[Olpc-open] Why is G1G1 program ending?

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky znmeb at cesmail.net
Sat Dec 29 15:00:41 EST 2007

Jim Sayre wrote:
> I agree that arranging replacements for truly defective or damaged units
> is unavoidable, but with good qualify control and a reliable shipping
> method that shouldn't be a big deal.  In fact, it occurs to me that a
> commerial supplier like Dell might be persuaded to handle the shipping
> process at cost.  The XO is hardly competition for its products, and it
> would be a good will gesture that might well generate more business for
> them.  That way you'd just have to ship the units from the manufacturer
> to a Dell warehouse in each region.  You might even get them to donate
> some of the overhead cost in return for a thank-you acknowledgement with
> the packaging.   They do a good job getting their own products to people
> quickly, and they have staff in place to take care of returns
> efficiently.  Farm it out.

What's in it for Dell? Have they been part of OLPC at any point in the
history of the project? The reason I ask is that some corporations
*have* been part of the project. I'm sure someone can point me to a list
of names, or I can hunt for it, but when you open the browser, whose
name comes up? Google. AMD, Red Hat and T-Mobile are three others that
are obvious.

> Clear documentation is going to be crucial whether G1G1 continues or
> not.  If intelligent and motivated donors can't figure the XO out,
> neither will many teachers, and they'll end up not using it.  The
> questions asked by donors will help to alert the project's help desk
> staff and volunteers to items that need to be explained better (or
> designed better), and thereby help the target educational users.

I'm not sure the "target educational users" have the same problems that
G1G1 recipients have. After all, various models of the XO are already in
use among the target users and what I'm seeing on the lists is a
different set of problems. One in particular that I can call out is the
grading services that the project in Nepal is looking to set up. Should
resources be diverted from solving those problems to solving low-level
WiFI or Fedora command line problems?

I'm a Linux hacker, among other things. But the XO that I got doesn't
need that -- it did exactly what it was supposed to do out of the box on
build 650. From what I've seen on the mailing list, there are very few
DOA units. I keep hearing the Tom Lehrer line in my head, "It's so
simple, so very simple, that only a child can do it." :)

> I looked at the G1G1 portion of the website again, and it sounds as
> though it was never intended to be permanent.  The site says that it has
> been "extended" to Dec. 31, not that it has been decided to terminate it
> then.  It sounds like a rather too successful pilot project that
> prepared for the volume it generated.  But that's not a reason to give
> up on it - instead, redesign it and take full advantage the donations,
> enthusiasm, etc., that it will create. OLPC isn't a commercial
> business, but that doesn't mean that no business principles are relevant
> to it.   OLPC has found an unexpectedly large niche with people who are
> able and willing to contribute in return for getting a unit of their
> own, and it would just be good sense to take advantage of it.

Yes, I agree ... there does need to be an expanded "developer program".
Still, I think that needs to focus on *activities* for *children*, *not*
on platform or platform documentation. As far as I can tell, the
platform is in great shape.

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