I debated whether to use the term cheap or inexpensive but I think I’ll go with cheap. The original concept of the one laptop per child initiative was noble. I personally felt that Negroponte’s project was put together with the best of interests. Immediately after the launch of the project the outcry came loudly and strongly because these boxes would not be available for use by US students. I recall being in the audience when Negroponte showed one of the first prototypes and talked about how the design was made to look like a toy so that it would not be appealing to the black market. The goal was to provide those who couldn’t afford it a way to get connected. Made a great deal of sense.
From the original protestations, you didn’t hear about the project for a while. I think that most people guessed that the original plan was un-doable (argh) and therefore let’s not beat a dead horse.
But it went into production and you can now donate to the original cause. In the buy one, donate one plan the products were now shipping. (any day now)
A couple of days ago, I read an article that talked about “Why Microsoft Must Control One Laptop Per Child.” Then, this morning, we’re hearing about the new PCs that are on display at the CES show.
Where is all this headed? It’s anyone’s guess. These new Linus boxes come with hard drives – an item not seen on the original which was based upon a premise that conserving energy was crucial. Can the “Tier 1” provides survive when they are still retailing at $1500?
More importantly, the original goal of the OLPC project cannot be tainted. It was constructed with good intentions and I hope that it remains on track.
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