Discussions

News: One Laptop Per Child: TheServerSide Tech Brief

  1. The OLPC is a full-featured Linux-based system intended for education. Rob Savoye is a contributor to the OLPC project. He talks about OLPC in this exclusive TSS Tech Brief, and tells us how to contribute code and ideas. Rob is a long-time member of the GNU project and is the CTO of lulu.tv. If you have ever used Red Hat, Debian, or Cygwin, chances are good that you've used his software. These days he works on Gnash, a GNU Flash playback tool, and the OLPC. (Click here if you can't view the interview on this page) OLPC System at a Glance
  2. CPU: 32-bit AMD Geode NX (Athlon-like instruction set)
  3. Screen: 1200x900 TFT color display
  4. Built-in: keyboard, touchpad, stereo audio, mic, video camera (30 fps), game controls
  5. 180 degrees swiveling screen
  6. Battery life: up to seven hours
  7. Storage: built-in, no rotating media
  8. The complete hardware specification, a system overview, and detailed information about the OLPC are available from the project pages. The One Laptop Per Child project was established to ensure that all school-aged children in the developing world are able to engage effectively with their own personal laptop, networked to the world, so that they, their families, and their communities can learn and learn about learning. Link to OLPC gallery (16 photos). Java is not playing a role in the OLPC at this time for two primary reasons: its license was incompatible with the project goals until recently, and its footprint may be too large for the current configurations. The OLPCs will work in coordination with a School Server that will extend the laptops' capabilities by providing a mesh portal and shared resources for up to 100 students/server. The current server specification is still evolving. Could there be a role to play for Java on the School Server? Are you thinking about contributing to the project? Check out the OLPC wiki, and come to meet the developers in the #olpc IRC channel on irc://irc.freenode.net. Watch other Tech Briefs
  • I really hope this works, it's a great idea. I think they'd reduce prices and get more innovation by releasing (selling) a quantity to western kids though. Not because I think "western kids" are any better than the target users but simply because they are more used to our western technology and have better resources to program it in the short term, just an idea. -John-
  • Hi John, My observation is that westerners are generally very resistant to change. We like to complain about the status quo, but prefer to do nothing about it. OTOH, I see developing countries consuming new ideas *much* more rapidly. I think your comment that western kids are more used to 'our' technology a bit general. How about Japanese and Singaporians? They are easterners who, I doubt anybody would argue, have a pretty good grasp on technology. Perhaps a more definitive comparison could be made between developed / developing countries. Having said all that, I'd tend to agree that it would be a shame to exclude western countries from the OLPC project... even if these kids would prefer a playstation for christmas.
  • "Westerners"[ Go to top ]

    How about Japanese and Singaporians? They are easterners who, I doubt anybody would argue, have a pretty good grasp on technology. Perhaps a more definitive comparison could be made between developed / developing countries.
    You're right and I think I chose the wrong word(s), developed/developing is much closer to what I meant. More importantly I meant it to be in the positive sense not negatively, i.e. I didn't mean the developing nations couldn't do a good job, simply that the developed nations should be able to boost the laptop's impact. I have three young boys (4, 6 and 8) who would love these laptops and I'd be more than happy to pay double for these machines, especially since the dollar is at half price these days. Here's another idea, how about we (the developed nations) pay triple for the laptops and we get to sponsor two laptops in developing nations, we then get to chat/talk/email the recipients. Perhaps not on a one to one for obvious reasons but as a pool, i.e. I buy 9 laptops, 3 for my children and they in turn get to speak to a classroom of others partly funded by my children's laptops. Of course Americans as a nearly developed nation would only need to buy two laptops while the Europeans and far east buy three. ONLY JOKING! :-) -John-
  • I really hope this works, it's a great idea. I think they'd reduce prices and get more innovation by releasing (selling) a quantity to western kids though. Not because I think "western kids" are any better than the target users but simply because they are more used to our western technology and have better resources to program it in the short term, just an idea.

    -John-
    John, I believe when a "western" kid buys an OLPC, it includes the price/sponsorship for an additional OLPC going to a poorer kid that can't afford it.
  • John, I believe when a "western" kid buys an OLPC, it includes the price/sponsorship for an additional OLPC going to a poorer kid that can't afford it.
    Thanks, I assumed this would be the case but it's nice to have it confirmed. The FAQ seems to suggest I'll never be able to buy one which is a shame, I think it will help bring awareness to our children too especially if they are marketed for what they are in the developed nations not just a cheap laptop (or hopefully not too cheap). Sad though it might be it could almost be a statement of "look I've got one of those green computers, we helped a poorer nation" It would be very easy for a school to raise money for these, I'm sure I could get my local school (where I have three of my children) to raise enough money to buy dozens of these laptops, the school could then have a link to the "developing" school and they could swap photos and messages. If there's anyone from laptop.org or OLPC reading this please let me know if this could be done, I'd like to pioneer it in my local school, email me at John at John T Davies dot com (middle bit is all one word). -John-
  • Nice idea, but why as usual the "developing world" when most schoolchildren in the US and EU have no access to computers (or at most one per classroom and maybe one at home)? Education in the west has declined due to slashed budgets and ever reduced curiculums until it's hardly worth sending your children to school at all because they won't learn anything anyway. Let's clean up our own house before trying to improve the rest of the world...
  • if you're talking about *true* misery, where the priority is food, then in the poorest parts of africa, cheap cell phones are much more used than computers, and then OLPC will be exchanged for food quickly and won't last. See http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6411905727447752181&q=user%3A%22Google+engEDU%22&hl=en to solve this, read "the end of misery", by Jeffrey Sachs but if you're talking about poor people, that need revolutionary solutions, but that the first need is not food, "the bottom of the piramid", then we're talking about something like this: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6671271293722797569&q=user%3A%22Google+engEDU%22+poor&hl=en and then, OLPC may work. then, read "the bottom of the piramid", by mr. Pralahad both excellent videos and books ;-) cheers Kenji
  • I mean "The End of Poverty", sorry
  • ...Education in the west has declined due to slashed budgets and ever reduced curiculums until it's hardly worth sending your children to school at all because they won't learn anything anyway...
    I would say that quality of education has little to do with budget or anything at all. It is cultural shift: bar is set to low and therefore school does not stimulate capable children, on the contrary it dumb them down because best children feel that they can get "grade" with no efforts at all and also they see that quite mediocre work gets praised and get the same grade as theirs. This article hints much deeper problems with education. For me the OLPT is among the most irritating and stupid initiatives and ideas around.
  • Nice idea, but why as usual the "developing world" when most schoolchildren in the US and EU have no access to computers (or at most one per classroom and maybe one at home)?

    Education in the west has declined due to slashed budgets and ever reduced curiculums until it's hardly worth sending your children to school at all because they won't learn anything anyway.

    Let's clean up our own house before trying to improve the rest of the world...
    This is, if I may say so, rather naive. The fact that some developed nations don't have one laptop per child in the schools is a choice and in most cases a political one. We could easily supply them with little change to our schooling costs. Most or our children go home to a laptop, computer games and several dozen books. We also have a wealth of books in our schools, many of them one per child, an atlas for example. These laptops are not just a toy they will replace, in many cases the books that these students don't have. The goal here is to reduce the gap, our "house" is the planet Earth and we have to stop thinking about me, me, me. -John-
  • well[ Go to top ]

    I think that in developing countries there are things that children need more than <a href="http://www.portableuniverse.co.uk/" title="cheap laptops">cheap laptops</a>.

  • hm[ Go to top ]

    I think that in developing countries there are things that children need more than cheap laptops