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back to article Nigerian keyboard firm sues One Laptop per Child

The One Laptop Per Child foundation is being sued over its XO laptop keyboard design by the Nigerian-owned, Massachusetts-based firm, Lagos Analysis Corp. Lagos claims the non-profit illegally reverse-engineered their software drivers to make the OLPC keypad more accent mark friendly to foreign fingers. The initial copyright …

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Stop

Bl00dy Nigerians

Best thing we could do with that whole country is to disconnect it from the global internet. This must be their latest thing... perhaps they are now bored of all the following:

- Ruining ebay auctions by bidding for items not available to them using hijacked UK ebay accounts, then specifying a nigerian mailing address

- Sending hoards and hoards of spam regarding some geezer who I have never met who's left me millions

- Spamming me with viagra adverts every 5 mins

- Informing me time and time again of the lottery that i've won which I never entered

- Spamming forum sites with messages full of links

- Spamming any 'comment' areas they can find with hoards of spam

- Sending out bots to create loads of false registrations that they then use to spam

You cant even escape the f**kers wen on holiday cause they are trying to flog you fake watches and sunglasses all the time.

Basically, the country is not fit to be a part of the global internet. Cut them off, I say!

Nigel

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Anonymous Coward

What does the Alt key do on Lagos Keyboards?

isn't Alt derived from Alternate? as in an Alternate keyset? if so just what exactly does the alt do on the lagos keyboards? I really doubt this case is going to go anywhere...

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Re: merely a publicity stunt

Why do you reckon that, AC? It may be a publicity stunt (because they're not serving any actual writ) but it is to show publicly that there is a "cloud" over the OLPC.

Just take a look at S Ballmer's statements about the nebulous cloud of IP violations in the Linux kernel.

Someone on slashdot also did a little digging and found that the company owning LANCOR was a Microsoft subsidiary.

OLPC use Linux.

Join the dots.

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Asus eeepc

The Asus eepc has the alternate language keys in the same location, why not sue them and not this?

It's pretty obvious to put the alternate symbols in that way, I'm in favour of a patent if it was hard work and cost someone millions to develop. That keyboard layout took 2 minutes to devise.

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419 - I once got one which went (something) like this...

Dear SIR,

My name is Mbutu Mwezi, and I am the head of the Irish Football Association (IFA). As you will no doubt be aware from Sky News, several of our players were recently killed in a coach crash in Equitorial Guinea, whilst on their way to play against Guinea's reknowed international team. Despite missing our goalkeeper, full back, left winger, three strikers and a mascot, we still managed to triumph 11-0.

In honour of our fallen legends, the Equitorial Guinean Government agreed to pay compensation to their families, to the amount of USD$100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 [ONE HUNDRED MILLION BILLION BILLION BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS], or approximately EUR11.45 [ELEVEN EUROES FORTY FIVE CENTS]. Unfortunately it transpires that all seven tragic individuals were childless Dublin orphans, grown up in the squalor of the fifties with no shoes, and not so much as a piece of coal to their name. And also there are no beneficiaries to speak of.

The FUNDS now currently reside in a suspense account in Malabo, in a little bank just off the main square, next to a cafe and a shop which sells string.

It is in the strictest confidence THAT I now tell you my plan. Since you share a surname with one of the deceased (O'Doherty - that's you, right?), it may be possible to make a claim using your details to recover the lost amount. If you are willing to assist me with this plan, you will be rewarded with 30% of the total AMOUNT.

I implore you to help me, in the memory of these noble souls who died doing what they loved best - drinking whiskey on a bus.

I await your response with badger-baited breath.

MBUTU MWEZI (Mrs)

Chairman

IRISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

LONDON

Ireland

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@Nigel

Whoa there Nigel!

Not all of the stuff you have listed in your post is coming from Nigeria, and the bits that are are coming from a *very small* minority of the population.

I sure nobody would advocate cutting off the entirety of the US just because a few of the worst Spammers in the world have been based there!

And the following phrase:

"You cant even escape the f**kers wen on holiday cause they are trying to flog you fake watches and sunglasses all the time."

Just isn't a nice sentiment. I'd expect that kind of statement to come from a foaming at the mouth BNP voter, not an intelligent, reasoning member of the IT community.

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Anonymous Coward

How do you get an o with a dot under it...

... on either keyboard?

Western charity does destroy local business, the clothes industry in parts of Africa has been killed off by imports of second-hand charity donations.

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Coat

Isn't the truth obvious?

It just seems so obvious to me. Nigerians don't _WANT_ the OLPC laptops. So why ship anything there? While at it, do the rest of the world a favour, and cut the landlines aswell (internet and telephone), and minelay the border. And please start shutting down ANY satellite phone found to be operating inside Nigeria's borders. It should reduce the amount of frauds and scams worldwide by an order of magnitude. If they don't want to get a chance to let the children learn somethin other than what the rest of the world considers illegal activities, then let them teach their activities and STAY INSIDE THEIR BORDERS!.

I know, I know. Getting my coat now.

//Svein

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Goes back to at least 1980

When I first encountered/used multiple shift keys on an IBM terminal with an APL keyboard.

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Unhappy

"Plausible" excuse...

It's to provide the Nigerian government with a "plausible" excuse for dropping the OLPC and going with the Intel Classmate solution instead... expect an annoucement from them shortly explaining that they can't go with the OLPC as it may infringe on someones "precioussss" IP...

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Silver badge

The key layout is the same, but I fail to see the patent issue

Okay, so the OLPC uses the same key layout for some symbols. Is that stealing or simply common sense? After all if that keyboard layout is prevalent, or even defined by international standards then I see no issue.

As for having a couple of buttons to reach extra key combos - well duh. That is so obvious and has had such a long history of prior art that I fail to see anything that could be patented. For example my UK keyboard allows me to push Alt Gr + 4 to get a Euro symbol. I'm sure I could also hold down Alt + the octal code on the numeric keypad to do the same. There is nothing innovative whatsoever about a keyboard that maps a few more characters onto a button that is Alt Gr in all but name. Fact is that extra keys are not even a new phenomena. Even the humble ZX Spectrum keyboard was overloaded with special keys, and the Shift key is the granddaddy of them all.

This sounds like an absurd patent even as many patents go. Even assuming there is a patent. The OLPC should point out all this and let the complainant waste their money if they really must pursuing legal action.

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

The threeth(?) Marine Div. could smash a Nigerian IT company like a bug?

What oil? This IT company has oil?

Oh, wait. You must be one of them dumb-ass know-nothing foreigners...

(Does anyone else find the irony of some of the racist and dumb-as-a-brick comments on this to be amusing?)

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Have they no shame?

If the OLPC were some form of Microsoftian enterprise bent on world-domination through capitalizing on revenue from sales....then maybe, just maybe this Nigerian firm would be justified in trying to swindle money out of the OLPC foundation...but this IS NOT the case! Maybe the rest of the decent folk out there should counter-sue the Nigerian company for a horrendous lack of ethics and just plain decency...but I guess it's too much to expect these day!

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Flame

Gramer Alert!!

[quote]"One Laptop per Child, a non-profit educational organization, has hear that Lagos Analysis Corp. (LANCOR) has sued OLPC in Nigeria, but OLPC has not seen any legal papers related to the alleged suit at this time,"[/quote]

Sounds (i.e. reads), like the Author could use a free OLPC too.

No barring for any mis-understanding between Her Majesties English and the ~supposedly~ more common American English, but shouldn't that be read back as:

"One Laptop per Child, a non-profit educational organization, has hear**d** that Lagos Analysis Corp. (LANCOR) has sued OLPC in Nigeria, but OLPC has not seen any legal papers related to the alleged suit at this time,"

I mean thousands of Kids come here daily, and have to put up with bad gramer!!

THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!

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Silver badge

Giving someone a fish

It all comes back to the question of giving someone a fish vs. teaching them to fish. Or in Microsoft's case: selling someone a fish, vs. teaching them to fish and then selling them expensive proprietary bait for the rest of their life.

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Bronze badge

I've said It before and I'll say it again

I've said It before and I'll say it again, OPLC is a stupid idea. Rather spend that $200 per child on providing things like clean water, basic health care, school supplies and textbooks.

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Gates Horns

The difference is obvious - it's green

Smells like WinTel.

Dumping money into a shill to carry forward another junk lawsuit.

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Paris Hilton

@Not That Andrew

And when we've given them water, what do we do for them? Educate them. That would be the supplies and textbooks. Supplies like "paper, pens" and educational books, yes?

Oh, that's what OLPC is FOR.

It's a damn good ebook, it has a calculator, text editor and a load of educational uses. Looks like it's all that stuff you asked for (apart from water).

Are you Paris Hilton?

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Stop

I for one, welcome this lawsuit - OLPC needs to be killed.

OLPC absolutely has to fail - otherwise volume of "Nigerian" scam will increase tenfold in the coming years. No. It's not a joke - I actually believe that.

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Unhappy

How patriotic

to try to earn a few buck over the backs of Nigerian kids and their chance of a better education.

Or is this by proxy in the name of MS?

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@Mark

My point is that the amount of educational supplies you can with $200 in the Third World is far more valuable and useful that a crappy wind-up computer that will get sold for food, stolen or broken. Not to say the educational supplies might not get stolen, as another poster pointed out, but a computer is a far more juicey target.

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Re: It's a charity, so it's OK

"If it's a fuss about nothing, they'll be laughed out of court."

If all courts were honest and more interested in justice than in personal gain for the judiciary, that would be true.

In the real world, however, and especially in savage tribal areas like Nigeria, whoever can bribe the judge most effectively will win.

Microsoft owns a large interest in LANCOR. LANCOR is suing OLPC, which does *not* use any Microsoft products. Microsoft has more money than the Catholic Church.

Connect the dots: Who can outbid the other party and buy the judge?

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@Mark

I can buy a hell of a lot of books, papers, pens, pencils using the same money it costs to buy a laptop. Ask any publisher of educational material and they will gladly eat the added profit margin of educational books for a little good PR.

But then I wouldn't have the chuckle of seeing the press release of some kid in a small hut pedal away in order to generate the electricity he needs to power his laptop. And who wants to miss a self-loving idealistic techie like Negoropante miss out on his Nobel prize.

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Anonymous Coward

Keh.

On my standard Windows keyboard layout, I can use AltGr to type some accents not presents in my language: â, ă, å, ą, à, ı, ő, ä, ç, ... suppose Microsoft is coming for their $$$ soon, too.

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LOL bosshog

Funniest 419 parody I've seen.

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Alien

ye gods...

This layout goes back way further than the Atari ST, to the European release of the IBM XT if not PC itself. Part of it is virtually identical to the British PC layout. I would be very surprised if a number of keyboard layouts 'historically' used in Nigeria itself were actually identical. Certainly there must have been keyboards featuring similar concepts in the country for decades if computers were used to produce or label anything for shipment to the neighboring French-speaking countries.

Perhaps the Lagos company is 'merely' looking for publicity. I wonder if OLPC ever will see any legal papers from it.

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