consumer support?
> -nikki

I really think you're right. The G1G1 program should end in the
USA/Canada on 31 December 2007 as planned, for a lot of reasons. Some of
them you listed above, but in actual fact, a more pressing reason is
that OLPC is a non-profit organization and can't hope to compete with a
large manufacturer head-to-head. The two "unique selling propositions"
of the XO to adults seem to be the screen and the wireless. I don't
think it's going to be very difficult for large R&D organizations to
duplicate those.

There seem to be three classes of G1G1 donors -- people who are getting
them for their own children, those who are getting them so they can
develop software for children, and those who are getting them for
themselves. You can probably guess which class I'm in by the fact that I
loaded wxMaxima and R on mine. :)

I guess I question whether children in the USA really need the XO --
there are plenty of software packages that run on conventional PCs, and
we have the infrastructure that the "target market" for the XO lacks.
And I really think adults who want a lightweight low-cost
no-moving-parts Linux notebook can probably get along just fine with an

So that leaves developers. For them, some kind of developer program
probably should be put in place beyond what's there already, now that
there's a production line in operation and the base platform is stable
enough that casual users and non-Linux people have little risk of
bricking their machines. In short, I'd like to see more XOs end up in
Afghanistan, Haiti, Cambodia, Mongolia and Rwanda and in the hands of
people who want to develop software for them.

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