The official OLPC blog so innocently says that One Laptop Per Child is "Refocusing our mission" with an email from Nicholas Negroponte that clearly shows that the OLPC organization is really being gutted.
Here's the email highlights and my translations:
- 50% cut in staff & pay cuts for the remaining staff (Ouch! Who's left then? And can they turn off the lights.)
- A shift to Middle East, Afghanistan and Northwestern Pakistan (Hello donor funding paid to OLPC, not Quanta!)
- Sugar to be spun off (Walter, you want it, take it. We've got Microsoft now.)
- Latin America & Africa to be spun off (You're not buying more laptops, so goodbye.)
- $0 Laptop for LDC's (we'll give stuff away if you donate it to us first!)
Negroponte tried to offer up good news, but I call it a brave face by the captain of a sinking ship. The goal of developing an XO-2? Never going to happen as the XO-1 took two years and Mary Lou Jepsen, who left the building last year. No-cost connectivity? Hahahaha! Now Negroponte's goal of a million digital books could happen - mainly because others like the Gutenberg Project and Google are close to that goal already.
But there is a goal that is glaring in its omission. As ChristophD points out, the word "education" isn't used by Negroponte in the announcement, not even when it comes to describing OLPC's mission:
"...we remain firmly committed to our mission of getting laptops to children in developing countries"
For those intersested, here's Negroponte's full email. Read and weep the end of OLPC as we know it.