[OLPC-SF] Microsoft Is Joining Low-Cost Laptop Project - New York Times
jim at well.com
Sun May 18 14:11:20 EDT 2008
as to the bulk of your point, very nicely said.
On Sun, 2008-05-18 at 00:15 -0700, Mike Travers wrote:
> the choice of operating system seems like a relatively minor element
> of the medium/message/massage, compared to the fact of connectedness
> and interactivity.
As to the above, i think the OS technology is
not a minor consideration.
Consider the open-closed spectrum such that at
the open end absolutely all software (and hardware)
comes with source code and nice, clear docs and at
the closed end there is no info and no tools other
than directions "click the mouse here, darling."
The current XO product (it is such despite its
genesis) is close to the open end; windows-based
boxes are close to the closed end.
The open model allows kids to dig into the
innards, an innately kid thing to do. Kids will
sense the ownership of their work much more deeply,
and that sense will affect their connectedness and
interactivity, i think, a lot. The fact of lower
costs will promote the kids' community to do so
faster than the limited access of a more closed
As to the educational goals, the open source
model is immediately superior in teaching morality,
technology, math and reading/writing, and closely
adjunct fields such as electronics, system
administration, sensor-based physics-related
projects (light, heat, motion, robotics). The
open source model, with a little more time, will
also have an affect on more distantly related
fields that benefit from data manipulation
(agriculture, health, pollution...). The open
source, very low cost, model promotes ownership of
action and ideas, creativity, and independent
Does anyone think that a closed platform
would be better in the above educational regards?
If so, how?
It seems to me that the underlying technologies
of the OS are an important consideration (again,
a la "the medium is the massage").
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