Would You G1G1 Again for Another XO Laptop?


It seems that One Laptop Per Child is going to ramp up the Give One Get One program again this fall, Nicholas Negroponte mentioned an August or September start date. But I have a serious question to ask of the olpc community:

olpc shipping
Is G1G1 worth it, again?
Would you G1G1 again after all the headaches of the original G1G1 program?
First, there was the massive delivery debacle, where we learned the 12 ways laptop XO delivery failed. If it wasn't bad enough that Patriot, Brightstar, and FedEx couldn't ship straight, OLPC's attitude of denial added insult to injury.

Then there was the XO itself. Yes, the XO is cool, but do you think it was a finished product? Especially when you had to download so much extra software, hack at the command line to accomplish simple tasks, and scream in frustration if you were trying to connect to WEP-enabled Wifi.
Last but not least, what about the Give One laptop? That was the real reason to participate in G1G1, right? To empower a child's education in the developing world with an XO laptop. Well, where are those 100,000 XO laptops now?

The last I checked, there were 10,000 XO's in Mongolia, but only 1,000 in schools. Word has it that 9,000 are still sitting in a warehouse waiting for deployment. While OLPC Haiti was announced with much fanfare, where's the in-country action? Anyone hear of OLPC Afghanistan deployments yet?

Oh and before you get all excited about the XO-2, or even the XO-1.5, Christoph has a little reality check for you:

With G1G1-2 starting in August/September (according to all sources), the XO-1.5 not becoming available before spring 2009 (according to all sources), the XO-2 not becoming available before 2010 (according to all sources) and hardware changes, especially when it comes to a laptop and the upgrade potentially needed to make the XO "Vista capable", being non-trivial and taking some time (no matter what Negroponte might want) it's a pretty safe bet to assume that the G1G1-2 will be based on the current XO-1 hardware.
So again, would you G1G1-2? And if not, what should OLPC do to win back your trust and support?

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I'm a happy G1G1 customer. For all those listed issues, all it took was patience. I'm running a really recent -faster software build, and I'm starting to be impressed with sugar's performance. Another G1G1 isn't for us, it's for all the people that missed out and have witnessed the nifty things we've been doing with the xo-1 :P

If I decide to get another XO; I'll probably just eBay it. If OLPC wants me to go through their G1G1 program again; I want precise scheduling and tracking of when my laptop arrives, and a reasonable timeframe to boot -- I waited four months from payment to getting it.

If I needed another XO, I would participate in G1G1 again.

I agree, patience was indeed required during my ~5 month wait to get my G1G1 laptop delivered. Since then I have thoroughly enjoyed using my XO, hacking/installing programns via the terminal and reading the olpcnews forums, of course!

I think the G1G1 program should be extended for longer periods and opened up to countries other than the US/Canada.

Not me!

I gave a NON tax deductable donation above the price of the current machine. I am not ready to get a 2nd laptop financially nor do I expect to have the time to learn how to work a new one when I still am trying to do that with the present one.

I would and hopefully will. I view the program like this... We were given the opportunity to be part of something great and help others who are less fortunate.

I think OLPC should be cut some slack. I wasn't upset when my laptop came months late. Big deal!

That said, the only thing I'd say negatively about it is I do not think it was completed product. I want my stylus writing area to work.

I personally have enough XOs, but if I end up needing one more for development purposes by September, I'll buy in. For the average consumer, the attractiveness of the XO as a cheap personal laptop has evaporated due to the new market for "netbooks" OLPC has created. Witness the success of the ASUS EeepC series, the arrival of the Intel 2GoPc and many others on the way. If G1G1 delivered about 80,000 laptops, I wonder if they'll even hit 40,000 this round.

For the altruistic folks who are in it for the mission, the backlog in deployment is a huge concern. I want my donation to have a minimum "time to impact." There's a real chance that much of the money collected for G1G1-2 won't see impact in the field before it's time for a G1G1-3.

Something OLPC can do? How about posting a fundraising and deployment progress dashboard front and center on the laptop.org web site (NOT the wiki)?

If I needed another XO, or if I had missed out on the first G1G1, I would jump at the chance to get in on the second G1G1. I will, however, make recommendations to any of my friends who might be interested in getting their hands on a highly portable laptop to try my XO out and if they like it, to participate in the next round of G1G1.

HOWEVER... if XO 1.5 or XO 2.0 were the devices being offered, because one of my goals in obtaining an XO was to research (and augment, as needed) their uses as assistive technology, then I WOULD be interested in getting hold of one.

I'm tempted. Actually *really* tempted. To the point where I might even consider getting TWO in the next G1G1 program. And I had to RMA my G1G1D1 XO-1 and field-repair the replacement because of keyboard issues. No, I'm not insane (nor insanely rich). But yes, I do believe in the OLPC program (still) and I never did expect a "cheap Windows-capable laptop". (Though I'd still like to see Update.1 happen Real Soon Now.)

Here's why: First, I'd like to have a second XO so I can test the share features. Second, I'd like to have a second XO simply as backup. Third, with another XO, I'd be able to try bleeding-edge stuff like trial builds and alternate Linux systems without worrying about bricking the machine I use for code development.

I think I would probably eBay it, too, if I needed another. The whole program is just too up in the air at the moment. If they really got their act together, stabilized personnel, did a lot of successful deployments (and had detailed follow-up reports on those), then I would consider G1G1 2009.

No, I wouldn't do it again. I wouldn't do it the first time.

When I participated before, it was to to support the community and the project as much as it was for the laptop. My machine was very late (March 31), but I don't have a problem with that: when I donated I accepted that this is a charity, not a consumer-oriented business.

What I do have a problem with is Negroponte's apparent betrayal of the open source community. My initial reaction to OLPC was that it was grandstanding with little chance of helping those it claimed to care about. Eben Moglen's arguments for free textbooks and consolidating the gains of free software (Google "mogen olpc plone") convinced me otherwise. I donated as a member of a community. If OLPC walks away from that community, I have no interest in dealing with them.

I'd consider it, but I probably wouldn't.

I trust that the OLPC foundation will have their act in order for a second G1G1 program. Let's face it, it looks like they walked into the first G1G1 program blind. They should have enough experience under their belts now that database messups and communications issues will be cleared up. (If not, shame on them.)

As a Canadian, I don't care if I receive the tax receipt. It was a donation in kind to a kid in another nation. What I would like to see is some accounting for how many XOs ended up where, as a result of the G1G1 program. If they want people to feel really warm and fuzzy, they would show happy kids with XOs that are dirty and beaten up after a few months of use (i.e. something to tell us that they are using those laptops and loving them in the brutal way that only kids could).

But at the end of the day, it will really depend upon need. I love my XO. I use it for about half of my computing needs. I like the fact that it doesn't run Sugar anymore, because that means that it does indeed give me the freedom to tweak -- which is something that I hope that children in the developing world are doing. It is an excellent way to learn about the deep and dark corners of computers. But at the end of the day I can only use one. And yes, part of the reason why I gave such a large chunk of money to the OLPC foundation was because I was receiving the same opportunity that those kids will receive from my donation.

Also: definitely not if it came with Windows XP.


I will GIGI if it is organized and operated by an established company such as AMAZON

I still believe that the XO should be available to everyone and not only through these "charity" programs. Everyone should be able to buy it in Walmart or in any computer shop.
I am affraid most who participate in G1G1 would only like to get an XO not actually doing charity. For this, the ones on ebay are much better since the average XO price is at 300USD now.

1.The good part. Hats off to xo-1. It is easily the best portable hardware out there, no exceptions. Yes I like it. I have two.
2.The bad part. Sugar may someday get there. It is not ready for deployment. I take particular issue with the Python interface which will not work as the Python documentation says it will (due to changes to make it 'safe' for children). This is lying to children and I do not approve of lying to children. Python has a deserved reputation of 'it just works'. In sugar it just doesn't work. There are other problems besides.From the command line it takes 27 seconds to boot the sugar desktop while XFCE boots in under 10 seconds. 17 seconds for safety??
OLPC has no respect for donors as shown by their lack of effort on g1g1 deployment. They lied to us with the name. They had 85000 donors but have shipped only 30000 XOs. Where are the rest?
OLPC said they were interested in education. Microsoft is not about eductaion it is about a Microsoft agenda. Anybody who has tried to read Microsoft help knows it is 90% Microsoft agenda and 10% help.
I will want more XOs. I will gladly deal with E-bay first. Thank You.

I got mine after the fact via eBay. I was very tempted to jump in at G1G1, but had other needs at that time. If I didn't have one now, I'm not sure I'd get one through the next G1G1. The logistics, outside of the roll-of-the-dice nightmare that is package delivery companies like FedEx, were abysmal. I'm guessing/hoping that the production bugs that held up delivery before have been ironed out.

I think that most people outside of hardcore geeks know very little about the current state of OLPC, and would be willing to G1G1. But it would be nice to know where the donated machines end up going.

My experience for G1G1 was excellent. I ordered mine the 2nd day it was available, and my unit arrived 12/15/07. Yes, out-of-box experience was incomplete, but that was my expectation. I program for a living, so I didn't mind messing with the command line.

My concern now is that few of the G1G1 XOs made it into the hands of the children. For now, I will ignore the G1G1-2 program.

Since they've been talking about a Windows version, never again. Even if they decide against Window/Microsoft I'll never trust them again.

If they had stayed open source I would have kept contributing.

Why are you making me wait to post "a short time"? -- I've never posted. I tried preview then post, but the post failed because I didn't enter the "new letter".

Yes, absolutely I would G1G1 again. Giving computers to children is far more important than the politics...maybe the new Ubuntu Netbook Remix version this time?!?!?

I ordered my G1G1 31 Dec 07. I did not mind the 4 months waiting as I knew they did not expect such volume sales. I ordered it to see if it would help children. It proved to be a wonderful machine. I tried to order some to give to children and they refused to sell them to me. I will not give them another dime until OLPC allows people to purchase them to give to kids.

Do I like the Xo-yes! Would I order again! NO-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-


1. Circular emails-demeaning
2. When buying it for a classroom as part of a Lesson-the wait time and lack of correct information was hard to explain to a bunch of kids waiting to get it.
3. I would prefer that they just upped the price to 250.00 sold it retail through a company that can handle shipping so schools could buy a set of 30. That would be 1500 for the charity and my kids could use the product.
4. Finding out that the donated one are still not in the hands of kids-down right shameful!.
5. Still have no place to buy replacement batteries.

Whenever I show my XO, the response is immediate & positive. Many ask where they could also get such a device, and I mention that G1-G1 was a limited-time offer - with obvious disappointment as the response.

Well now. If XP was to replace the base o/s, I would hide my XO in shame.

Nicholas, you still need to think deeper to succeed in this game....

I forgot to mention some very impressive Windows XP skins/themes which run in Linux - one in particular is from South America, for example ...

You don't have to actually run Windows to look & function like it enough (without all the issues ;)

No way. I still haven't received mine. No chance I'm giving them any more money.

"the upgrade potentially needed to make the XO "Vista capable"

Where did cristoph came with this piece of information? I do not remember OLPC pledging allegiance for all future versions of windows. They accepted microsoft's xp, they never "became all things microsoft" as many believe

I would not do G1G1 again unless there is a new version of the XO with more computing power. There would be no point to having two of the XO-1.

I might donate money, but my concerns about whoever is in charge knowing what he/she is doing would need to be allayed. The vision seems to be losing focus.

For $300.


But I'm with 'A teacher' - $250 retail would net OLPC thousands and thousands of dollars.

I'm a satisfied customer of the first G1G1. My brother gave each of my two children an OLPC for Christmas. They didn't arrive until March, just in time for my oldest boy's birthday!

Also, they have lots of software problems, possibly some problems with the touchpad not responding well enough to my children's dirty fingers, and so on. But I love them and my children love them, and they are learning how to program using them.

I'm planning to buy one for myself at the next G1G1, and I'll certainly encourage other people to do likewise.

Me and my roomate got laptops last year. Actually, they arrived in March, which was pretty bad. To hear that there are undeployed laptops as of May, is terrible. I'd reconsider giving.

That being said, I know plenty of people who would consider giving and getting one this next holiday season. OLPC needs to get their act together though.

I would be very conflicted. I wish we had gotten 2 so we were able to chat in-house. But, I have no desire to support leaving the open source community.
To regain my trust, post with the offer a map of the deployment of the previous batch to show you're ready to add more. Please color code for those which were converted to Windows machines, that's relevant and educational. Seeing their counterparts playing and building too is the main lesson for our kids. A way to correspond with those kids would finish the deal and I might overlook the sell outs often necessary in global politics.

I originally supported OLPC because I believed in the vision and roadmap described; in particular, the education focus and use of an OSS operating system. With the recent realignment of Sugar, embrace of Windows, and OLPC's backing away from an education focused mission statement, OLPC has gone from being visionary to being the weakest horse in the laptop manufacturing game.

In my opinion, the delivered product has great potential that a lack of software polish is failing to deliver on. It would be better for OLPC to continue a push to finish a feature-complete Linux Sugar. I fear that the resent about-face and talks of the OLPC 2 will continue to mire this project.

I second Frank's comment on using Amazon for distribution, but will be putting my donations from now on into the upcoming Ubuntu netbook distro (https://launchpad.net/netbook-remix), as Mark Shuttleworth has a better record of delivering than Nicholas Negroponte. Hopefully the Sugar project can build on top of that.

Yes, for several reasons: to provide another laptop to charity, to use as spare parts for my original G1G1 computer, and while both are still functioning, to become familiar with the mesh networking.

It’s funny but reading through would appear that the major complain is that the one laptop per CHILD does not satisfy the need of the unix/linux savvy needing an ultra portable, cheep, distinct laptop! Or that the “donation” part is not implemented at a satisfactory level or … but nothing about the child and the olpc. So here is my small experience with it.
I received one (after 4-month wait) for my 9 year old. After the initial excitement the interest disappeared. Then I installed flash/opera/second language/correct timezone/connection to the home network etc and I showed him the basics for the ativities (as much I could figure them out shoveling through wikis, FAQs and the forums, in another computer) and then I watched him using it to some extend and then the use gradually diminished again. Why, programs are not intuitive for kids and most miss tutorials and help to guide a kid through. ONE laptop is not much fun either, since it can only really communicate with other XOs and not general IM/chat communities. Games-wise, most can be found for other platforms too or the web and are thus accessible from the home/school computer. So there is not much fun for 1 kid with 1 XO in the current implementation.
I could probably recommend it for a school class, assuming a computer savvy and willing teacher, but for G1G1? NO, if intended for a kid. If you are willing to invest the required time tutoring the kid however, so eventually can have fun and learn on his/her own, you may want to give it a try. Currently the G1G1 program is more for the parents/guardians than the kids. So if you are an adult, you are old enough to make your own mind about the laptop of your choice.

I think that a "give 0.5 get 1" that only costs $300 would be a much better idea. For all its faults, it is still a decent little Web browsing machine and it's the only computer that my wife will let me keep in our bedroom. I tried brining a larger notebook in but said that I did too much work on it. I love Linux and I run it on several computers in my office, but I would really like to run XP on this machine. I am hoping that it will be available sometime soon for existing XO users in the US. As good as the Web browsing experience is on the XO, it sucks compared to the lamest Windows XP notebook.

Start with a piece of overhyped garbage. Add in some, not all, self important egos. A dash of horrendous customer service. Mix in some false historical data about "succeses". What have you got OLPC.

Talk about preying on the first world's guilt about the third.

Nope. Too much disappointment around the first one.

I don't think I would participate, just because of the changing nature of OLPC from an education project to a laptop project. When I first participated, I liked the dual purpose of donating to a cause I believed in and getting a nifty tool.

What I would do though is donate to Walter Bender's Sugar Labs. Sure, they won't give me a toy, but they do manage to evoke the same feelings of progress and excitement that OLPC once did.

I wish they would tell me how to send them money though. The wiki page isn't too helpful (http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/SugarLabs:Site_support) :-(

The only way I would participate again is if the device being shipped actually performs out-of-the-box as promised. In the days leading up to the start of the original G1G1 program, the OLPC wiki stated the "ideal"... it mixed working functionality with planned implementation in such a way that it was difficult to determine which was which.

The community's Linux zealotry Anti-microsoft bigotry is a big turn-off that would be a big factor in that decision as well. The attitudes are reminiscent of elementary school yard interactions. I get enough of that in other areas of my hobby and career.

I was seriously considering participating in G1G1 the first time around, but I wanted my laptop to be something that was actually useful to me, and I was skeptical that I would like Sugar (and I didn't want to mess around with the shell.)

Now that I see how badly executed the first program was, and how OLPC seems to be driving away top talent and has no deployment plan or personnel--as happy as I would be to buy an XO for a third-world child, I no longer trust OLPC to keep their promises or deploy the laptops competently.

The laptop should have an "adult" version with an ordinary user interface. They should sell it in WalMarts with a boldly emphasized 10-25% markup that goes to the charity. They should offer a short warranty period (90 days?). It seems to me that a large direct-to-consumer commercial deployment should allow OLPC to achieve the volume sales that are needed to reduce the per-unit cost to something third world governments can better afford, and it would provide revenue they need to hire more full-time engineers to refine the software.

I will wait for XO-1.5 or XO-2. With the kind of time I can afford, the current XO is enough to keep me busy (my introduction to Linux). I may just participate in giving two (aka G2G0).

The machine is clunky, especially the keyboard and track pad.
The software is clunky, even the GUI, but especially the need for command-line inputs.
Basic popular plugins are unavailable.
Negroponte has made a circus out of the OLPC program.
Constructionism/constructivism is an essentially meaningless buzzword for yet another unnecessary "philosophy" of education, and the pretense that such a thing can be implemented as software is nonsense.
Children do not need computers at all; they need good textbooks, teachers, parental discipline, and self-discipline.

I plan to participate if I can afford it. I would like to get 2 so I can play with the mesh networking and so that when I do share them with my younger siblings there are activities they can do together. I would like to take some time to discover their capabilities and come up with ways/programs for them to be useful.

$800 is a lot of money though.

I think another G1G1 would be great. I ordered the first day and got mine in reasonable time. Of course waiting is torture but, seriously, we need to understand this is a non-profit charity organization not dell computer. They're new at distribution at that. They normally ship a large quantity of computers to a single destination like a school. The logistics are not nearly as complected.

Yes! In Europe this time, please!!!

Yes, but if they give the OS choices. Then I'll pick XP.

sadly I don't think so.
When I first read the post I thought that the fact that sugar still isn't bug free would be the reason I'd not do it again.
I'd like to see windows on the thing because even though it's not open source. At least the learning curve is small. (Re: hole in the wall experiment).

After reading that less then half the g1g1's have gone to kids... That can't be true. How the heck can that be true? How can OLPC look doners in the eye and call it g1g1? I feel very violated. Like giving cash to a guy on the street and then seeing him buy cigarettes or booze.

All open source arguments go out the window if they're pocketing my donation.


@ george
" but nothing about the child and the olpc." i dont know what you're talking about. many people on this are complaining that many of the children who were supposed to get their laptops never did...and because of that, refuse to get another one.

i dunno actually

on the one hand, i would wanna get one if they did some upgrades which i wanted

on the other hand...i had no idea that less than half of the g1g1 xos got out there...i wanna know what happeend to the other half of the money!

call me an @$$hole, or call me human, but i wouldnt have done this program if i didnt get an xo, and i would have just gone to the store and gotten one if it saved me a few bucks. i'm with the people above. sell this thing in stores for 250. your sure to sell a hell of a lot more than 80k.

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