[Olpc-open] [Edu-sig] OLPC G1G1 sales start today
francois.schnell at gmail.com
Mon Nov 12 19:05:03 EST 2007
I'm also very disappointed with the limited distribution scheme of the
XO (in time and US only).
For me there is no doubt that the XO is the best educational and
technical machine out there (vs Intel Classmate and Asus EEE) but it's
not sufficient not even necessary to have the best product to gain
wide adoption (ask Microsoft).
Now that the XO has entered mass production I believe the OLPC project
should concentrate *now* on starting the ecosystem, the layers of the
onion, to hopefully reach a sustainable critical mass (of software
developpers, content creators, advocates, to sell more, to lower the
price, etc). I believe it just won't happen with the actual
When I had my first 100 $ "laptop", I was a kid, and the ZX81 could be
bought everywhere by anybody. As a result this very limited machine
(and following ones), without the web, saw a growing "community" and
dedicated magazines where full of Open Source and Open Hardware,
sharing tweaks and hacks and all kind of creative projects which
ignited the curiosity and vocation of many today engineers:
In regard the XO is a heaven but where are the well deserved vibrant layers ??
it's been a while I'm following these official OLPC lists, at least,
but sadly, they doesn't flood my mailbox:
In the meantime Asus recently released the EEE subnote book:
Officially it is not for education (they say now) and you can buy it
everywhere *now* (or soon) with an ASUS 2 years warranty. Oh, and the
official website is full of kids pictures...
Well right now ASUS have a hard time to keep up with the unexpected
high demand ... the layers are building fast, forums, blogs and lists
are again vibrant with tweaks, hacks and all kind of creative projects
If I take my little, tiny, microscopic French country for example
(where the laptop won't even be available before the mid-december):
I see that this single forum is already very active with people
sharing their experience and projects with few laptops bought from
Taiwan on Ebay.
I can't buy an XO and consequently can't contribute to the XO project,
I will then buy an EEE and probably contribute to the EEE layers.
I find that ironic considering that I'm fully in sync with Nicloas
Negroponte, Papert and Kay main ideas and approach.
So, yes the OLPC is already an incredible success (it shook-up Intel
and Asus) so cheap, affordable machines are and will be more and more
a reality thanks to the OLPC initial strike. I also expected the
layers catalysts, my mistake probably.
Hopefully Quanta will release a "consumer" version of the XO (could be
already to late to reach a "critical mass", hopefully I'm wrong)
On Nov 12, 2007 8:51 PM, Paul D. Fernhout <pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
> Andrew Harrington wrote:
> > I understood the time limitt had something to do with restrictions on
> > nonprofit status, though I am sorry I forget where I heard it -- maybe
> > laptop.org before the sale started.
> I heard the same thing, but it does not make much sense to me, as there are
> a lot of educational non-profits which have sales as part of their missions.
> I would expect OLPC sales would be clearly income related to their exempt
> purpose? OLPC News was set up by someone in part out of a feeling some of
> these decisions were less transparent than they should be.
> > I certainly agree that I would
> > want to at least make sure a friend of my kid in the same neighborhood
> > was doing the same thing, or buy double myself.
> One thing about this is that I wonder if a typical spread-out car-requiring
> US neighborhood, unlike a clustered rural village, will have the density to
> make the mesh network useful?
> I'm getting two from a developer point of view, but then I've long been
> interested in and worked on educational software (going back more than 25
> years). So for me, it's mostly an R&D investment, a learning opportunity,
> and also something charitable. I have fairly low expectations for it other
> than perhaps to use to deploy my own Python-ic creations, and my family has
> other laptops and desktops to use for production work or web surfing. I'll
> be very happy if the music software really does network well.
> For a more typical home user, especially one who does not already know and
> like GNU/Linux, I'm not sure if it would meet expectations in the developing
> world as other than either as special purpose device (like used as an ebook
> reader or robot controller) or alternatively, for a family who buys several,
> as a family activity to use some of the built in "connectivist" software
> (either what is there now or what might be speculatively available in the
> future). Again from the review by an eight year old:
> "When given the choice between the XO and his current PC, Nicholas naturally
> chose the latter. When asked whether he would rather use the XO or his
> Leapster handheld learning system, he chose the Leapster. But when given the
> choice between the XO and nothing, he was okay with the XO. And since that's
> the choice facing the potential recipients of the XO, that may be enough of
> a victory."
> So, I've actually somewhat discouraged someone I know who wants it just as a
> good laptop present for their kid. If the recipient is not into the "giving"
> part, or the "developing" part, or the "learning its quirky OS" part, I
> think a kid would be disappointed, as in the above review. If they are into
> giving, developing in Python, or learning GNU/Linux, then by all means, it
> may be a great educational experience to be part of a movement, and to have
> a portable platform one can write Python software for. I'm tempted to just
> velcro one to the wall and use it to track the local weather -- although
> I've seen cheaper dedicated computing devices one might use for that.
> Still, it does not, to me, seem to have the ease-of-use of an "appliance",
> like these attempts:
> given that I assume any purchaser will need to upgrade the software as it is
> just the first big public release. Maybe in a few years a system like this
> might ship with good enough software you could expect not to have to upgrade
> it or add to it regularly.
> Still, I might be wrong, and it might be good enough out of the box, I'll
> see; I've only worked with limited emulated development versions of it.
> Obviously, it is the aim of the OLPC project and Sugar to deliver exactly
> that ease of use and automatic migration and installation of applications. I
> think we are still waiting for the verdict on that (currently reviews seem
> mixed and the software seems still in flux).
> I'm also still not sure what I make of the legal liability of running a mesh
> network node if yours is the link that is readily identifiable and connected
> directly to the internet. Hopefully you can secure it with a pass phrase?
> On a tangent, while one can disagree with the distribution plans for
> developing nations, the idea behind selling a million at once was to
> saturate an entire area with them to promote a wi-fi mesh across a big area,
> as well as to make theft less likely.
> Personally, as one person on OLPC News suggested though,
> "10 Reasons Why Negroponte Should Change OLPC Distribution"
> this idea might work better in a city -- where a progressive mayor might
> order a few thousands to blanket the city area.
> As is said at that link: "Contrary to state and federal governments, in the
> municipal scale, one enthusiast can make a project happen. City mayors are
> usually eager to find projects that can put their own city on the map, even
> if that means doing things nobody has ever done before. Also, a thousand
> children and his families can represent five thousand voters, and that does
> make a difference in the next elections, specially if you promise to expand
> this one-school project to others when your term is ending. A couple
> thousand dollars is the just the scale they can afford: around the cost of a
> bridge, a new road or reforming a school. "
> I thought that was a really good idea -- focusing on developing cities not
> developing nations. But then I've long been a Jane Jacobs fan. :-)
> --Paul Fernhout
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