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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

OLPC article remarks

Wow, what a ride!!

This blog entry of mine made it to groklaw and linuxtoday. Thanks for submitting, people; I don't know who that was, but it brought ~ x100 times traffic to my blog than usual.

Now, my dear commenters:
Thanks for warm words. I really just said what I believe in, and I'm glad to see such positive response to it. It is nice to know, that I'm not the only one to think that way, and more than that - that I probably get this issue right.

Notes to commenters:
Jim, I'm not sure that 160 ms is the wakeup time, but indeed, 63ms is the hardware limit. Said that, I'd still be glad if my T43 with Windows XP would wake in 15 seconds (instead of about 2 minutes it takes now)

J├╝rgen, I get you point about the thought of being "feeling guilty". But nevertheless, given we both are born in more or less wealthy countries, can't we truly and sincerely want to contribute something to other people? With no second thought behind the idea? I mean, I don't believe we're trying to justify any other things we do in life, right?

I truly believe for a good in people, and I hope that the idea behind the project is a true and altruistic one.

For those who think its a financial scheme created to make a lot of money:
You're wrong guys/girls. While it is imaginable, I don't really see how it can be done considering the boundaries created for the project. Considering lot of Open/Free software developers/proponents are participating in this, I suspect that if any other cause would be possibly found in this, these brilliant but free people would leave the project.

On the other hand we see that this laptop would cost ~$100 to produce (eventually; and maybe even less in the long run). Given, that governments will get those units, I don't really see the way for MIT lab to profit from this (financially of course. All the technological benefit is there for all of us).

Some other ideas came to me while I was thinking a little more about the issue and reading all sorts of comments online.

Someone wrote (forgive me author, I don't remember who you are): GUI provided on OLPC is not all that good and relevant, because someone will find a way to override it and use the device as usual laptop.

At the beginning, I was a little agitated by this post, and wanted to explain myself better; but then I though a little more about it.

I decided that it would be great actually if that happens. Just imagine, a linux laptop, with very efficient hardware/software, long battery life, lightweight. Why wouldn't anyone want one?

But wait, there's more.

Imagine, all around the world, kids form "hack" communities, each with its favorite OLPC hacks. It will be one of the largest grouped communities around. And it will develope their skills, technical and social. It will develop the OLPC itself, as many [kids] minds is better than few [OLPC staff], not because they are smarter but because they are interested, and they are doing it for themselves.

And you know what?
I'd like such a computer for myself.

As a side note, I'd like to welcome Marco Albanese to our planet. Please join me in welcoming him and wish all the best.


tante said...

I think you misunderstood me a little (but some did so I guess I was kinda unclear in my phrasing ;)).

I'm sure that many of the contributors of the project do it for the good of "the children" or to make the world better, on an individual level.

The guilt thing was a reference to how "we" as a society (vs. the individual) try to mend our guilt with those projects.

As you I believe in the good will of the individual , but I also believe in the bad of the mob. The conscience that an individual has has no equivalent in society, society is not ethical while it's members are.

Alex said...


You might be right.

It is indeed equivalent to saying that all the wealth in the world is at this point very diverse, and that it is concentrated mostly in "developed" countries. All the other places are just declared to be "3rd world" and hence by definition "urge" us to help the situation indirectly created by our ancestors.

But then again, you might think that without such a "noble" goal, such projects as WHA and OLPC would not be in existence, so in a way, that is a natural way of life I guess.

There always will be reach and wealthy, and also poor. At least, all the time while we're diverse and not concentrated on mutual development as mankind.

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