[OLPC Security] Grey Markets: differentiation of legitimately purchased laptops

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Fri Oct 19 04:44:07 EDT 2007

Please don't confuse the Give 1 Get 1 campaign--whose primary purpose
is to raise money for distributing laptops to children in need--with
our efforts to reach children in the US (outside of 128). We are
addressing that need through the same mechanisms we are using
elsewhere: through school systems, NGOs, etc. What we are not doing is
selling laptops retail.


On 10/19/07, Albert Cahalan <acahalan at gmail.com> wrote:
> Mike C. Fletcher writes:
> > Official word from 1CC is that this change is not going to be
> > possible in the short-term.  We cannot implement these changes
> > for the first run this late in the process.  Which means the
> > first run of G1G1 laptops are likely going to have regular
> > colouration.  We will have to rely on other processes to
> > reduce/mitigate black-market operations.
> Good. The desire for a fully standard XO would have made
> the greymarket problem worse, not better.
> There is exactly one way to destroy the grey market:
> wash it away with a flood of cheap fully-legit laptops.
> People at OLPC seem to forget that Cambridge and the Route 128
> high-tech area in Massachusetts is not representative of the USA.
> Simply put, $400 per kid is way too much for a person who is
> struggling to pay the rent. There are a lot of people like that.
> We have coal miners, truck stop waitresses, fry cooks, and so on.
> The kids have one primary way to get moving in life: the military.
> It seems like nobody cares about these kids.
> Heck, $400 per kid is too much for **me**, and I'm a well-paid hacker.
> I'm just not going to risk having a kid lose or destroy a $400 object.
> (laptop or otherwise)
> I think you'll find that cutting the price in half would more
> than double the amount of sales, causing many more kids to get
> laptops than they would otherwise. If OLPC is truly interested
> in providing kids with laptops, then this is the obvious choice.
> Even that is still too expensive for many; the original goal of
> a $100 laptop would make a huge difference for kids everywhere.
> If volume production is the key to getting that price down,
> then G1G1 is exactly the wrong approach to make it happen.
> BTW, school servers are needed too.
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Walter Bender
One Laptop per Child

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