The One Laptop Per Child program attempts to bring an affordable pricing model to laptops in developing countries, in this blog entry Rick Ross discusses the merits behind the project and the importance of having Java play a leading role in such a project.
The goal of the OLPC project is to develop a low-cost laptop that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children, especially in poverty-stricken, developing nations. No doubt there are legions of naysayers with compelling criticisms: the OLPC laptop is too expensive, too little ram, no hard drive, no CD, too slow, etc. Whatever your complaint, if you don't see the positive potential of this first effort you're missing the forest for the trees.
Is there some legal barrier or intellectual property problem that makes this impossible? When OLPC was being organized they were only willing to use free software that is governed by the GPL, which Java was not. Since then, however, Sun has made good on its promise to open source Java, and the entire platform is now available under the GPL. There may be some other legal or political impediment, but the newly GPL'ed Java code should have cleared at least one major hurdle. Java is now available as free, open source software under the same basic terms as the rest of what OLPC uses.
Java belongs on the OLPC laptop. Let's work together as a community and put it there.
Read Rick's entire post: http://www.javalobby.org/articles/java-olpc