The other day I thought wouldn't it be amazing if XO users all over the World could communicate with each other? As orders are taken through the Give One - Get One program and people contemplate XO user groups, promotional gifts and just plain having fun with their XO I asked myself how will users be able to take advantage of the collaborative aspects of the XO software activities?
If I sit at home looking at my XO neighborhood screen how many other users can I see? Obviously none if no one is within wireless mesh range. How then should I be able to collaborate with others? What if I could be in range of other users around the World? Surely the World Wide Web can help out here?
So I thought: Why not build a webserver application that can connect XO users?
Suddenly my XO neighborhood screen will fill up with other XO users that are using the very same webserver to connect us all together. I have yet to work out the details for the server but I can see it working much like the OLPC School Server does with wireless access points.
As always, a great incentive is getting a website started and promoting the concept of a world wide mesh. To that end I've purchased the domain name xouser.com/.net/.org and started to look at what I'll need to put it all together.
The purpose of the website will be little more than a registration site for XO users to obtain a small client program and access to the mesh. Once registered, their XO will treat the server like a meeting point where the XO neighbourhood is populated by other users around the World. You will be able to see what other users and groups are collaborating on and start collaborating with other users.
The concept of client-server based systems has been around for a long time. Most of the Instant Message applications like the classic ICQ of the late 90s, MSN Messenger, Yahoo and many other all rely on a server somewhere to act as a central log in point to find others and talk to them. Many Linux users use Gaim (now known as Pidgin) that lets people access servers for many different IM programs and protocols.
The G1-G1 program was a great way for the OLPC to get money to pay Quanta for the first production batch of laptops. It was also a great way to get funding for distributing laptops to less fortunate students in other countries.
Unfortunately, by providing laptops to those that donate, the isolated laptop user misses out on the real advantages of a mesh connected, activity collaborating machine.
I hope that XOUser.com manages to alleviate the problem and brings XO Users around the World together.