Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Collapse of the OLPC

As Mod-bloggers are aware, I have been a fan of the OLPC concept and was a buyer into their Get-One-Give-One program. I also posted a scathing review of the actual laptop I received. The hardware was good, but the software was almost unusable. Since then, I have tried out the laptop several other times for "productive" uses and have found the software that ships with the unit to be buggy, slow, and hard-to-use even for simple tasks. The best software has been software I loaded outside the Sugar interface and ran from the command-line. I am now officially an OLPC skeptic. But I kept hope alive in that I am not the target audience - third-world children are - so it is possible I simply am trying to use a screw driver to hammer in a nail.

But it appears I am not alone. There have been a myriad of defections from the project, most governments are going with competitors like the Asus EeePC and Intel ClassmatePC, and Nicolas Negroponte is now pushing the OLPC toward a slimmed-down version of Windows XP... this after rejecting an offer of a free MacOS X because it was "not open enough."

The OLPC was a noble undertaking and has spawned a whole new ecosystem of "lightweight laptops", but it is time to face reality: the OLPC is dying and will not rise from its ashes.

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