Response to Keith Murray
I am a regular reader of OLPC website and even send a inquiry about buying a Laptop for my Kid and I do live in Africa .
I doubt anyone here is worried about M$ running on a Hardware , it runs on everything in earth where there is a market opportunity.
"What will children learn with an OLPC computer? They will learn to talk to each other across a network."
Who will build this network ? My friend you are not in a UK/US Village . Some of them don't even have a building . You intend to build Network based on thin Air?
"They will learn to find information on the internet."
What would be the cost of Bringing Internet to this people ? They dont even have electricity , water , money , and sometime food.
"They will, as children naturally do, learn from each other. Children in different villages will work together on projects without ever meeting face to face."
This is a Joke isn't ? You talk like you are in Cisco Sanjose Campus .. Please do visit Africa .
"And because they may have their laptops outside of the classroom, they may be able to learn things that interest them on their own time."
Please do come with your 300$ Mobile Phone and try using it in a Public street, and in a car with windows open. See how long your Mobile is yours.
"Some teachers may use on line lesson plans to teach children math. Or geography. Or how to dig a well. Or clean up sewage so that cholera can be avoided. Or build a community center. Or ask for help after a disaster. All of these are available to everyone right now with an Internet connection"
What costs more the On line lesson or the device to access it . As I told you before much of the on line lessons are multimedia intensive and this toys can't run them .
And there are better ways to deliver multimedia lessons without being online & connected . I hear Mexico runs about 6 TV channels focused on Education and Archives everything for Online use .
Please ask Mr. Negroponte, stop being a Media savvy, catchy words like this is not about laptop and it is about education is not going to change the final outcome of this project .
And you will never able to get the Pre-booking cash commitment from Governments (Procurement regulations /Parliament's Approvals / corruption-unless you are willing to bribe ) unless you manage to convince the WB /UN guys to pay for this on behalf of the governments . And if you donate it still it will be a short lived project .
I would wonder why a commercial company like DELL/Toshiba can't offer similar things to Governments. Pay now and when we reach 6 million orders , we can deliver a laptop at 100$ . I am sure for that kind of cash commit and volumes , any commercial company can do it better than you .
First it was M$ and now it is CitiBank .. two of the America's Major profit oriented companies are getting involved in a Education Project for Third world countries.. I see a reason ...It is no more a Education Project .
If you want to sell electricity build Power stations at free of cost, if you want sell Air time build Telco's at Free of costs (the Chinese are doing that across Africa), if you want to sell cheap used Cars build roads (Japan does that across Africa ), and now you want lure the Africans into Computers ..I see Companies see a potential for selling computers & networking gear .
I see you have done a wonderful job in the OS front which people haven't done for years , develop that further with good academic content , develop translation tools, find ways to package it nicely .(Hear of a good idea, a guy running Off line website In India using buses to refresh content ).
Think MIT.. Think ... Do something innovative.. Don't get into politics ...