My XO For All Oddessey with OLPC - Part 3


I am Gabriel Morales of XO For All and this is the final installment of my story around One Laptop Per Child.

Letting Go

I admit it was at the point of Windows XP on the XO that I finally started letting go of my emotional attachment and great hopes for OLPC. It had been too much. And throughout it all we had Negroponte saying and doing exactly the wrong things, and core people expressing doubt and dissatisfaction and leaving the project. I feel that OLPC is not the grand project it was sold to me as. Every project, especially one this ambitious has its growing pains. This is to be expected. But when it starts to violate its own founding principles, something is awry.

As such, I lost the fervent interest I once had in OLPC and the XO laptop. I never actually got to have one, believe it or not. Woz is a fan, even if he wasn't entirely successful in making it his primary PC. But that possibility is becoming more and more a reality for many people via netbooks. I plan on getting one sometime next year, if all goes well. I expect to run Sugar on it.

Still the best educational netbook

At least that's a sure contribution OLPC has made. I don't think we'd be seeing the kind of emerging netbook market out there if the XO hadn't sparked interest in this class of devices which Intel ridiculed as a "toy", but then went on to create it's own version and become the largest seller of netbook CPUs.

OLPC has certainly shaken things up, and I expect it will continue to do so. I just think it's lost focus of its mission, or maybe it never did figure out how exactly to do that. Maybe a new XO laptop or a change in OLPC administration will recapture my passion again. We'll see.

For now, I wish them the best of luck, and I hope they really do manage to do good, in whatever form, wherever it may be. The world needs as much good as it can get right now. I just wish it had been more focused this time.

Not All Lost

As such, I experienced an unexpected excitement followed by some sadness when I spotted a huge billboard advertising the XO Give 1 Get 1 program while cruising through the city. It reminded me of all it could be, yet sadly, was not. But it also reminded me that in spite of OLPC's blunders, there are many bright, good people outside the project as well, working to do good with what has come of it.

There are now several groups bringing the XO laptops to U.S. classrooms, and Sugar Labs has put out an excellent portable version of "Sugar on a Stick- Strawberry". Moreover, Wayan Vota's OLPC News has become an excellent community resource for those who not only wish to follow the official project, but follow and organize innovative XO-related projects outside OLPC.

So while I stopped updating, it is in part because it's objectives have been met. And though I have frankly lost faith in Negroponte's ability to steer OLPC in the right direction, much good has already indirectly come from the project, and new people continue to do good things for education and technology thanks to the movement OLPC began.

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1 Comment

Gabriel: Thank you for your article. I find myself feeling similarly.