Monday, May 19, 2008

OLPC : hubris or fraud

Until now, I had chalked up OLPC founder Nicolas Negroponte's disdain for teachers and software support as an extreme strain of faith in the innate computer capabilities of children and the common person.

I'm sad to say that recent evidence suggest that the reality might be much bleaker: that the OLPC program was and is only about the distribution of laptops.

I'm not so much sad over the failure of this particular program as sad over all the volunteer efforts and international goodwill that has been recklessly spent.

1 comment:

artunit said...

hey mita, i think i messed this up last time, ignore if this is the second submission - great post!

If sugar labs can infuse sugar with a broader development base, there still might be hope that the XO could be a viable platform for education and child-friendly computing. But it may be too late for that, the community dynamic and goodwill has been horribly squandered within the project, and I wonder if it would take a wholesale adoption of sugar by another established community to keep the XO from becoming just another example of cheap conduit for microsoft dependencies. Sugar probably needs an advocate and friend like Mark Shuttleworth, and a more pronounced synergy with the Edubuntu project. Possible more than with any other linux distribution, the Ubuntu folks have been willing to blend technology with advocacy, and this situation is such a mess that it might take this level of intervention to get things back on track.