Mark Shuttleworth and I Agree on OLPC

   
   
   
   
   
olpc shuttleworth
Mark "Ubuntu" Shuttleworth

Reading derStandard.at's interview with Mark Shuttleworth, of Shuttleworth Foundation and Ubuntu fame, I found myself nodding in agreement as I read his take on the One Laptop Per Child program:

At this stage obviously everyone is waiting to see how it will pan out, my own sensing is, that it's already a triumphant success in terms of shaking up the industry and getting the industry to think about both new technologies and new markets.
If it were not for Nicholas Negroponte's marketing brilliance and global hype, we would not have educational computer competition including a Classmate PC, much less a debate over which laptop is better or Intel offering a Linux distro. That mindset change in itself is a wonderful accomplishment.

Next Mark brings out the real cost issue of the "$100 laptop" tagline:

But I fear that people may judge it harshly if they don't actually produce the laptop for a 100 Dollars and unfortunately it looks like that is unlikely at this stage.
Unlikely? More like fantasy. If we look at the Libyan MOU, OLPC XO's are $208. OLPC News estimations say it's the $1,000 laptop and One Laptop Per Child wants $30 Billion dollars per year no matter what the per-unit computer cost.

olpc ubuntu

Still, Mark did make me wonder with this comment:

I expect that some of the countries that will go down that road will choose Ubuntu and if they do that, we would help them to make Ubuntu work very well on that platform.
Hmm.. now why would Ministries of Education wipe off the Sugar UI for the Ubuntu Linux distro? Maybe because Ubuntu has great educational software like Edubuntu while Negroponte dismisses content?

No matter, I'd like to see how Sugar works out first. Brazilian kids like it so far, but either Linux OS is fine as long as Children's Machine XO's do not ship with Microsoft Unlimited Potential.

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4 Comments

Wayan said:
"Next Mark brings out the real cost issue of the "$100 laptop" tagline:

'But I fear that people may judge it harshly if they don't actually produce the laptop for a 100 Dollars and unfortunately it looks like that is unlikely at this stage.'

Unlikely? More like fantasy. If we look at the Libyan MOU, OLPC XO's are $208. OLPC News estimations say it's the $1,000 laptop and One Laptop Per Child wants $30 Billion dollars per year no matter what the per-unit computer cost."


The '$100 laptop' will cost $100 to produce some day. Probably less with projected production figures. The cost of 'deploying' 1 million laptops will not be $100 million dollars or even $208 million dollars.

Every time I see an image of a child using an XO I forget about the cost and imagine the benefits. The end justifies the means.

"Every time I see an image of a child using an XO I forget about the cost and imagine the benefits. The end justifies the means."

What end? If you are talking about improving kids' education, I can think of a lot of ways to spend the kind of money we're talking about. What precise, measurable benefits, that justify the expenditure and putting back a significant number of other investments by favoring the XO?

I admire the technological outcomes of the project, and I'm certain that there's a place for technology at the classroom. What I haven't seen yet is any clear and precise, measurable goals that may result of the implementation of the XO. As a taxpayer from a potential participant of this project, something besides the fascination of geeks, the steamrolling of politicians and the marketing muscle of Mr. Negroponte is needed to convince me that this makes sense at all.

Robert,

Only someone in a wealthy country that isn't spending Billions, a massive percentage of their national income, on an untested machine can "forget about the cost and imagine the benefits" of the OLPC XO.

Parents, citizens, the future indebted in poor countries, they cannot blindly trust that the "end justifies the means" if they are mortgaging their country's future on any single educational option.

What Eduardo forgot is the image of a child using a laptop! ;-)
Because, as we know, those images are always accurate portrayals of the full reality.
(Sorry, Robert. You probably won't read this and today's April Fool's.)

I know this is an old post but I only recently got the chance to try out an OLPC XO-1. Hadn't really thought about Ubuntu but, come to think of it, it would make a whole lot of sense. Not that Fedora isn't good, but Edubuntu was designed with learning in mind. If this really is an education project, why did they make no attempt to at least contribute to Edubuntu code?
I agree that Negroponte has been a successful marketer but I think he sold children short.

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  • Oh, come on Michael. Do you really think anything that was said on OLPC News would have had much …

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  • Hi!

    I bought 2 "Tablets OLPC." I had to return because the two did not work. O …

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

    Comment on The XO Tablet - A First Impression in 750 Words

  • Warning: Use of undefined constant title - assumed 'title' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h03/mnt/54379/domains/olpcnews.com/html/includes_c/sidebar.html on line 1473

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  • Dear sir
    I have one question to sir?

    -1 why XO Tablet children play OK but when h …

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  • Bonjour Mokifisi!
    Je suis bien d'accord avec vous. Je travaille depuis 4 ans dans un petit …

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  • You just follow the same route upstream how you got the 2XO Tablets? How did you get them? Bring …

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  • └ quelle adresse envoyer mes deux XOTablet qui ne fonctionnent pas?

    At what address to s …

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  • That's called "Death on arrivals". They happen. That's why there's always some additio …

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  • What is a shelf XO? If you tell me what did you buy and from whom, perhaps I will have a suggest …

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  • Voici mon message en franšais...

    Bonjour,
    Je viens d'acheter 2 tablettes XO. Les d …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • I just bought 2 shelves XO. Both tablets are not working. One does not start and the other touch …

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  • OLPC is not death; eg. this One Laptop per Child San Francisco (OLPC-SF) June 21, 2014 Meeting a …

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