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PCs for the poor: Ultimate solution or scam of the century?

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OLPC

At the 2005 World Economic Forum in Switzerland a soft-spoken academic made an announcement that sent seismic waves across the computer industry. Nicholas Negroponte, then director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, spoke of making laptops available at US$100 for schoolchildren in developing nations.

The price was not the only big news. Negroponte named companies that had agreed to collaborate on what would become the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

Notably, the list did not include Microsoft and Intel, the world's largest software and microchip manufacturers, respectively. Instead, the laptop would use a processor from Advanced Micro Devices and an operating system based on Linux, whose code is freely available for anyone to modify and distribute.

Full Story.

Complete Scam

We could provide all the worlds school children with a hammer for much less then $100/child but that won't end the worlds housing problems either.

Without the infrastructure to teach those kids how to use a computer (or a hammer) it's a complete waste of time and money. Plus the $100 price tag doesn't reflect the cost of the project overhead, which will be many many many times the $100/unit cost.

Finally, most of the target Countries are rife with corruption, with governments so unstable they can't even figure out what to call themselves this week, let alone who's really in charge. So it's highly unlikely that the figures in power (this week) will pass by the opportunity to exploit these types of programs to their own benefit, and the kids will once again be left literally in the dirt.

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