XO Production Delay Advice: Children First, Geeks Celebrate

olpc xo sales
XO-1 production results

Remember when we learned that XO-1 laptop production was delayed again and George Snell tried to tell us that:

The Reuters story has been corrected. The project has not been delayed. We are still on target for production to begin in October with distribution to begin to countries in November.
Well we now have further confirmation of a delay in Qauanta's production of OLPC computers. Reuters is reporting that One Laptop Per Child XO computer assembly is now slated to begin by 12 November:
"We had some last-minute bugs. We've resolved them," [Mary Lou Jepsen] said in a recent interview, adding that the group expected to produce 100,000 laptops this year.

An October launch would have given the group time to produce and ship tens of thousands of laptops to Peru and Uruguay, the first two countries to order the laptops. It would now be tough to get those laptops to South America by December, in time for kids to use them over their summer vacation, and also meet orders for the foundation's Give 1 Get 1 scheme for people in the United States and Canada, she said.

Its not only the G1G1 program that is threatened by this delay. The whole low-cost laptop market is now getting more crowded by the day. Digitimes announced that Mitac International Computer may enter the fray, NComputing is all up in OLPC's grill, and Infoworld says that Asus has won the first salvo of a low-cost laptop war:
olpc $100 laptop
The Eee PC officially went on sale in Taiwan at 5 p.m. Tuesday. On Wednesday, the lone white laptop at the 3C chain store in Neihu may have been the only one still for sale on the island. [3C sales associate] Lin Che-chun said another Eee PC shipment isn't expected until some time in November, and that Asustek has not said how many Eee PCs it will make available.
Worst of all, it seems that even the United Nations, an early OLPC supporter, may be turning its back on Nicholas Negroponte's dream, questioning even his original, fanciful "$100 laptop" price point:
"Even if the cost was only $100 per child, that is more than most developing countries, especially the least developed countries, can afford," UN Under Secretary-General Cheikh Sidi Diarra said.

"In many LDCs, for example, the amount spent on a child's education in primary school is as low as USD five a year when teachers' salaries are excluded", he said on the display of a $100-laptop in the United Nations.

olpc free music project
We wanna sing & dance!
Before you get all doom and gloom, and start to question the whole green machine enterprise, take a step back and look at the big picture. Thanks to Nicholas Negroponte, we have a dream coming to reality: an education revolution in the developing world fueled by low-cost laptops.

Soon there will be an OLPC Uruguay and OLPC Peru where children will "learn learning" through Constructionist methodologies embodied in a tailor-made computer, the XO-1.

The clock-stopping hot technologies that emerged from the global tribe of Open Source developers will soon benefit the world's computer users, and the simple "$100 laptop" moniker is reshaping the entire computer retailing industry, promising to impact the developing world on a larger scale than even Negroponte imagined.

Then take a step in, and realize that it doesn't really matter if you or I get to be the first kid (at heart) on our block to have an XO-1 through G1G1. What matters is that in Uruguay, in Peru, in poor classrooms and living rooms of the developing world, there will soon be thousands of children's faces alit by glowing activities, families dancing to TamTam and whole communities mesh networked together.

So my dear OLPC, this is the darkest hour. The time when all the planets are misaligned, and not even OLPC Planetarium shows the dawn. But do not fret. Do not lose faith. Do not sweat this wait. In fact, I say to geeks everywhere, celebrate!

olpc Uruguay
A future OLPC-inspried poet
But soft! What light through yonder assembly line breaks?
It is the East, and OLPC is the sun!

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious Intel moon
Who is already sick and pale with overclocked grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.

Be not her sales maid, since she is envious.
Her vestal livery is but slick and white,
And none but fools do Windows. Cast it off.

It is Linux! O, it is my love!

My great apologies to the Bard.

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School year in Peru starts in March / April (depending on a lot of stuff, including seasonal rains in the rural areas targeted by the project). Normally, it's winding down by the beginning of December and finishing by the 20th, at the most, with teachers and administrators busy finishing grading and all the bureaucratic stuff that comes along that. Public offices, including ministries, close down for good from December 15th/20th till after New Year's Day, so plenty of stuff has to be finished by the beginning of December.

Pretty improbable that any computer may be delivered in time this year. Too tight. Also, nothing is known about the significant (bureaucraticly speaking) hurdle of assigning State property to individuals. There's a legal barrier that has not been discussed publicly nor(as far as I've been able to glean from inside sources) internally, at the Ministry.

Not sure how I would enjoy being the tech who works at that school... kids with laptops... sounds like alot of work LOL, in addition, I am not sure how much better children learn from a computer than they do from a real live teacher...

I agree, Wayan, this is the darkest hour, and it will get better from here on. Oplc has lots of financial backing so it isn't going to go out of business if it doesn't sell millions this year or even next year. As for competition, none of the other low-end laptops are really comparable. And as to the cost being too high, remember that in two or three years it will be down to %50.

By the way, anybody know what this cow-power thing is the article mentioned? What sort of specific power is being used -- do the cows walk on a treadmill, or what?

"Cow power," Eduardo? What might you be talking about? Do you mean the bullsh*t we heard when OLPC tried to popo the last XO delay announcement?

Or do you mean this: http://dev.laptop.org/%7Earjs/cp2.JPG a old Fiat dynamo powered by belts, pyulleys and cattle as described on OLPC India's listserv: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/india/2007-October/000071.html

Love this article - I say "Power to the penguin !"

From what I've found out so far, cow-power uses the gasses from cow "mud" to produce power using a generator, powered by those gasses. But I'm sure OLPC is working on it's own, new and improved cow power technology... drool drool...

Jepsen says it’s true, as the story suggested, that final assembly of the first batch of mass-produced laptop—to begin soon at a recently expanded Quanta Computer factory in Changshu, northwest of Shanghai—was originally envisioned to begin in October, and will now start sometime in November. But neither the One Laptop organization nor Quanta ever claimed that production would be begin on a set day—so it’s a stretch to call the situation a “production delay.” Says Jepsen, “I think we had hoped to start mass production in October, but we were never focused on starting on a certain date. We’ve always just wanted to make the product as good as we can…I am certainly not aware of any promises that we are going to miss.”

And while Jepsen says she’s happy that audiences are so interested in the details of the One Laptop project, she points out that the One Laptop organization doesn’t work like a traditional manufacturing company, with detailed business plans or Gantt charts showing the dependencies between each part of the project. “It’s much looser and more collaborative, kind of in the spirit of the open-source movement—and yet I’ve never worked at a company where things have come together more smoothly,” she says. “Everyone thought this was impossible three years ago.”


“What is mass production, anyway?” asks Jepsen. “Is it when you put together the motherboards, or is it when the operators on the line screw together the plastic parts on a conveyor belt? You can say that that’s when it really becomes a laptop—but we designed it so that five-year-old kids in Nigeria can screw it together. In a way, the work is already largely done.” Jepsen points out that Quanta, the world’s largest laptop manufacturer, recently doubled the size of its Changshu manufacturing plant so that it could begin production of the XO-1, which will be the first product off the new lines.

Jepsen says she was surprised by the complaining tone that spread across the blogosphere yesterday in response to the Reuters story about the supposed delays. “On some level I’d just like to say to everyone, ‘Chill,’” she says. “But on the other hand, it’s clear that people are really interested in the process, and in learning about how a laptop is manufactured.”

Source: http://xconomy.com/2007/10/25/one-laptop-organization-to-world-chill/

OLPC has been telling people for months that the dates are estimates for production to begin. So thank you Charbax for the pragmatic post that captures the reality of the situation.

I'd also like to reiterate that the G1G1 campaign is not in jeopardy -- at all. The program is moving forward as planned.

As OLPC has told folks since announcing the program in September (and as it says on the G1G1 Web site): A limited number of laptop computers will be available for this promotion beginning November 12th.

The earlier you order the better chance you have of getting your XO Laptop by Christmas. Everyone else will get them in the first few months of 2008.

Please remember that OLPC is a non-profit educational organization -- not laptop retailers. Our goal is to get laptops to children in developing world -- even if they aren't are own laptops.

NEWS FLASH! The illusion is over...
I'm sick of reading about the revolutionary programs like this one that provide for children in the developing world when there are children in dire, dire need right here in this country. Our underserved and forgotten youth, unfortunately, are forced to live with the institutionalized prejudice against America's poor, which mostly translates to her minority population. There are no Angelina Jolies or Madonnas or $100 laptop saviors on the way...because in America, unlike India or its neighbors, its the kids' fault, right? I say lets start the good cheer by breaking the cycle of self-hate and helping out kids who need it right here in the good old USA...you know, the once dominant superpower that's now falling behind to countries like India who reap the benfeits of our education system and our $100 computers.. If interested, I'd be happy to take anyone on a fact-finding humanitarian mission to the slums of Jackson, MS or East LA or what's left of 9th Ward New Orleans...all the liberal guilt you want, at a much cheaper price!

God Bless America, thanks for reading.

Thou art a talented constructionist polemicist, I enjoyed the poem:

That thou Negroponte art far more fair than Vota

lee you really are preaching to the wrong crowd with this "America first" bunk.

Education is owned by no one, and should be availible to all those who want it.

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