[Air-l] One Laptop Per Child

Wojciech Gryc wojciech at gmail.com
Wed Jun 7 11:33:13 PDT 2006

Hi everyone,

I've been following this discussion and also have a few comments. I'm going
to quote from various comments, just to raise some points of clarification.

The issue of technology has been raised a lot in the previous e-mails. So
here's my question: for word processing, Internet, and basic educational
tools, do you actually need a high end laptop? No. Why spend $1000 on
laptops or desktop computers when you can build a cheaper model that gets
the job done, and offer it at a lower price?

"Apparently when Linux was used in Africa... vast amount of time configuring
and learning to use the systems was required so users gave up and went to

I run an organization (http://www.fiveminutestomidnight.org) and we have
Linux projects in Africa. The difference between the $100 laptop and Linux
is that the $100 laptop isn't meant to be upgraded or have new software
installed... Thus, you just got rid of most of the complex technical issues
related to running Linux. Running OpenOffice or FireFox in Linux is easy.

"While the production plan is pretty clear.  there are no, and i mean this
very clearly, no plans to educate people on how to use this system."

This is why children are being targeted. If you listen to Negroponte's MIT
speech (http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/313/), he addresses this directly.
Also, if you visit developing nations that have cyber cafes (any city,
really), you'll notice that a large portion of the youth already know how to
use instant messengers, e-mail, and basic office tools. The idea of
targeting children is that they can experiment and do more independent
learning. Sure, this misses people at the lowest level of the socioeconomic
ladder, who've never used computers and who don't have the ability to attend
school, but you have to start somewhere.

"My theory is that the majority of these will be destroyed or repurposed in
a few years.  I look at the case and see that it can keep rain off my head,
or used as a shovel,or otherwise used effectively to improve a persons

>From laptop pilots in the past (including Negroponte's), it's been shown
that such laptops are beneficial because households can use them to have
light during the night, when electricity is out. People have been doing
this, and it makes the entire family value the laptop (and its functioning
state :) ). One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has no problem with such alternative
uses, from what I've heard.


Five Minutes to Midnight:
Youth on human rights and current affairs

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