I am Gaurav Chachra, founder member of OLPC India Student Chapter. Well, I've demonstrated XO to a couple of engineering students in India. And one question is common: Can it run Windows XP?
We have been working on Windows since we first saw computers. Switching to a totally new system is a tough thing and not everybody can adapt. Why people demand XP to be available on XO? Because these people are used to Windows. And this has a major impact on acceptance of OLPC in various countries.
But whom are we targeting? Children. Children who are going to get technology in their hands for the first time . And that's where Sugar came in. A platform that works on the psychology of the learning process.
I gave my little cousin XO to play with. She was excited and took minutes to learn & enjoy it. And now, she doesn't think Windows XP is a good idea. But people need XP on OLPC. People who have been using Windows for years. People who also form the part of the government to decide on approving or rejecting OLPC. People who are not the target of OLPC.
But isn't acceptance the most important issue?
Yes, Egypt thinks XO should run Windows. It thinks so because government officials are habitual to it. But the children of Egypt are not. If they don't accept it today, tomorrow definitely they will when OLPC will prove by the great experience of countries who have accepted it today.
Why is OLPC in hurry? OLPC is a movement; a transformation process for developing world. As it grows, nations will feel its need. Then why is OLPC is looking for short term goals instead of the great vision with which it initiated.
Shouldn't Open Source be just a means to reach the children and not center of OLPC's working? I never fail to repeatedly state in my presentations, "It's an education project, not a laptop project." - Nicholas Negroponte. Nicholas said this. And we repeat this with pride.
This is the pride of being a part of this social mission where providing education is the primary goal. Education is freedom; and that is what open source is. Freedom. That's the reason open source community full heartedly supports OLPC. A proprietary software snatches the freedom, then how are we advocating education? By the new vision, OLPC is much more a laptop project. Now I tend to lose the pride.
I know OLPC will get worldwide acceptance if it sticks to its original vision. Our organization, OLPC India Student Chapter is constantly working to make Indian government realize the importance of OLPC. It will definitely be a slow but rewarding process.
I'm still optimistic that OLPC will get back to the original mission for which I, and a huge lot of enthusiasts were passionate about.