| 19 Nov 2005 @ 15:27, by ming|
BoingBoing, One Laptop for every Child in the Developing World:
Nicholas Negroponte and other MIT luminaries have been working on a project to build a sub-$100, hand-cranked WiFi laptop, with the objective of supplying one apiece to every child in the developing world. They've done lots of cool stuff along the way -- for example, they've remained committed to providing entirely free and open operating systems for the machines, so that their owners can tinker with them, improve on them, and publish their improvements (they turned down an offer from Apple to supply OS X with every machine because it fails this test -- parts of Apple's OS are proprietary and can't lawfully be modified by users).
Now they've actually demoed a working prototype for the Secretary General of the UN, which cost just a hair more than the final price: $110. Wired News has a short interview with Negroponte on the milestone:
WN: Is the goal literally to make computers available to every child that wants one in the world?
Negroponte: It's every child in the world whether they want one or not. They may not know they want one.
WN: Do you have any thoughts on what the long-term impact of giving all these kids a programming environment and an open-source ethic might be?
Negroponte: Those are two different questions. Giving the kids a programming environment of any sort, whether it's a tool like Squeak or Scratch or Logo to write programs in a childish way -- and I mean that in the most generous sense of the word, that is, playing with and building things -- is one of the best ways to learn. Particularly to learn about thinking and algorithms and problem solving and so forth.
And providing the tools for some people -- it's going to be a very limited subset (who will use them) -- to develop software that will be redistributed and versioned and so forth out into the world is also important. It's part of the whole open-source movement.