[Olpc-open] Flash content for OLPC
echerlin at gmail.com
Thu Mar 27 00:29:09 EDT 2008
On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 8:20 PM, Nagarajan Vadivel
<radius.consultancy at gmail.com> wrote:
> I did follow carefully the discussion thread on the efficacious use of flash
> content for OLPC XO users. My view is that OLPC initiative shall not be
> restricted to only Open Source.
You are swimming against the current here. The XO will ship with 100%
Free Software, apart from a few bits of code in on-chip ROMs. Users
will be free to download and install non-free software, and you are
free to help them do it. But finishing the Free Software base is a
high priority for many of us.
> At the server level trying for a trade off
> in terms of power and cost will inhibit the ease of use. I an sure that
> soon Adobe will release an open source version to enable the more wider use
> of Adobe technology for OLPC
Why do you think so? I see Adobe talking about Open Source
* Flex 3 SDK
* Flash Ajax Video Component
* Generic Image Library
* Adobe Media Gallery
* Adobe Source Libraries
* XMP (eXstensible Metadata Platform)
and odd bits of Flash such as ActionScript VM, but never Flash as a whole.
Quite to the contrary, in fact, we hear that "Adobe is adding in the
option to require an ad to be played in full before the main video
piece is played. This would be most useful for large scale video
sites. Also, Adobe has announced plans to add DRM into the new version
of Flash." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash#Future_developments)
These would be the first elements stripped out of any Open Source
version. I guarantee that I would not watch such encumbered content,
and would not myself offer any of it to children. I already shun DVDs
with excessive adware, and I quit Windows as soon as I could.
> I tried to make the OLPC XO interoperable with Flash Media Sever to access
> the Flash content. Please visit
> use the user name = student and password student
> After login select the moodle course mathzone
> Here you have the moodle based content on maths for students in the age
> group 6 to 12
We can do way better than this in Etoys. We can reimplement what was
good in The New Math without the disastrous neglect of parents and
teachers that killed it the first time. Or we can do even better.
Math is not arithmetic. It is not symbols. It is patterns. Children
are astonishingly good at pattern recognition, due to our ancestors'
need to recognize threats to life and limb, to distinguish friend from
foe, to learn the languages of speech, of gesture, of emotion, of
form, of music, and so on and on. When we take advantage of the
child's natural ability to learn instead of interfering with it at
every step, as conventional education does, we will see unimaginable
During a brief period in Classical times, a few thousand Athenians
invented democracy, philosophy, notions of fundamental human rights,
science, large parts of mathematics, logic, tragedy, new art forms,
and no doubt new musical forms, now lost because they didn't invent
musical notation. We don't know in detail how they did it, but we know
that if we would like it to happen again, we should not do what
everybody else has done in the millennia since. We should at least
recreate the agora, the marketplace of ideas. Well, that is part of my
vision for the XO. I will not stand by and see it tied up in DRM or
any other form of monopoly.
They say that if
I have an orange and you have an apple, and we exchange them, then I
have an apple and you have an orange. But if
I have an idea and you have an idea, and we exchange them, we each
have two ideas. Except that today,
we each have one idea that we might be able to use, and one idea that
we can't speak out loud without getting sued.
> In the mathzone corse in the central frak a link titled online interaction -
> student is available
> If you click then it will take you to flash media server with a suite for
> flash based whiteboard, audio, video and interactive presentation
> We tried etutoring too. But due to hardware compatibility issue with webcam
> we are not ablt use XO webcam
> Please consider the point that we need powerful servers with commercial but
> widely available tool such as Flash.
I don't think so. We didn't need hard drives and superfast processors
in the XO, and I expect that we will do quite well without the baggage
of commercial software.
> The philosopy is the same - economy of scale. More users and the cost will
> be less
You are apparently not considering the well-known costs of monopoly
power, including patents, copyrights, and trade secrets, to consumers
and to other companies.
> We installed opera software at the local XO and everything is fine
> Gnash work may be an important point but at the same time we plan to work
> with an assumption that OLPC is a giant project and requires the muscles of
> giants like Adobe and Microsoft
You lost me there. What do we need from Microsoft?
> They are surely and purely business people and already the saw a big
> business in OLPC
I can see a huge business in OLPC, but it has nothing to do with
support for proprietary software. Rather, it depends on the growing
network effect of more-efficient, more-secure, higher-quality Free
Software and publicly-defined standards not tied up in patents. For
example, content licensed for the XO will be recoded where necessary
and possible, in forms that can be played in Free Software on the XO.
The rest of the world will benefit. We have, I hear, three quarters of
a million units ordered, and some hundreds of thousands produced and
delivered. That is already enough to have visible, though so far small
effects on media accessibility. When we reach tens and then hundreds
of millions of units, I confidently predict that we will change the
face of the market.
Google, Red Hat, AMD, and eBay are in this because they see their next
several billion customers lined up and waiting. The rest of the
industry will no more be able to resist than the minicomputer,
workstation, and supercomputer makers have been able to maintain their
markets in the face of the personal computer revolution. Sure, there
are a few old-line vendors still standing, but look how many have
disappeared. Former high-fliers like DEC, Data General, SGI, Compaq,
Tandem, Apollo, Cray, all sold off for pennies on the dollar.
Buggy-whip manufacturers, the lot of them.
IBM sold or spun off many of its former core businesses, including
printers (as Lexmark) and PCs (to Lenovo) and has successfully
reinvented itself as a Linux vendor with a huge service business and a
bit of hardware. Five of the Seven Dwarfs are gone, leaving only NCR
and Unisys (Burroughs), which are no longer significant players in the
The only hope I can see for Microsoft is to reinvent itself in much
the same way, shedding former core businesses to the Free/Open Source
world, and becoming something else--I don't know what. But claiming
that FOSS was its idea all along. %-[
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