OLPC + OSX and Subsidized in Latin America?!

   
   
   
   
   

In an unsurprising move, Intel has now committed to go toe-to-toe with One Laptop One Child's production schedule. Reuters is reporting that:

Intel Vice President John Davies said in an interview that his company has no immediate plan to crank up production. But he said that could change if Negroponte's effort shows strong demand for such devices.

"It's going to be driven by the market -- at the rate at which the market can afford and wants to absorb it," said Intel Vice President John Davies. "We can speed this program up -- probably faster than the market can absorb it."

olpc osx apple
But buried in the article are two interesting teases. First, could this comment be the start of an XO operating system from Apple?
Negroponte said in the interview the foundation is "open to" running Apple Inc.'s OS X Macintosh operating system on the XO laptop. An Apple spokesperson declined comment on its plans for the device.
OLPC has stated that it's emphatically open platform - open to any operating system, even Windows, replacing its Sugar/Linux combo if a participating country wants to make the switch. And I don't know about you, but if I had to choose, I'd take Apple's OSX over Microsoft's Windows XP/Vista any day.

What is the most intriguing is a possible OLPC XO subsidy by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. He has already promised to match donations for educational projects in Mexico:

Slim, who owns a telecoms and retail empire and has a fortune estimated at over $US30 billion ($39 billion), will meet all contributions dollar for dollar, his spokesman and aide Arturo Elias Ayub said.

"We want to offer Mexican or foreign foundations that we will match any amount they invest in social work in Mexico," Elias Ayub told Reuters. It was unclear how much Slim's donations might ultimately total.

And now Nicholas Negroponte says Slim has recently agreed to support the project in Latin America. Now no one has said how much support Slim might give, but I'll bet you a Children's Machine that he might just offer a $75 subsidy per laptop.

Why? I'll let you do the math.

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12 Comments

The genius of the subsidized laptops is that the required subsidy decreases with the size of the order. The more produced, the cheaper they are, and quickly we will approach the sub-$100 OLPC.

The more subsidies up front, the more laptops produced, the cheaper they will become.

Intel's statement to match the "market demand" should better be read as to match the OLPC production number. If OLPC does not take off also Intel will stay low with their production. Because for Intel this is not an education project but a costly defense strategy against loosing their market leadership to OLPC in the 3rd world.

"OLPC has stated that it's emphatically Open Source - open to any operating system, even Windows..."

Wayan,

A strange usage of the term 'open source' here - yes, OLPC do use 'open source' software but that has nothing to do with them also being 'open' to running other operating systems on XO...

Delphi,

I use the term Open Source the same way they do - they designed an open platform - anyone can develop an operating system to work on it. Anyone including MSFT, Apple, Linux, BSD, etc..See J5's post for the background: http://www.j5live.com/?p=363

I can't see OS X running on the X0 machines... At least not the standard OS X. A specialized version of OS X could be a potential solution. However I also doubt that because from what I've been reading Apple is already having a hard time finding enough software people to work on both Leopard (next OS X version) and whole iPhone platform. And getting OS X to run decently on the X0 hardware would require quite an effort I believe.

"I use the term Open Source the same way they do - they designed an open platform..."

Wayan,

'open computer/platform' doesn't automatically imply 'open source' and vice versa and the blog you mention itself makes that distinction.
There seems to be a lot of confusion out there and pretty loose interpretation of otherwise well defined terms like 'open platform', 'open software' and 'free (ie GPLed) software'...

"Open Source" is different from "Open Platform". Having XO running either Windows or OSX will not make it open source. The RedHat team (including J5) is actually fairly clear about this. They are open source, but the XO is open hardware too, and together is an open platform. This means that any OS can go on the XO. However, from J5 blog:

"How many systems will allow you to hit the view source key and see exactly how the current activity works? Again you lose out if you run a proprietary system. Whether or not educators wants to allow for exploration and teaching children how to adapt to the ever changing world or just want to teach static skills is really up to them. I personally am not in the business of forcing people to use my products but rather developing the product for specific needs and letting the customer choose. I’m in the business of building better systems, period."

I don't see anywhere the words "Open Source" being placed on the XO as a whole, but only in the current Sugar. Anything else is simply not open source. So please let's use the words as for their true meaning.

Gentlemen, I stand corrected. I've also updated the post to say that OLPC is "emphatically open platform"

Woa woa woa. Short memory loss, everyone?

When was announced that maybe windows XP could run on the XO then the blog went up in arms for a whole week. Always citing how the lack of built in collaboration, ad hoc mesh networking, view source code and OS that invited anyone to hack or examine would destroy everything that was good about OLPC, ruin the future of children's education, make all investment a waste of money by the government and kill puppies while we are it.

And I even remember someone saying that it wasn't about being anti-MS but pro-Openess.

Now, OSX has those very same issues. All the PC x Mac discussion will not change the fact that OSX is a memory sucking, closed to the core, proprietary, costly (around $70), cathedral built, operating system. If we ignore that we will all prove that this OLPCnews community is made of another sack os MS-hating trolls.

Any company with billions of dollars in yearly R&D to spend, like Microsoft or Apple, can make a suitable version of their OS to work smoothly on the OLPC hardware, be it a slimmed down Windows XP or a slimmed down Apple OSX. The best way they would do it, is to make their proprietary OS fit on a 1GB SD card, and hopefully it's so easy to boot that you just need to insert the Windows XP or Apple OSX 1GB SD card in the slot before booting up the OLPC XO for it to boot from SD instead of built-in flash. Then it'd just be a matter of 10$ 1GB SD card with the Windows XP or Apple OSX light licences donated by Microsoft and Apple or sold to the poor children for a 3$ licence fee if they really want money. Thus you could also just have a few of such SD cards in each school so children can also see how the more worldwide popular OSes look like and how it feels to use a normal PC or Mac computer. Thus also part of their learning experience with the OLPC.

About Carlos Slim Helú, he's the second richest man in the world, and soon he will be overtaking Bill Gates. Carlos Slim is the boss of the Latin America Development Fund, which OLPC have been in discussion with for some time. You can also see a video at http://olpc.tv/2006/07/25/nicholas-negroponte-speaks-at-the-lecture-series-of-the-americas/

The idea with the Latin America Development Fund is that they would be buying 1 million XO-1 laptops and distribute those to 4 countries, I think it might be Uruguay, Perú and a couple of other Latin American countries which don't want to buy 1 million laptops from the beginning but for whome 250 thousand will be enough. I think Brazil and Argentina are supposed to buy a million each, so it's 4 other countries who would be sharing 1 million pieces at launch.

If on top of that Carlos Slim Helú will like to give some of his 53 billion dollar fortune, be it just 1 billion dollars of his fortune, 2% of it, it would be enough for 10 million laptops.

OSX on OLPC was an early offer of Apple. So Apple thought it would be possible.

Free Mac OS X spurned by $100 laptop creators
http://hardware.silicon.com/desktops/0,39024645,39154227,00.htm

Winter

Boy, things are really heating up.

Classmate + Windows versus oplc = World's Richest Man (BG) versus World's Third Richest Man?

And let us not forget, for the 500 million children who live in areas without electricity, Classmate is no competion whatsoever.

(yeah, I finally decided to use my whole name)

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