Give One Get One

September 24, 2007

I’m glad to see that the OLPC project finally gave in on this. The press coverage has entirely missed the point, though, and it doesn’t look like Negroponte is doing anything to clear up the misunderstandings. So here is my official summary for all you press-release-regurgitating tech and business “reporters”:

  1. This is not something OLPC all of a sudden thought up as a solution to their demand problems. It’s something that an entire community has been clamoring for for several years. Whenever the OLPC project solicited feedback of any kind, this was, without fail, the most common and popular suggestion.
  2. The OLPC people never said that they would refuse to sell it in America or the rest of the developed world. Negroponte was always very specific about this point. The market they refused to sell to was that of individuals: whether in the developing or developed world. They insisted they would only distribute this product through government departments of education. Their goal was not to provide an affordable and commercially viable technology solution for underprivileged regions. Their goal was ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD.

The question, now I suppose is how exactly the donated machines are going to be distributed. Will countries sign up for an eligibility list, or will donated machines be tied to number of purchased machines?
I got to see one of the XO machines last winter, and I played with the LiveCD of the Sugar interface. It is pretty neat. I’m surprised so little of the mainstream press has had anything at all to say about the innovations in either software or hardware aside from the hand crank. But I guess that’s the way the press release gets regurgitated.
One Laptop Per Child — XO Giving


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