[Olpc-open] Why is G1G1 program ending?

Josh Cogliati jjcogliati-olpc at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 30 10:57:58 EST 2007

Nicole Lee,
Thank you for that answer.  

In some sense I think that part of the problem is that
despite the fact that olpc is not a laptop project, it
has produced the best laptop for quite a few niches. 
As well since the G1G1 program will be over soon,
there is a strong incentive to participate *now* even
though you might not be the best qualified to handle
beta software (if the program would have continued for
a year I might very well have waited).  

For the following niche's the XO is either the best
laptop for the job or the cheapest by far:

1.  Open Source/Free Software Linux laptop.
The ASUS EEE right now requires binary drivers to get
the wireless to work.  The Dell linux laptops also
require quite a few binary blobs to fully work and are
much more expensive, and don't include a webcam.  The
XO is the *only* laptop I am aware of that is serious
about being fully open source.  

2.  Robust laptop.  You can find laptops that can
survive being dropped and some water, but they are far
more expensive.  

3.  Ability to operate without access to power grid. 
The alternatives for this are either say, a Voyage 200
PLT calculator or carrying serious amounts of hardware
(Generator or Large solar panels and batteries).  The
XO is the only linux based computer I am aware of that
I can even imagine taking on a backpacking trip or by
canoe, llama or horse.   

4.  Educational laptop.  All of the 'laptops' for
children that I see are less robust and only have
canned software (they are also on the order of $80). 
My two year old has managed to destroy a calculator by
repeatedly dropping it and a digital clock by dumping
water on it.  The XO is the only thing between 'toys'
and a full notebook computer (which is not really
designed for children) that is designed for use by
children.  When I was about 11 years old I read a book
on BASIC programing.  I did not have access to a
computer to try it out until I was 14 (which was a
second hand Commodore 64).  I hope something like the
XO is available when my children turn 10.

5.  Laptop.  Most 'laptop' computers are actually
notebooks because they are too hot to comfortably use
on your lap.  I used the XO as my only laptop for four
days and when I switched back to a G4 mac notebook I
realized just how nice it was to have a cool laptop
instead of a heat producing notebook on my lap.  

So OLPC has discovered several niches that the
commercial world has not provided for. I know that my
11 year old self would have loved the XO and learned a
lot using it.  I hope that some way to provide for all
the other wonderful uses of the XO can be found
without harming the key mission of OLPC organization. 

Josh Cogliati

--- Nicole Lee <nicole.lee at students.olin.edu> wrote:

> the G1G1 program is a huge strain on the people
> directly involved in the
> project, though. there are a lot of benefits, such
> as the number of
> enthusiastic people brought into the project, eager
> to get cracking and help
> out. on the other hand, we're scrambling to keep
> donors happy, answer
> customer support questions, deal with possible
> returns, etc. even passing a
> lot of this to the volunteer community, there are
> still things that must be
> handled within the organization, especially if this
> is a commercial or
> semi-commercial enterprise. many view themselves not
> as donors, but as
> customers, and expect a high level of service,
> documentation, support, and
> so on for something that is very much a
> work-in-progress. this means that
> somebody working on it has to stop whatever they're
> building to work on
> documentation, communication, answering angry
> emails...
> having the documentation and directions and support
> staff is a great thing,
> and is really something that i've wanted for a
> while, but if we continue
> G1G1 the number of issues will continue to increase,
> just from the sheer
> volume of people with XOs, and at a certain point i
> believe it will begin to
> really have a negative impact on the productivity of
> the community. 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

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