Nicholas Negroponte has finally found his new CEO for One laptop Per Child. After a year of fruitless searching, he's tapped Charles Kane, OLPC's CFO and a former software company executive, to lead the organization on a daily basis.
And what does Charles say about OLPC's mission, now that he's running the show? According to Technology Review, Charles is very clear: it's a laptop project.
"The OLPC mission is a great endeavor, but the mission is to get the technology in the hands of as many children as possible," he said. "Whether that technology is from one operating system or another, one piece of hardware or another, or supplied or supported by one consulting company or another doesn't matter."Now what might Charles be referring to when he talks about things limiting the program? Charles doesn't say explicitly, but we can always look to Nicholas Negroponte, still Chairman of OLPC, for an answer. And he's very clear on what he finds as a distraction to One Laptop Per Child's success:
"It's about getting it into kids' hands," he continued. "Anything that is contrary to that objective, and limits that objective, is against what the program stands for."
"I think that means and ends, as often happens, got confused," he says. "The mission is learning and children. The means of achieving that were, amongst others, open source and constructionism.So kids, there you have it. The time, effort, energy, and passion of an entire global network of FOSS experts and supporters who have coded and promoted thousands of hours for OLPC, are actually a hindrance to success.
In the process of doing that, open source in particular became an end in itself, and we made decisions along the way to remain very pure in open source that were not in the long-term interest of the project."
Now why is that? How could that be? Oh, let us have our Dear Leader tell us what he believes is the true roadblocks to XO laptop adoption:
"When I went to Egypt for the first time, I met separately with the minister of communications, minister of education, minister of science and technology, and the prime minister, and each one of them, within the first three sentences, said, 'Can you run Windows?'" Negroponte says.Yes, Nicholas, with Windows XO, you will have a massive roll out of low-cost laptops. It will be a great win for you, for Quanta, and maybe even for the OLPC organization.
One future possibility is a "dual-boot" version of the OLPC machine, in which either Windows or Linux can be launched at start-up. If such a scheme were to materialize, Negroponte says, "I expect we will do a massive rollout in Egypt."
Its only too bad you'll be celebrating alone.
The children, constructionist educators, and the entire FOSS community that brought you to this point, will not be cheering. In fact, I date this week as the beginning of the end for Open Source support of the OLPC organization. It sure marks the end for me.
Walter, you want a blog?