Novel software drives '$100 laptop'

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Novel software drives '$100 laptop'

文章 #1  未閱讀文章PoP » 2007-01-04 12:48


CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (AP) -- Forget windows, folders and boxes that pop up with text. When students in Thailand, Libya and other developing countries get their $150 computers from the One Laptop Per Child project in 2007, their experience will be unlike anything on standard PCs.

For most of these children the XO machine, as it's called, likely will be the first computer they've ever used. Because the students have no expectations for what PCs should be like, the laptop's creators started from scratch in designing a user interface they figured would be intuitive for children.

The result is as unusual as -- but possibly even riskier than -- other much-debated aspects of the machine, such as its economics and distinctive hand-pulled mechanism for charging its battery. (XO has been known as the $100 laptop because of the ultra-low cost its creators eventually hope to achieve through mass production.)

For example, students who turn on the small green-and-white computers will be greeted by a basic home screen with a stick-figure icon at the center, surrounded by a white ring. The entire desktop has a black frame with more icons.

This runic setup signifies the student at the middle. The ring contains programs the student is running, which can be launched by clicking the appropriate icon in the black frame.

When the student opts to view the entire "neighborhood" -- the XO's preferred term instead of "desktop" -- other stick figures in different colors might appear on the screen. Those indicate schoolmates who are nearby, as detected by the computers' built-in wireless networking capability.

Moving the PC's cursor over the classmates' icons will pull up their names or photos. With further clicks the students can chat with each other or collaborate on things -- an art project, say, or a music program on the computer, which has built-in speakers.

The design partly reflects a clever attempt to get the most from the machine's limited horsepower. To keep costs and power demands low, XO uses a slim version of the Linux operating system, a 366-megahertz processor from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and no hard disk drive. Instead it has 512 megabytes of flash memory, plus USB 2.0 ports where more storage could be attached.

But the main design motive was the project's goal of stimulating education better than previous computer endeavors have. Nicholas Negroponte, who launched the project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab two years ago before spinning One Laptop into a separate nonprofit, said he deliberately wanted to avoid giving children computers they might someday use in an office.

"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint," Negroponte wrote in an e-mail interview. "I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing, not running office automation tools."

To that end, folders are not the organizing metaphor on these machines, unlike most computers since Apple Computer Inc. launched the first Mac in 1984. The knock on folders is that they force users to remember where they stored their information rather than what they used it for.

Instead, the XO machines are organized around a "journal," an automatically generated log of everything the user has done on the laptop. Students can review their journals to see their work and retrieve files created or altered in those sessions.

Despite these school-focused frameworks, its creators bristle at any suggestion XO is a mere toy. A wide range of programs can run on it, including a Web browser, a word processor and an RSS reader -- the software that delivers blog updates to information junkies.

The computer also has features anyone would love, notably a built-in camera and a color display that converts to monochrome so it's easier to see in sunlight.

"I have to laugh when people refer to XO as a weak or crippled machine and how kids should get a 'real' one," Negroponte wrote. "Trust me, I will give up my real one very soon and use only XO. It will be far better, in many new and important ways."

Although the end result is new, the lead software integrator, Chris Blizzard of Red Hat Inc., said 90 percent of the underlying programming code was cobbled together from technologies that long existed in the open-source programming community.

In keeping with that open nature, details and simulations of the user interface, nicknamed Sugar, have been available online, to mixed reviews.

Some bloggers have said that even as Sugar avoids complexities inherent in the familiar operating systems from Microsoft Corp. or Apple, it just creates a different set of complexities to be mastered.

How hard that is should be one key measure of the project's success. One Laptop plans to send a specialist to each school who will stay for a month helping teachers and students get started. But Negroponte believes that kids ultimately will learn the system by exploring it and then teaching each other.

Still, no one appears to doubt the technical savvy Sugar represents.

Wayan Vota, who launched the blog to monitor the project's development because he is skeptical it can achieve its aims, called Sugar "amazing -- a beautiful redesign."

"It doesn't feel like Linux. It doesn't feel like Windows. It doesn't feel like Apple," said Vota, who is director of Geekcorps, an organization that facilitates technology volunteers in developing countries. He emphasized that his opinions were his own and not on behalf of Geekcorps.

"I'm just impressed they built a new (user interface) that is different and hopefully better than anything we have today," he said. But he added: "Granted, I'm not a child. I don't know if it's going to be intuitive to children."

Indeed, the XO machines are still being tweaked, and Sugar isn't expected to be tested by any kids until February. By July or so, several million are expected to reach Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan, Thailand and the Palestinian territory. Negroponte said three more African countries might sign on in the next two weeks. The Inter-American Development Bank is trying to get the laptops to multiple Central American countries.

The machines are being made by Quanta Computer Inc., and countries will get versions specific to their own languages. Governments or donors will buy the laptops for children to own, along with associated server equipment for their schools. The project itself has gotten at least $29 million in funding from companies including Google Inc., News Corp. and Red Hat.

But that's not to say everything has fallen into place for One Laptop.

India's government originally expressed interest but backed out. Even though Brazil plans to take part, it is hedging its bets by evaluating $400 "Classmate PCs" from Intel Corp. Brazil's government is a big fan of open-source software as a cost-saver, but at least in initial tests, officials have said those Classmate PCs just might run Windows.
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$100 laptop project launches 2007

文章 #2  未閱讀文章PoP » 2007-01-04 16:50


The first batch of computers built for the One Laptop Per Child project could reach users by July this year.

The scheme is hoping to put low-cost computers into the hands of people in developing countries.

Ultimately the project's backers hope the machines could sell for as little as $100 (£55).

The first countries to sign up to buying the machine include Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan and Thailand.

The so-called XO machine is being pioneered by Nicholas Negroponte, who launched the project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab in 2004.

Test machines are expected to reach children in February as the project builds towards a more formal launch.

Wireless networking

Mr Negroponte told the Associated Press news agency that three more African countries might sign on in the next two weeks.

The laptop is powered by a 366-megahertz processor from Advanced Micro Devices and has built-in wireless networking.

It has no hard disk drive and instead uses 512 MB of flash memory, and has two USB ports to which more storage could be attached.

"I have to laugh when people refer to XO as a weak or crippled machine and how kids should get a "real' one"," Mr Negroponte told AP.

"Trust me, I will give up my real one very soon and use only XO. It will be far better, in many new and important ways."

The computer runs on a cut-down version of the open source Linux operating system and has been designed to work differently to a Microsoft Windows or Apple machine from a usability perspective.

Instead of information being stored along the organising principle of folders and a desktop, users of the XO machine are encouraged to work on an electronic journal, a log of everything the user has done on the laptop.

The machine comes with a web browser, word processor and RSS reader, for accessing the web feeds that so many sites now offer.

"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint," Mr Negroponte said.

"I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing, not running office automation tools."

The new user interface, known as Sugar, has been praised by some of the observers of the One Laptop Per Child project.

It doesn't feel like Linux. It doesn't feel like Windows. It doesn't feel like Apple," said Wayan Vota, who launched the blog and is also director of Geekcorps, an organisation that facilitates technology volunteers in developing countries.

"I'm just impressed they built a new (user interface) that is different and hopefully better than anything we have today," he said.

But he added: "Granted, I'm not a child. I don't know if it's going to be intuitive to children."

Trial versions of the operating system in development can be downloaded to be tested out by technically-minded computer users around the world.
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OLPC and Intel bury the hatchet--for the children

文章 #3  未閱讀文章PoP » 2007-07-14 14:32


After years of squabbling, Intel and Nicholas Negroponte have agreed to put their differences behind them and join forces in bringing PCs to children around the world.

Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project is bringing Intel on board as a partner and a possible future supplier, the two entities announced Friday morning. Intel will become the 11th member of the OLPC's board, joining other companies such as Google, eBay, Nortel and Intel's bitter rival Advanced Micro Devices.

The OLPC's mission is to put laptop computers in the hands of children around the world, in the hope that access to technology will help improve the education of millions growing up in nations concerned with weightier issues than Facebook versus MySpace. The XO laptop at the heart of the project costs about $175 to produce, but Negroponte, founder of the nonprofit OLPC, thinks they will sell for about $100 once production starts in earnest later this year.

Just a few weeks ago, the notion of Intel and Negroponte working together would have seemed absurd. Negroponte's almost evangelical approach to the OLPC project and Intel's determination to grab a piece of the emerging PC market has produced rancor on both sides over the past few years.

Intel Chairman Craig Barrett has been the public face of the company's work on its Classmate PCs for emerging nations, and he has been very dismissive of the OLPC project in the past, calling it "the $100 gadget." And in a May interview with 60 Minutes, Negroponte accused Intel of dumping Classmate PCs way below cost in order to win deals with local governments and sabotage Negroponte's dreams of bringing PCs to the world's poor children.

The dispute appeared petty at times, beneath both the world's largest chipmaker and the co-founder of the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After all, there's unfortunately no shortage of poor children in the world who have yet to realize the power of the personal computer, and the developed world is big enough to support a huge PC industry with dozens of rich players.

After some discussion, the two groups realized they had more in common than they had in dispute, said Will Swope, a corporate vice president and general manager of corporate affairs at Intel. "We're trying to accomplish the same thing," he said.

Intel's immediate effect on the OLPC project will be to improve the open-source software that ships with the XO laptop, said Walter Bender, president of software and content for the OLPC. "Intel has got a very strong team in Linux and open source," he said.

Intel is currently wooing developing nations with Classmate PCs that are available with either Linux and Windows, part of the chipmaker's continual dance between Microsoft--its closest partner--and the desire of some customers for open-source software. But the OLPC is an avowed open-source supporter, giving Intel a broader outlet for the work produced by its collection of open-source software engineers.

At some point, Intel also wants its chips to be inside the XO laptop, Swope said. "We are going to try to win the XO business, but it's the OLPC's decision. We haven't won the business as a result of this agreement."

Teaming with a rival

At the moment, AMD is the silicon supplier for the XO laptop. This appeared to be at least part of the reason behind Intel's disdain for the OLPC project as well as Negroponte's suspicions that Intel wanted to lock him out of certain countries. In the developed world, the PC market is rapidly maturing; eroding the growth rates that Wall Street loves so much. As a result, both Intel and AMD see a huge source of future earnings in the millions of people who have yet to buy a PC. The companies would rather attribute their efforts to a humanitarian desire to help the world, but shareholders like profits, too.

AMD said it was undeterred by the news that its rival was joining forces with the OLPC, despite the prospect of a few awkward board meetings at some point in the future. "Right now, we see no change in the way AMD will participate with OLPC," said Rebecca Gonzales, AMD's senior manager of business development for high-growth markets. "We welcome (Intel) to the table."

AMD and Intel do work together on several projects, participating on standards boards such as PCI-SIG and The Green Grid. But when Negroponte's comments aired in May, AMD quickly seized upon his statements as evidence that Intel was using its market heft to try and keep AMD out of the developing world--allegations similar to those made by its antitrust suit filed against Intel in 2005.

On Friday, there was only talk of collaboration. "We obviously haven't worked out all the details this is going to mean when we sit down at the table together in the board meeting," Gonzales said. "But we are going to work together to continue best practices."

Intel will continue to sell its Classmate PC--the object of Negroponte's previous ire--as a low-cost PC alternative, Swope said. "Three years from now, there's going to be any number of companies that have products that solve opportunities in the education environment," he said.

Bender agreed, noting that the OLPC hasn't locked itself into any one partner's technology. "We're looking as broadly as possible, these solutions don't exist just within one company or one architecture," he said.
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'$100 laptop' production begins

文章 #4  未閱讀文章PoP » 2007-07-23 16:13


Five years after the concept was first proposed, the so-called $100 laptop is poised to go into mass production.

Hardware suppliers have been given the green light to ramp-up production of all of the components needed to build millions of the low-cost machines.

Previously, the organisation behind the scheme said that it required orders for 3m laptops to make production viable.

The first machines should be ready to put into the hands of children in developing countries in October 2007.

"There's still some software to write, but this is a big step for us," Walter Bender, head of software development at One Laptop per Child (OLPC), told the BBC News website.

The organisation has not said which countries have bought the first machines.

Silencing critics

Getting the $100 laptop to this stage has been a turbulent journey for the organisation and its founder Nicholas Negroponte.

Since the idea was first put forward in 2002, the low-cost laptop has been both lauded and ridiculed.

Intel chairman Craig Barret famously described it as a "$100 gadget" whilst Microsoft founder Bill Gates questioned its design, particularly the lack of hard drive and its "tiny screen".

Other critics asked whether there was a need for a laptop in countries which, they said, had more pressing needs such as sanitation, water and health care.

Professor Negroponte's response has always been the same: "It's an education project, not a laptop project."

The view was shared by Kofi Annan, ex-secretary General of the UN. In 2005, he described the laptop as an "expression of global solidarity" that would "open up new fronts" for children's education.

And as time passed, even some of the critics have changed their stance. Earlier this month, Intel, which manufactures what was considered a rival machine, the Classmate PC, joined forces with OLPC.

Functional design

The innovative design of the XO machine has also drawn praise from the technical community.

Using open source software, OLPC have developed a stripped-down operating system which fits comfortably on the machine's 1GB of memory.

"We made a set of trade-offs which may not be an office worker's needs but are more than adequate for what kids need for learning, exploring and having fun," said Professor Bender.

The XO is built to cope with the harsh and remote conditions found in areas where it may be used, such as the deserts of Libya or the mountains of Peru.

For example, it has a rugged, waterproof case and is as energy efficient as possible.

"The laptop needs an order of magnitude less power than a typical laptop," said Professor Bender. "That means you can power it by solar or human power."

Governments that sign up for the scheme can purchase solar, foot-pump or pull-string powered chargers for the laptop.

And because it may be used in villages without access to a classroom, it has also been designed to work outside. In particular, the green and white machines feature a sunlight-readable display.

"For a lot of these children it's their only book and we want them to have a first class reading experience," said Professor Bender.

Name drop

The XO will be produced in Taiwan by Quanta, the world's largest laptop manufacturer.

The final design will bring together more than 800 parts from multiple suppliers such as chip-maker AMD, which supplies the low-power processor at the heart of the machine.

"This is the moment we have all been waiting for," Gustavo Arenas of AMD told the BBC News website.

"We certainly believe very strongly in the mission and vision of OLPC so finally starting to see it come to fruition is not only gratifying, it is also rewarding."

Test machines, on which the final design is based, are currently being put through their paces in countries such as Nigeria and Brazil.

However, the names of the countries that have purchased the first lots of machines have not been released.

The XO currently costs $176 (£90) although the eventual aim is to sell the machines to governments for $100 (£50).
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'$100 laptop' to sell to public

文章 #5  未閱讀文章PoP » 2007-09-24 22:13


Computer enthusiasts in the developed world will soon be able to get their hands on the so-called "$100 laptop".

The organisation behind the project has launched the "give one, get one" scheme that will allow US residents to purchase two laptops for $399 (£198).

One laptop will be sent to the buyer whilst a child in the developing world will receive the second machine

The G1G1 scheme, as it is known, will offer the laptops for just two weeks, starting on the 12 November.

The offer to the general public comes after the project's founder admitted that concrete orders from the governments of developing nations had not always followed verbal agreements

Nicholas Negroponte told the New York Times: "I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a cheque written.

"And yes, it has been a disappointment."

Walter Bender, head of software development at One Laptop per Child (OLPC), told the BBC News website: "From day one there's been a lot of interest expressed in having some way of people in the developed world participate in the programme."

Price hike

The XO laptop has been developed to be used by children and is as low cost, durable and simple to use as possible.

It packs several innovations including a sunlight readable display so that it can be used outside. It has no moving parts, can be powered by solar, foot-pump or pull-string powered chargers and is housed in a waterproof case.

The machine's price has recently increased from $176 (£88) to $188 (£93) although the eventual aim is to sell the machines for $100 (£50).

Governments can buy the green and white machines in lots of 250,000.

In July, hardware suppliers were given the green light to ramp-up production of all of the components needed to build the low-cost machines.

The decision suggested that the organisation had met or surpassed the three million orders it need to make production viable.

The names of the governments that have purchased the first lots of machines have not been released.

Developing whirl

But, according to OLPC, there has also been huge interest in the XO laptop from individuals in the developed world.

"I don't know how many times people have added an entry in our wiki saying 'how do I get one?' or 'I'd gladly pay one for a child if I could get one'," said Mr Bender.

The organisation has previously hinted that they were considering selling the laptop on a give one get one basis, but not this early.

In January this year, Michalis Bletsas, chief connectivity officer for the project, told the BBC news website that OLPC was hoping to sell the laptop to the public "next year".

Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of OLPC, has also previously said: "Many commercial schemes have been considered and proposed that may surface in 2008 or beyond, one of which is 'buy 2 and get 1'."

According to Mr Bender, OLPC see several advantages to offering laptops to the developed world.

"There's going to be a lot more people able to contribute content, software development and support," said Mr Bender.

But primarily, he said, it was a way of extending the laptop project to countries that cannot afford to participate.

"We see it as a way of kick-starting the programme in the least developed countries."

Early adopter

The first countries to receive the donated laptops will be Cambodia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Haiti.

Other least developed countries (LDC), as defined by the UN, will be able to bid to join the scheme.

The laptops will go on sale for two weeks through the website.

They will only be available for two weeks to ensure OLPC can meet demand and so that machines are not diverted away from countries that have already placed orders.

Although the exact number of laptops available through the G1G1 scheme has not been revealed, Mr Bender said that the "first 25,000" people that purchase one should receive it before the end of the year.

Others will receive their machines in the first quarter of 2008.

Mr Bender said that if it proves successful, the organisation would consider extending the scheme.

"Our motivation is helping kids learn and giving them an opportunity to participate in the laptop programme so whatever will advance that cause we will do," he said.

"This is something we are going to try and if it looks like it is an effective tool we will do more of it."
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Uruguay buys first '$100 laptops'

文章 #6  未閱讀文章PoP » 2007-10-30 23:33


The first official order for the so-called "$100 laptop" has been placed by the government of Uruguay.

The South American country has bought 100,000 of the machines for schoolchildren aged six to 12.

A further 300,000 may be purchased to provide a machine for every child in the country by 2009.

The order will be a boost for the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) organisation behind the project which has admitted difficulties getting concrete orders.

"I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a cheque written," Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the organisation, recently told the New York Times.

However, he said he was "delighted" with the first deal.

"We commend Uruguay for being the first country to take concrete actions to provide laptops to all its children and teachers and look forward to other countries following this example," he said.

Rumour factory

The XO laptop, as the machine is known, has been developed to be used primarily by children in the developing world.

It is durable, waterproof and can be powered by solar, foot-pump or pull-string powered chargers. It includes a sunlight readable display so that it can be used outside and has no moving parts.

OLPC aims to sell the laptop for $100 or less. However, over the last year, the machine's price has steadily increased and now costs $188 (£93).

Governments were initially offered the green and white machines in lots of 250,000. However, this has since changed and there are now a variety of ways that the laptops are sold or distributed.

For example, from 12 November, members of the public can buy a machine for themselves as well as one for a child in a developing country.

The Give 1 Get 1 (G1G1) programme will initially distribute laptops to Cambodia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Haiti.

Other schemes allow donors to purchase lots of 100 or more of the machines for a country of their choice. Prices start at $299 (£145) per machine.

Connected country

However, the main focus for OLPC has been selling the machines direct to governments.

In July, hardware suppliers were told to ramp-up production of all of the components needed to build the low-cost machines.

Many believed that the decision meant that the organisation had met or surpassed the three million orders it need to make production viable. However, the latest news suggests this was not the case.

Previous reports had also suggested deals with the governments of Libya, to provide a laptop for every child, as well as Peru and a sponsorship programme with Italy to provide 50,000 machines to Ethiopia.

A spokesperson for OLPC said none of these were confirmed deals.

Instead, Uruguay is the first country to sign up for the scheme.

The order for 100,000 machines was placed by the state-run Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay (Latu) which runs a large scale education and communications project known as Ceibal.

The scheme will also provide connectivity to all of the schools involved.

Before placing the order, Latu had also evaluated the rival Intel Classmate PC.

Initially the XO laptops will be distributed in eight to nine of the country's 19 regions. A further 300,000 machines will provide machines for all of the country's children.

"We will also cover the rest of the country later in 2008 and Montevideo in 2009," said Miguel Brechner, president of the organisation.
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Factfile: XO laptop

文章 #7  未閱讀文章PoP » 2007-12-06 23:46

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One laptop project loses partner

文章 #8  未閱讀文章PoP » 2008-01-04 23:30


Intel has pulled out of a project to put cheap laptops in the hands of children in the developing world.

Citing "philosophical" differences, Intel has withdrawn its funding and technical help from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

OLPC aimed to boost learning in poorer nations via a custom-built laptop intended to cost no more than $100.

Intel's withdrawal is a blow to OLPC which has found few nations willing to buy large numbers of laptops.

Machine code

Intel joined the OLPC in July 2007 and was widely expected to work on a version of the project's laptop that used an Intel chip. Many expected this machine to be unveiled at the CES technology fair which opens in Las Vegas on 5 January.

The first versions of the OLPC or XO laptop were powered by a chip made by Intel's arch-rival AMD.

The green and white XO machine was designed specifically for children, was made rugged to cope with conditions in developing nations and could be kept powered using a hand crank.

Intel spokesman Chuck Molly said it had taken the decision to resign from the OLPC board and end its involvement because the organisation had asked it to stop backing rival low-cost laptops.

On the OLPC board with Intel are 11 other companies including Google and Red Hat.

The chip maker has been promoting its own cheap laptop, the Classmate, in many of the same places as the OLPC.

"OLPC had asked Intel to end our support for non-OLPC platforms, including the Classmate PC, and to focus on the OLPC platform exclusively," said Mr Mulloy . "At the end of the day, we decided we couldn't accommodate that request."

He added that the use of AMD chips in the first XO laptops had not influenced its decision.

So far the OLPC has yet to comment on the split.

Prior to Intel's involvement, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte criticised the chip firm for what he called its attempts to undermine the project's work.

He said Intel was selling its Classmate at a loss to make the XO laptop less attractive.

While Dr Negroponte's initial aim was for a laptop costing only $100, the final versions that have been trialled in Nigeria and Uruguay cost $188 (£95).

Costs were supposed to be kept low by governments ordering the XO laptop in shipments of one million, but large orders for the XO laptop have, so far, not materialised.

In a bid to boost the numbers of laptops available, OLPC ran a "Give One, Get One" programme in the US from 12 November to 31 December.

This allowed members of the public to buy two XO machines - one for themselves and one for a OLPC project elsewhere.

OLPC said the success of this had helped it to launch programmes in Haiti, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Afghanistan.
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Intel 'undermined' laptop project

文章 #9  未閱讀文章PoP » 2008-01-09 14:57


Intel repeatedly undermined a not-for profit scheme to bring cheap laptops to children in the developing world, the head of the charity told BBC News.

Nicholas Negroponte accused Intel, which makes a rival PC, of underhand sales tactics and trying to block contracts to buy his machines.

The groups united in July 2007 after a series of rows but split last week.

The head of Intel Paul Otellini said an accusation that the firm had failed to deliver on promises was "hogwash".

"I don't want to get into specifics but we met every obligation that we were committed to," he said.

Professor Negroponte responded: "My version of events is not hogwash.

"Why would I throw away the six million dollars they were supposed to give us yesterday? Why would I do all of these things unless I was stark raving mad?"

'Repeat offender'

Professor Negroponte said the firm had left after a series of disputes.

"They were selling laptop with their brand on it directly to exactly the same people we were talking to.

"They would go in even after we had signed contracts and try to persuade government officials to scrap their contract and sign a contract with them instead. That's not a partnership."

Mr Negroponte cited an example in Peru where Intel sales staff tried to persuade the country's vice minister of education, Oscar Becerra Tresierra, to buy the Intel Classmate PC.

Peru has ordered 270,000 XO laptops from OLPC.

Mr Negroponte said that similar events had happened "time and time and time again".

"Each time it happened they said they would correct their ways. It's a little like cheating on your spouse, or alcoholism, or something you just can't eventually fix and we had to finally part ways."

Education tools

Last week Intel said the two parties had split because OLPC had asked Intel to end "support for non-OLPC platforms, including the Classmate PC, and to focus on the OLPC platform exclusively".

Mr Otellini told BBC News: The premise that we actually divorced over that there is not one solution. No one company, no one solution has a monopoly on kids."

Both firm's laptops are designed for use by children in the developing world.

The rugged XO machine, which its makers say will eventually cost $100, features a sunlight readable display and open source software. It uses a processor designed by Intel's rival AMD.

The more expensive Intel machine can run Microsoft Windows and is part of a wider education initiative by the firm.

"Intel has invested a billion dollars over the last 10 years alone in education around the world," said Mr Otellini.

Both parties were speaking to BBC News at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
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OLPC, Microsoft working on dual-boot XO laptop

文章 #10  未閱讀文章PoP » 2008-01-10 17:44


Apparently Nick Negroponte is willing to work with some huge powerful corporations whose interests compete with his own.

Negroponte told IDG News Service Wednesday that the OLPC project is working with Microsoft on a version of the XO laptop that would be capable of booting either Linux--the current OS--or Windows. It appears the two organizations are shooting for something like Apple's Boot Camp: not true virtualization, but the ability to boot either operating system depending on the applications you'd need to run.

This could help the OLPC address some of the reasons why a few governments have spurned its XO laptop in favor of Intel's Classmate, which runs either Linux or Windows, but not in dual-boot fashion. While the XO's design is certainly innovative compared to many of the other options out there, the support model is not. XO customers are essentially responsible for supporting the product themselves, and some governments haven't wanted to snap up an unproven technology product with the additional support burden.

Microsoft and the OLPC have been talking for months about getting Windows to run on the XO laptop, but until now the discussion had appeared to indicate that project would result in two different XOs, a Linux one and a Windows one. A dual-boot XO is an entirely different prospect altogether, one that might require additional processing power, storage, memory, or all three.

The news comes less than a week after the bitter divorce between the OLPC and Intel over Intel's Classmate PC. The OLPC wants Intel to stop selling in the same markets in which the OLPC--equipped with an AMD processor--is being promoted.

Microsoft has also derided the OLPC in the past, preferring to focus on its Windows Starter Edition product or an entirely different notion of bringing computing to the developing world on cell phones. Just this week at CES, Bill Gates said "OLPC hasn't done that well. We're in literally over 100 countries with special versions of Windows, including Starter Edition. OLPC is nowhere compared to where we are on this thing."

Who knows whether this is another marriage doomed from the start, but give Negroponte credit for recognizing the need for Windows on the XO. Like it or not, it's a Windows-dominated world, and pretending that developing nations won't want access to the huge library of Windows applications out there isn't really serving their needs.

And a dual-boot solution is an elegant way of supporting both operating systems without forcing one or the other on the user. I wonder if a dual-boot XO would require beefier hardware, and therefore nudge that cost up a little more, but it's unclear right now what type of performance requirements we'd be looking at with this version of Windows.
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One Laptop to set up US project

文章 #11  未閱讀文章PoP » 2008-01-14 20:58


The One Laptop Per Child project is turning its attention to children in the United States.

The XO laptop developed by the OLPC was conceived to boost educational efforts in developing nations.

Now the OLPC has set up a US office and has begun talking to state governments about ways to get the laptop into the hands of the poorest American children.

The organisation said it would formally launch its XO programme in America later in 2008.

Spending plan

The One Laptop project was begun by former MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte with the aim of helping poorer nations bridge the digital divide.

The program has developed the rugged XO laptop that was originally supposed to cost $100 so it could be ordered in large numbers by governments. The final version came in at $188 (£93).

In a video interview posted to the One Laptop site Professor Negroponte said: "2008, for us, is a big change because up to now we have been more like a terrorist group, threatening to do something and making big claims."

"2008 is where we become not a revolution but a civilisation and we actually roll out laptops within countries," he said.

This year will also see the start of a planned programme to reach some of the poorer children in the US. This American office for the OLPC already has a director and chairman, said Prof Negroponte and was already letting state governments know about its plans.

The US was not originally included in the OLPC programme because of the relative wealth of even poor parts of America compared to many developing nations.

Speaking to the IDG News service Prof Negroponte pointed out that US spending on each child at primary school was about $10,000 compared to only $20 in Bangladesh.

Many Americans can also afford to buy their children more expensive laptops too, said Prof Negroponte.
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Video: OLPC User Interface demo

文章 #12  未閱讀文章PoP » 2008-01-23 04:26

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Give one laptop, get one sooner or later

文章 #13  未閱讀文章PoP » 2008-01-29 14:16


The One Laptop Per Child organization's "Give One, Get One" program has hit a few snags in recent weeks, as donors are apparently having trouble getting their end of the bargain to come together.

The program offered fans of the XO laptop a chance to donate $400 and send one of the laptops to a needy child and one to themselves.

Harry McCracken, editor in chief of PC World, is still waiting for his XO laptop. He was one of the first to participate in the promotion, donating $400 to the OLPC on November 12.

Originally, the OLPC told McCracken that he'd have his XO by Christmas, but that got pushed into January, and now representatives tell him he "might have good news in February."

PC World did a more in-depth story on the problems the OLPC is having fulfilling the second part of the "Give One, Get One" program. An OLPC representative said the organization is prioritizing shipments of XO laptops to needy countries, which probably makes sense. But the laptops are in short supply, and issues with addressing and order tracking have compounded the problems.

Peter Glaskowsky of the CNET Blog Network received his XO laptop before New Year's Day, so some shipments are apparently making it through, but the whole affair is another example of the OLPC's rough start to its charitable venture.

The price of the XO laptop has risen steadily, the mass production of the device has been delayed, and founder Nick Negroponte has engaged in a very public spat with Intel over the right of OLPC members to market their own low-cost laptops to the world's developing nations.
文章: 13617
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'$100 laptop' embraces Windows XP

文章 #14  未閱讀文章PoP » 2008-05-16 13:25


[right]圖檔[/right]Microsoft has joined forces with the developers of the "$100 laptop" to make Windows available on the machines.

The move was prompted by countries which demanded the operating system before placing an order.

Trials of laptops loaded with Windows will begin in "four to five" countries from June, the organisations said.

The founder of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), which developed the machines, denied the move was a "desperate new measure" to secure more orders.

"While it is certainly true that it has not taken off as fast as I would have hoped and publicly stated, certain countries around the world... have always been very, very insistent that they want Windows as an option," Nicholas Negroponte told BBC News.

Until now, the XO machines, as they are known, have only been offered with an open-source Linux operating system.

Apple tactic

OLPC originally aimed to sell the low-cost laptops in lots of one million to governments in developing countries for $100 each.

The innovative machines, which have been designed for use in remote and harsh environments, were to be distributed to school children.

Over time, however, the project was forced to drop the minimum number of machines that could be ordered. Each machine currently costs $188.

So far, it has sold just 600,000, according to Professor Negroponte, although he said it expected a further 400,000 orders in the next "60 to 90 days".

"There is no question that demand goes up when you offer dual boot," said Professor Negroponte.

Machines will eventually be offered with the ability to run either Windows XP or Linux, although he admitted there were still some technical issues to overcome to achieve this.

"I liken running Windows in dual boot on the laptop as exactly what Apple did on their machines," said Professor Negroponte.

"A lot of people moved to the Apple laptop once it had that dual boot."

Customer service

It has taken Microsoft nearly one year to make its software compatible with the XO machine. It will cost an additional $3, plus $7 for hardware, and will be offered on a 2GB memory card that can be plugged into the machine.

According to the Microsoft, it supports many of the XO's unique features including its custom keys, writing pad and power-saving mode.

Crucially, however, it does not currently support the mesh networking that allows the computers to talk to one another and share data.

In addition, the user interface designed for the XO - called Sugar - does not yet run on XP, although Professor Negroponte said that OLPC would work with "third parties" to find a solution to this.

The options afforded by Windows will be welcomed by the governments of countries, such as Egypt, which has insisted on being offered the operating system before signing up to the scheme.

Other customers and partners have already applauded the shift.

"Windows support on the XO device means that our students and educators will now have access to more than computer-assisted learning experiences," said Andres Gonzalez Diaz, governor of Cundinamarca, Colombia.

"They will also develop marketable technology skills, which can lead to jobs and opportunities for our youth of today and the work force of tomorrow."

Personal choice

However, others have been less forthcoming with praise about the partnership.

"[OLPC] should not believe the nonsense about Windows being a requirement for business after the children grow up," wrote Ivan Krstic, who recently resigned as the organisation's top security architect, on his blog.

"Windows is a requirement because enough people grew up with it, not the other way around. If OLPC made a billion people grow up with Linux, Linux would be just dandy for business."

Mr Krstic said that he was enthusiastic about Sugar being made available on the "most widely used operating system in existence" but was opposed to Windows becoming "the single OS that OLPC offers for the XO".

"[OLPC] should not become a vehicle for creating economic incentives for a particular vendor," he wrote.

Whilst Professor Negroponte said this was not the intention, he could not rule out the possibility of XP becoming the sole offering in the future.

"If that's the way it unfolds, that's the way it unfolds. We are in the learning business and what the operating system is underneath is less germane," he told BBC News.

"A lot of it will end up as what governments and educational institutions choose to use," added James Utzchneider of Microsoft.
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'$100 laptop' platform moves on

文章 #15  未閱讀文章PoP » 2008-05-17 12:50


An independent effort to develop the software originally designed for the $100 laptop has been launched.

Sugar Labs will take the laptop's innovative interface, known as Sugar, to the "next level of usability and utility", according to its founders.

It is intended that the free software will be made available on other PCs, such as the popular Asus Eee.

The launch comes after the announcement that the group behind the $100 laptop has joined forces with Microsoft.

The deal means that One Laptop per Child (OLPC) will now offer the low cost laptops with Windows XP, as well as an open source alternative.

It will also continue to offer the Sugar educational interface that the new foundation intends to continue to develop.

"We will continue to work with OLPC but we will also work with other manufacturers," explained Sugar Labs founder Walter Bender.

"Hopefully it will mean that these ideas will get out there faster and to a broader community."

Divergent views

Until recently Mr Bender was second in command and the person who had been responsible for software and content on the XO, as the $100 laptop is known. He resigned in April.

"I didn't leave OLPC because of the Microsoft deal - it was a symptom rather than the cause," he told BBC News.

"I left OLPC because I think the most important thing it is doing is defining a learning ecosystem."

He said that over time his own views on how best to bring education to children in the developing world had diverged from those held by OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte.

"One goal is to just maximise the number of laptops you get out to kids. And that is unequivocally Nicholas' goal."

But, he said, there was another approach.

"My approach is to demonstrate to the world a way to [deliver education] that is impactful and can scale but not be the one that necessarily does the delivering of the laptops.

"I felt that OLPC was moving very rapidly towards Nicholas' goal and my goal within the organisation was going to be more difficult to achieve."

Sweet work

Sugar is a user interface that allows children to collaborate even when working on different machines. For example, they can write documents or make music together.

The open source software also contains a journal and automatically saves and backs up all data.

"In order to provide a rich learning experience to as many of the world's children as possible, it is critical to not just provide computers to children, but to ensure that the software that runs on the computers maximizes the potential for engaging in activities that promote learning," said Mr Bender.

"By being independent of any specific hardware platform and by remaining dedicated to the principles of free and open source software, the Sugar platform ensures that others can develop diverse interfaces and applications for governments and schools to choose from."

Sugar Labs will work closely with developers from the open source community to develop the user interface for other computers and operating systems.

It has already been bundled with the most recent releases of the Ubuntu and Fedora Linux operating systems.

OLPC has said it will also continue to develop Sugar through "third parties" and will develop a version for Windows XP, something that Mr Bender does not consider a priority.

"There's a lot of engineering and it is not clear that it's the best use of engineering resources at this moment," he explained.

However, he said, this did not mean that he did not support OLPC's activities.

"I want to make it clear that it is aligned with, rather than against, OLPC."
文章: 13617
註冊時間: 2006-12-06 03:42


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