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Richard Stallman on OLPC

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2007-08-07

RMS posted on his blog yesterday about the OLPC
Can We Rescue OLPC from Windows?
now what?
so I guess their commitment isn't true anymore
XO is built from free and open-source software. Our commitment to software freedom gives children the opportunity to use their laptops on their own terms. While we do not expect every child to become a programmer, we do not want any ceiling imposed on those children who choose to modify their machines. We are using open-document formats for much the same reason: transparency is empowering. The children—and their teachers—will have the freedom to reshape, reinvent, and reapply their software, hardware, and content.
is this the kind of culture we should be promoting to those kids anyway?
please digg it if u think this is important

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
I've read about XO possibly

I've read about XO possibly moving to Windows by default and it's a really sad thing. I completely agree with RMS here that in essence if they're gonna be producing new laptops without Free Software on them they might as well stop producing them. Doing Windows now after they've done so much good in promoting Free Software would just ruin the project's reputation as one which promotes freedom.

Nice link btw, the "do not lend and copy" culture is definitely not what we're after.

I dugg this.


Joined: 2008-05-01
Slashdot discussion

There was a very interesting disscussion about Negropontes statements and the future of OLPC on Slashdot a few days ago:

Among the more interesting comments were posts from Bruce Perens, who took a very sceptical view, a support volunteer on the OLPC project, giving some insider perspective on the case, and a person familiar with the Taiwanese tech industry, explaining how the OLPC has impacted the OEM computer production.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
I gotta say I wasn't aware

I gotta say I wasn't aware OLPC had this much of an impact on the industry as a whole. So it made waves affecting textbook publishers, manufacturers in Taiwan and of course, through it all Microsoft itself. The big problem is.. OLPC that is dedicated to doing its thing with Free Software marks a big enough Free Software win for Microsoft and others whose interests are tied to the generally proprietary digital industry to just sit and let it happen. The problem is, apparently OLPC is not so dedicated to Free Software as we mistakenly believed.

Meanwhile, Negroponte is apparently playing some sort of a pragmatist. However, his comparing Sugar with Firefox and asserting that a Windows port of Firefox greatly helped increase its market share strikes me as odd. I mean, isn't the priority here to bring constructive educational tool to these kids, not to increase the market share of Sugar here in the western world? I might not have deep enough understanding of everything about OLPC so correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see Negroponte acting really rationally...

I'd say that it should be those kids and their parents who should be given a conscious choice about what kind of a platform would they prefer, a restricted one coming with a Windows bundle or an open one coming with GNU/Linux. Of course, this might be impractical so the decision ends up in the hands of those involved in the OLPC project. But then I think it is their responsibility, if they truly care about their posed goal, to pick and decidedly stick with a platform that brings LESS rather than more potential restrictions - and Windows just can't be that.

If OLPC goes with Windows, and even worse if this results in some DRM restrictions being pulled through Windows on those laptops, then that's just gonna be wrong and I wouldn't support such a project.

Joined: 2007-08-07
New President for OLPC

New President for OLPC [slashdot]
'The OLPC mission is a great endeavor, but the mission is to get the technology in the hands of as many children as possible. Whether that technology is from one operating system or another, one piece of hardware or another, or supplied or supported by one consulting company or another doesn't matter. It's about getting it into kids' hands. Anything that is contrary to that objective, and limits that objective, is against what the program stands for.'
so, infecting children with proprietary software doesn't conflict with the project's mission now.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Quite outrageous. This

Quite outrageous.

This seems like classical narrow mindedness. His logic apparently goes like this. The goal is to get the technology to as many children as possible. Microsoft has biggest market share and Windows is all these ignorant ministers know of, so it must follow that going with Windows means greatest number of children getting technology.

And I thought they were in the business of offering something new. I guess it didn't cross Negropontes mind to actually tell these officials about GNU/Linux and why is it being used and why is it better for them. I wouldn't be surprised if Negroponte ends up, in some of those countries, being a scapegoat for delivering these kids to the imperial hands of Microsoft and the USA. Well done. Sad

Joined: 2007-08-07
Groklaw brought up the

Groklaw brought up the issue too
it's said there's a fork underway, I'll try searching for that.

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