XO Laptop Give One Get One 2008 Buying Guide by OLPC News


Thanks to the OLPC News Forum, we now have the XO laptop G1G1 2008 Buyers Guide for Amazon shoppers from American and Europe to help direct donors and parents to their best way to participate in One Laptop Per Child.


  • Loving Parents: the XO laptop is a Leapfrog on steroids, the best way to excite your child to learn and explore.
  • Computer Geeks: this is your chance to show how Linux can change the world.
  • General Consumers:: depending on your expectations, this may or may not be the best Christmas gift of 2008

The XO Laptop is Perfect For:

  • Loving parents of young, primary school-aged children
Oh my! How the XO laptop can captivate your child's attention and have them learning and exploring all manner of subjects, without them even noticing - its amazing. All the field reports and even USA parents agree that for a young child, say kindergarten through 5th grade, the XO laptop will have them:
  1. Learning language and spelling with XO Speak
  2. Learning logic, math, and object manipulation with Squeak
  3. Just having a good time with the camera and video
Children will have even more fun if there are other XO users nearby, be they other children with XO's or a parent (or two) with their own XO's. The XO laptop is designed to be used with other XO's and the mesh network it forms also teaches children collaboration and sharing.
  • Computer geeks excited about a game-changing Linux platform
For the FOSS crowd, the XO laptop is glorious. With an almost 100% Open Source computer, OLPC has created the best showcase for Linux to break out to widespread adoption in the education sector. As an open machine, the XO laptop can also run multiple operating systems and software, from Ubuntu to Drupal. And with help from the OLPC News Forum, you can:
  1. Meet up to mesh across the globe with other XO users
  2. Run XO Chat on the iPhone to wow friends
  3. Develop assistive technology for those challenged by sight, movement, or mentality.
Of course, you'll also be turning heads at coffee shops, airports, and conferences with the coolest hardware ever.
  • General consumers who want to experiment with computer technology
If you want to explore computer technology, and are wiling to learn a bit of python and are brave enough to use the command line, then you'll find the XO laptop a resilient platform for experimentation. The Linux operating system has a python-based user interface, Sugar, which those in the know tell me is quite malleable and forgiving. Best of all, if you really mess up on the software side, you can just reboot Sugar off a flash drive and start afresh. I can personally attest to the hardy physical form factor with these videos:
  1. OLPC Keyboard Water Resistance Testing
  2. OLPC Help: XO Laptop Keyboard Repair
  3. Children Repairing OLPC XO Technology
The XO laptop is the only computer that I would even think about putting underwater and at the same time, the only one I have a hope of repairing after I did. And drunk, no less.

The Disappointed XO Laptop Buyers:

  • General consumers looking for a "$100 laptop" - a cheap business laptop - that can replace a Macbook for daily use
The XO laptop does have clock-stopping hot hardware that seems ot be great for adult computer users. From the dual-mode screen, to the mesh networking and instant suspend & resume, OLPC has created a set of functionality that has business slaptop makers changing their product plans. Yet be aware that the XO needs changes to do business tasks:
  1. It does not print - you need a serious hack to add printer drivers
  2. It does not use standard file types - you will need to hack to share files
  3. There is no direct product support - you will need to make your own hacks
That said there is a vibrant adult XO user community that can help you through these steps. Just be sure you really want to deal with the DIY requirements.

In fact, if you want a cheap business laptop, may I suggest the ASUS Eee PC 1000H.

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Pretty good guide, til the end. You started out talking about consumer expecations, then somehow slipped over to business tasks, which, of course, are often quite different. Lots of consumers will find the XO's unique set of characteristics to be just great, and better than any other laptop for important uses.


I do expect many to love the XO. Yet I want to be clear to those who many have the expectation that the XO is a "$100 laptop" that its not going to be their dream machine. Too many people G1G1'ed in 2007 thinking the XO is a Macbook, only to gripe about how they cannot do business-type tasks.