Goodbye One Laptop per Child

   
   
   
   
   

wayan-mike-xo.jpg

Here is a question for you: 8 years on, would you recommend anyone start a new deployment with XO-1 laptops?

With the hardware now long past its life expectancy, spare parts hard to find, and zero support from the One Laptop Per Child organization, its time to face reality. The XO-1 laptop is history. Sadly, so is Sugar. Once the flagship of OLPC's creativity in redrawing the human-computer interaction, few are coding for it and new XO variants are mostly Android/Gnome+Fedora dual boots.

Finally, OLPC Boston is completely gone. No staff, no consultants, not even a physical office. Nicholas Negroponte long ago moved onto the global literacy X-Prize project.

That's not to say the OLPC idea is dead. OLPC Miami is still servicing the major deployments in Uruguay, Peru, and Rwanda, and has licensed commercial rights to the brand to Sakar/Vivitar, which introduced an XO Tablet for American children.

Yet let us be honest with ourselves. The great excitement, energy, and enthusiasm that brought us together is gone. OLPC is dead. In its place, is the reality that technology is a force in education, and we all need to be vigilant about when, where, and how it's used.

So take a moment to mourn the loss of OLPC, and then join us for the larger Educational Technology Debate on where all ICT4Edu efforts are going.

PS: A hearty shout-out to Mike Lee, Christoph Derndorfer, Brian Berry, Yama Ploskonka, Jon Camfield, and all the rest who made this journey the ride of a lifetime. Thanks, and see you on the next roller coaster.

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40 Comments

Quite apropos given the recent acquistion by Lafise Bank who acquired all assets of OLPC Assoc and Foundation but not all debts, that are in excess of 3M which includes failure to produce and disburse payments to deployments around the world.

It will be interesting see what, if anything, the new OLPC Inc. produces:

http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail/EntityName/domnp-n14000001045-33f07234-7d4a-40c6-bdd8-b41883ddf242/olpc/Page1

My hat goes off to everyone who got Stuff Done in and around OLPC. Countless teachers, support folks, helpful parents, kids, technical people volunteering on OLPC and Sugar.

And to those who continue, even when the going gets hard. XO-4 laptops keep being produced, and Gonzalo Odiard and his merry band keep moving Sugar forward because it matters to users on the ground.

Because it's easy to get psyched up when you are gunning to change the whole world. But changing things for the better for 100, 1000, 10000 or 100000 children is still damn worthy.

Those who worked with OLPC know that we've had at times one thousand opinionated "friends" for each actual person doing something productive. A critical friend can be a boon, a thousand critical friends, not quite the same :-}

To those who have limited themselves to information (and sadly too often misinformation), well, I wish you a Lot More Doing in your future endeavours.

very great appreciation for all those who have worked and worked on Sugar and the "green machines" - a hundred went to Kibwezi Educational Centre (Kenya) where they are still being used (enthusiastically) by Imani primary school.

Maybe olpcnews.com is over, but OLPC is not.

Please join us in Paris (April 12th-13th) for the 3rd SugarCamp and let's discuss the future of the OLPC movement : http://olpc-france.org/sugarcamp/

Sugar is history? Don't know where you get that from. Sugar gets younger everyday. So young that it's even on the Web now: http://sugarizer.org/

Goodbye!

How stupid peoples should be to recommend olpc to childs that should learn new technologies, it's dummiest PC I ever seen in my life. It's just money laundering, poor Rowandians not eating and giving their money to buy this shit.

First of all bbb its Rwandese no knows who the hell Rowandians are. You may think the tech is crap but for those kids it gives them their first real stab at something that we all take for granted.

I still remember how I had participated in an OLPC finance app project long back - 5 years back. Sad that it is going for ever now.

OMG. OLPC is gone??? xo was my first tablet computer and I still use it. I want to keep using it. please dont close this.

OLPC, Sugar and many deployments continue. More importantly, projects inspired by OLPC also continue.

It's Wayan Wota / "olpcnews" website that is saying goodbye.

He sends warm fuzzies to the folks that wrote here with him, not to the folks that made things happen with kids' education. Ah well.

Yes.... I would start a deployment with XO-1 even in urban Hong Kong. While this was posted I was upgrading 7 years old battered XO-1 with 256MiB ram with Sugar 1. The community is alive and even more global as we strive for OLPC 2.0 with our new journey.

XO4All. With 10 years approaching next year since it was announced, we should be celebrating its metamorphosis :-)

olpcnews has been calling OLPC dead for about 7 years now, don't take this as news. OLPC has only revolutionized laptops, OS, education, ARM laptops, tablets for productivity and plenty more to come. OLPC forced the hand over Intel, Microsoft and Apple. From a 20-or-so max amount of employees at any one time, from this small MIT spin-off it's job well done. Could it have reached more kids yet? For sure, but they can't change political corruption by Wintelpple that easy.

The University of Delaware has a class on XO laptop development where students create an educational game, and then get to deploy it in a nearby middle school with an XO-1 for every student (although, sadly, they don't own them, they just borrow them on a per-class basis). Undergraduates get really enthusiastic about this class; making a [small] difference by making games is an amazing experience.

I took this class twice, and now as an alumni I helped develop the linked tool to ease the painful process of Pygame development. This tool is just reaching maturity, and we're already hearing adoption: RIT has expressed an interest in using our tool in their own XO-1 course! I'm hoping that this tool offers a chance to breathe some life in XO-1 development. We still have bugs to iron out, but our tool offers some really powerful features. I really have high hopes for the future with it!

Austin: Thanks a lot for sharing this bit. Any place where we can learn more about the work you and others are doing in Delaware?

The Platipy project is the authoritative site for keeping up-to-date on our tool (Spyral) and the documentation for creating a new XO laptop game (http://platipy.org)

The Delaware professors have the class as part of a bigger Service Learning oriented project: https://sites.google.com/site/computeteams4youth/home

Worth checking out our games: https://sites.google.com/site/computeteams4youth/games

That looks great, thanks a lot!

I'd also suggest sharing this over on Sugar's IAEP (lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep) and sugar-devel (lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/sugar-devel) mailing lists because I'm sure many people there will find your work interesting and useful.

It is true that the organization that developed an iconic product, brought down laptop cost to less than half, generated a new product class and distributed 2.5 millions laptops to kids all over the world, has lost most of its strength and appeal.
So now you do not even know that you can get a durable fully functional laptop/tablet hybrid for ~$220. Instead you can get a commercial offering for 4-5 times as much or just a tablet (that will last more than few days) for 2-3 times as much.
The "market" won! But I hardly see any reason to celebrate if you are not in the computer selling business...
Unless, you want to celebrate people all over the world still supporting and pushing the OLPC idea and the specific offerings (that hold all their value and then some), XO-4 and Sugar.

Goodbye One Laptop Per Child? Oh come on, & the stories are in and go way beyond the comments. E.G., see Austin Cory Bart’s comment above about the University of Delaware & Middle School XO-1 project. That project was seeded with Contributors Program re-donated G1G1 XO-1 laptops along with many more equally valuable small projects, some still very active and some still very new.

We have been hearing rumors about the “failures,” woes, and financial mis-management in Miami for several years. Because the OLPC Foundation and the OLPC Association lack the fiscal transparency one expects from responsible non-profit organizations, they are just that, rumors. I was recently asked whether OLPC was a failure and I wrote a response which appears here: http://seanlaurence.com/2014/02/07/has-one-laptop-per-child-failed/

To my comments there, I’d like to add this: “People Who Say It Cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt Those Who Are Doing it!”

OLPC Kenya just exploded its population of schools and committed sites to 35. We started 10 news sites just in the last month and they were received with great hope and enthusiasm. How much of the XO design is 'open'. In Kenya we are ready to produce these laptops in country, because they DO meet the needs of the children schools and teachers. We had the teachers up and running in two days. They were so happy that someone finally brought them a tool, a good tool that they can use.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6qGGAvKNPKU0eMs0LWVCjiUyeV0gD0yQ


Come to Kenya purchasers of the OLPC Miami group who holds the license. We will work with you.

We had an OLPC XO-1 users group in Philadelia in the shadow of where they made ENIAC, the first computer, but just had maybe 2-3 members. With all the Colleges nearby, I feared it was in trouble.

My son was not born before it was bought and took his birth photo and video using the XO-1. My cell phone would not have a camera, until over 4 yrs later.

The laptop was left behind during a move later, but my son got a Nabi 10" tablet a year afterwards and would not leave it home.

Wow. Looks like there are plenty of people still supporting the XO platform. It's a shame there isn't some sort of central hub for information regarding these projects. Like a "news" site for OLPC-related developments. ;)

Actually the real shame is that who ever is in charge of these projects doesn't do enough PR. They should have been contacting Wayan to get the word out. It's all about marketing.

But it is great to know that so much is still being done with the XO. Once the tablet boom came, I ran out of ideas for my XO. Would love to do something with it.

Indeed, it's all about marketing and PR.

If olpcnews.com had been about helping the OLPC community out there, I guess we would have contacted Wayan more often.

I think many of us want to believe that the Internet is kind of magical, but the old ways are still in play if you want to do anything more than go for personal success. We all have to reach out to news sources that cover the kind of projects we're working on. Word-of-mouth is great, but doesn't usually do the trick.

thepete: Once the tablet boom came, we all ran out of ideas for XO's and ran out to buy and use tablets instead.

Well, I think if there had been a tighter community behind the XO, we'd still be coming up with new things to do with our XOs today. I do partially blame myself and other members of our community but mainly I blame the folks at the top of OLPC who never really seemed to understand our enthusiasm. They wasted us, essentially. Look at the community behind Google Glass. We're product ambassadors and everywhere we go, we are salespeople for Glass. I remember having the same role back in 2007 when I'd take my XO to coffee houses to write on it. The difference between that and Glass are numerous, but my point is that Google stays active with us. They gave us monthly OS updates, reached out to us and not only keep us involved but keep themselves involved. As a result there is a tight community of hackers, tech enthusiasts and even normal people who use and love Glass. We'll see how long it lasts, but I think OLPC should have created a strong relationship with their fans in the tech world. I remember feeling ignored after a few months. I had zero relationships with anyone who wasn't already on the olpcnews forum. When I had complaints about the XO-1 hardware design I had no one at OLPC to complain to. Compare that to Google who has reached out several times to ask us what we think. It seems like common sense to me. OK, climbing off the rantbox...

thepete: You can always keep up with projects worldwide at http://planet.laptop.org http://planet.sugarlabs.org and http://olpcmap.net

cheers,
Sameer

Well, it shouldn't be up to me to check three different sites to find out the latest on XO-related projects. It's up to each project to figure out the best way to make it easy for people to discover them. From the tech-enthusiast perspective, it's easier to stay enthusiastic when there is one or two (at the most) places to go for the latest news. The way the OLPC universe evolved, it got confusing really fast and there was even bitterness between "factions" of OLPC supporters. It was very awkward at times and difficult to figure out where to go for good/accurate information whether I was working on a specific XO related project or just wanted general news. Wayan was great for a while, but when OLPC's behavior became confusing, withdrawn and even stupid, I was a little put off by the negativity around it and the fact that OLPC didn't try to clear things up. It's all water under the bridge, now, for me anyway. If someone has a cool project (or list of projects) for the original XO-1, I'd love to dust off my old G&W and put it to use. Just my ¥2, as always.

thepete: http://planet.laptop.org is for aggregate updates from OLPC projects from around the world.
http://planet.sugarlabs.org is for aggregate updates on Sugar from around the world.
http://olpcmap.net is for aggregate geospatial views for OLPC and Sugar projects around the world.

In all these sites, it's up to each project to figure out the best way to make it easy for people to discover them, so they provide their own blog feeds, which get aggregated via sites.

It's as if someone knew what you were going to ask for, and did it for you. Read your mind. Like magic!

Happy reading!

Sameer

Except for the fact that my original point was that olpcnews.com should be the one site not sites updated directly by project leaders. I appreciate your links and explanations, but the idea is to have independent coverage of projects and not have just a site for press releases to be reposted without comment. I believe this is what I should have posted originally, and I apologize for not having my thoughts in order. I also believe that this is what Wayan's original idea for olpcnews.com. But again, thanks for your links and explanations.

to me the http://wiki.laptop.org was and is the place to be.

It's called wiki.laptop.org ...

"8 years on, would you recommend anyone start a new deployment with XO-1 laptops?" And "join the larger Educational Technology Debate on where all ICT4Edu efforts are going".

Sure, here's something to ponder:

"
1. Is there room for an open source AND open hardware laptop annex tablet in the EU/your Educational Landscape?
2. Though some (European) kids may have an iPad class, may they still be missing the boat or are they on the wrong ship?
Reading the wikipedia or being part of the wikipedia, reading, writing and programming it and putting wheels under it or letting it fly? That seems sum up both projects.
4. Anno 2014, can't we expect a the educational landscape to toughen up a bit and contribute their fair share to push back those NSA kind of Governmental organisations, accessing everything digital you dare to say or type; programmed to fail eDevices and GSM operators sucking the last euro's out of families'pockets? Who believes these people any longer? Maybe a free relayed communication thanks to these open-source, open-hardware, open-community, open-robotics initiative as the olpc XO's are something to link up with?
6. The XO is the best laptop-tablet out there for any kid. Also rich Western kids.
5. the money is there, just help fill out the grant forms.

Sincerely,
skype SvenAERTS - olpc Community Brussels
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Europe

So we're all going to leave now that several countries have a near to full roll-out and Kenya signed a memorandum to order 1,2 million XO-4 's.
I love your timing?

Amateurs talk hardware, professionals talk software. Steve Jobs and his Next computer failed (research that one). DEC went under when it brought out the alpha chip, all its customers had to dump their VAX software. Intel's itanium chip was a monumental failure. The list goes on.

At least the do-gooders worked off their excess energy outside America. Otherwise they would really be dangerous. And Negroponte? He splits, how apropros, how many folks did he blame along the way? HE was never wrong about this.

People are STILL bringing out new hardware? Just get your young kid a toy from Toys R Us, and give them a real tablet and have them learn commands for adult software that they will use the rest of their life.

Now are people FINALLY going to let this project go before it sucks up anymore resources? Bury it.

I am a software engineer, I knew this would tank from the start.

Amateurs talk hardware, professionals talk software. Steve Jobs and his Next computer failed (research that one). DEC went under when it brought out the alpha chip, all its customers had to dump their VAX software. Intel's itanium chip was a monumental failure. The list goes on.

At least the do-gooders worked off their excess energy outside America. Otherwise they would really be dangerous. And Negroponte? He splits, how apropros, how many folks did he blame along the way? HE was never wrong about this.

People are STILL bringing out new hardware? Just get your young kid a toy from Toys R Us, and give them a real tablet and have them learn commands for adult software that they will use the rest of their life.

Now are people FINALLY going to let this project go before it sucks up anymore resources? Bury it.

I am a software engineer, I kne

OLPCNews has been one long exercise in ambush marketing. If OLPC is dead -- and that may well be the case -- OLPC News has been primary grave digger. With friends like these...

OLPC is not death; eg. this One Laptop per Child San Francisco (OLPC-SF) June 21, 2014 Meeting at Inveneo and on Google Hangout https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDyiL8jvGWY

I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch screen does not work.
What do you do?
It is discouraging, is not it?
I can not imagine the reaction of children in Peru or other countries. It must be very sad!
I can not find any solutions.
Guy
[email protected]

I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch screen does not work.
What do you do?
It is discouraging, is not it?
I can not imagine the reaction of children in Peru or other countries. It must be very sad!
I can not find any solutions.
Guy
[email protected]

What is a shelf XO? If you tell me what did you buy and from whom, perhaps I will have a suggestion.

The support gang, many of whom quietly monitor the News posts often still provide repair advice for even the oldest XO laptops. They are rugged and we have found them to last beyond their predicted lifespan of 4 years when used in developing world locations.

The XO Tablet sold at Walmart is not an XO laptop. Vivitar makes it and the OLPC Association licensed the use of the XO name brand for it. They are cheaply made tablets. Sometimes the problem is simply the charger. It must be inserted just so, maybe propped up in the box that the Tablet came in, to start charging. Purchased new they have a 1 year warranty and you will find a website to provide support. If you purchased them used well then perhaps they were already broken. Hope this is helpful.

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