Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Why I switched to the OLPC—and why I dropped it

Filed under
OLPC
OSS

The One Laptop Per Child project, launched by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte in 2003, was supposed to lead millions of children around the world to information technology and freedom. The plans aimed for low cost, enabling many children to use the machines, and free software, so they would have freedom while using them. I thought it was a good idea; I even planned to use one myself when I found in the OLPC’s promise of free software a way to escape the proprietary startup programs that all commercial laptops used.

But just as I was switching to an OLPC, the project backed away from its commitment to freedom and allowed the machine to become a platform for running Windows, a non-free operating system.

What makes this issue so important, and OLPC’s retreat from free software so unfortunate, is that the “free” in free software refers to freedom of knowledge and action, not to price. A program (whatever job it does) is free software if you, the user, have the four essential freedoms:

Rest Here




re: OLPC

Only Stallman would think screwing poor kids out of a free computer "a good thing".

Of course the whole OLPC project was a joke (and or scam) but that's another rant.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

  • diction: The words you choose and why
  • style: Similar idea, different direction
  • SMS based Cosmos Browser for the developing countries
    Browsing the internet has different meaning to different people. While to some the web is a source of entertainment, to others it is a valuable and source of learning. Sadly enough, the internet is not widely available and easily affordable everywhere in the globe. Slow network speed is another problem. Developer Stefan Aleksic of ColdSauce tries to find a solution in an SMS (text) based browser for the third world countries which are yet to see the internet as we know it. He has named it the Cosmos Browser. If you ever used elinks on Linux, you know how efficient and low-bandwidth text only browsing can be. Of course, it is not meant for visiting a website for downloading wallpapers, but it is more than sufficient if you want to read some information from the web. Cosmos will work on text and will not need any data plan or WiFi.
  • Keyboard Modifiers State indicator For Ubuntu: Xkbmod Indicator

today's howtos

Leftovers: Gaming

Sorry, Windows 9 Fans, This Is How Multiple Desktops Should Work – Video

The Linux platform has always taken pride in this cool feature. Having multiple desktops is a great way to increase the productivity and there are numerous means to implement it. Lots of Linux distributions have this option, which is used in various ways. Read more