Will Tinymail Email Message One Laptop Per Child?

   
   
   
   
   

Let's say you coded a development framework for accessing e-mail services on mobile devices with few memory resources. You even named it after your cute girlfriend so you could work long hours at it without any complaints. And now you want the application included on the Children's Machine XO.

Just how might you convince One Laptop Per Child developers to accept your project?

Well Philip Van Hoof has launched an interesting crusade to include Tinymail, pronounced "tinnie-mail" after his girlfriend Tinne, on the OLPC XO.

He first started with a OLPC Wiki entry where he received a polite rebuff:

The concept of having an application that allows one to manage their received messages archive does make sense, but it needs to be better integrated with the OLPC concepts of networking which means a mesh network, built-in instant messaging and no servers.
Not to be deterred, Philip took a different path to impress his girlfriend promote Tinymail on the Children's Machine XO. With help from his little brother, he made a video explaining why Tinymail e-mail functionality should be on the One Laptop Per Child computer, demoing Tinymail on an actual OLPC XO-1:
Will Philip be successful with either Tinymail, One Laptop Per Child, or his girlfriend? Tune into Phenomena in the days of Philip to find out!

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4 Comments

I have to say, and I find this very concerning, it seems that there is an extremely strong element of NIH ("not invented here"" present in the OLPC culture.

This is disappointing and counter-productive. When you look at the overall goals that the project espouses, contribution from the community, innovation from end users, is key to the sucessful and also educational and community centric.

It strikes me as highly odd and hypocritical that any attempt to offer a suggestion that in any way deviates from the stated approach, is met with a rebuff.

On the software front especially, this isn't going to work. I can only hope they don't "lock" the machines in some way that prevents people from innovating on the software front for it. That would severely stunt the machines potential.

-Jeff

I dont recall seeing an email client on the OLPC laptop.
How could they forget the killer app of all time!

TinyMail seems to be the perfect small footprint application on the laptop that would be welcomed with open arms. Is it open source? It seems so.

So what about the 'no server' attitude of the OLPC and 'better integrated with the OLPC concepts'?
Seems like a cop out to me. Maybe just an excuse to exclude this application from the laptop. Maybe Philip himself is not part of 'the club' or someone believes him not worthy or not capable of working with a dev team.

My only concern is one of practical usage. Exposing children to the minefield that is email is a scary concept. Giving children the ability to send what may be just more spam is even scarier.

TinyMail does email. Plain and simple. And it is a plain and simple application that may benefit from a UI adjustment to look more like the OLPC desktop.

I've put TinyMail on my list of must install apps.

Jeff wrote:
> I have to say, and I find this very concerning, it seems that there is an extremely strong element of NIH ("not invented here"" present in the OLPC culture.

Robert wrote:
> Maybe Philip himself is not part of 'the club' or someone believes him not worthy or not capable of working with a dev team.


I don't understand the reason for these feelings at all -- you'll note that Philip was demoing Tinymail *on an XO device*, which means that OLPC sent him a laptop thinking that he might come up with something useful for it.

> I can only hope they don't "lock" the machines in some way that prevents people from innovating on the software front for it.

This is completely opposed to OLPC's stated goals. It wouldn't be much use to have a "view source" key if you couldn't go ahead and edit the source..

Chris, I'm glad to hear there isn't a 'club' and that Philip will get a fair hearing with his email client.

After reading the comments on the OLPC Wiki regarding TinyMail it seems possible to slim it down enough to fit in with the OS environment. It also seems that a Peer to Peer email transport layer would be simple to add on to TinyMail. This method of email forwarding allows anyone running the email client to store-and-forward to the intended receiver.

In the world of the closed network 'XO user community' the email address would be based on the users login name. A group of thirty students at a school for instance would only have access to 'Instant Messaging' when connected via the mesh. Once leaving school or the usable mesh area the email client comes into its own allowing students to store-and-forward emails that get sent out once they are again in the mesh coverage area.

As email is the Number One Application in the World today it seems crazy to exclude younger people from the rest of the World. I also note that there is no reason why it cant be installed 'post delivery' to users.

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