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Posted by kaori 04/06/2009 @ 21:12

Tags : olpc, computers, technology

News headlines
Leveraging Facebook Social Graph for OLPC - Tectonic
There is no doubt the web is a powerful tool. And when this emerging social element is added it only creates more connectivity, virality and overall engagement with those who use it. This modern web is all about people, this is why we call it a "social...
Apple hires former OLPC security architect - CNET News
Krstic was the architect of the Bitfrost security specification used by OLPC for passwords, hard drive encryption, machine authentication, security updates, and prevention of data loss. He will be working on core operating system security in Cupertino....
South Carolina's OLPC initiative: money well-spent? - ZDNet
South Carolina is looking to revive the dying OLPC brand by providing as many as 50000 students with little PCs. According to OStatic, In order to receive a laptop, children need to give a small monetary donation — the project coordinators say a dollar...
OLPC goes the full Fedora - The H
Developer Chris Ball has announced that the upcoming OLPC XO-1.5 laptop software release will be based on Fedora 11. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is a non-profit organisation who's mission is to provide children across the world with low...
Pixel Qi Promises Cheap, Readable, Low-Power Displays - Wired News
Now, Jepsen wants to take her OLPC experience — and her 48 display-related patents — to market with a for-profit company. Pixel Qi's displays called 3Qi will operate in three settings: a full-color, bright, conventional LCD mode; a very low-power,...
The Loongson-2 MIPS Lemote Yeeloong Netbook - OS News
Some Linux models are still sold by some vendors, among whom Asus, which more or less started selling in this OLPC-inspired genre of laptops. For the GNU/Linux fans among us, mini laptops have remained an unfulfilled promise. Weren't we supposed to now...
RE: Battery, nd a few more questions? - OS News
That is where the original XO OLPC used to be. So it is possible, but don't expect too much from this. It too is a waste of money, as the same panel put onto a roof has 10 times higher energy output than if attached to your laptop....
Rwanda: OLPC Targets to Distribute 120000 Laptops By Year End - All Africa ICT
Kigali — At least 120000 laptops by the end of this year are to be received by children across the country under the government-championed One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) programme. This was disclosed over the weekend by the programme's core team of four....
Dell 10.1" Latitude 2100 Netbook, For Education - Hot Hardware
One could say it was just a matter of time, but it seems as if Dell is following in the footsteps (in principle, at least) of the likes of OLPC (with its XO) and Intel (with its Classmate PC). Today, the company responsible for the gorgeous Studio XPS...


OLPC XO-1 original design proposal

The XO-1, previously known as the $100 Laptop, Children's Machine, and 2B1, is an inexpensive subnotebook computer intended to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world, to provide them with access to knowledge, and opportunities to "explore, experiment and express themselves" (constructionist learning). The laptop is developed by the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and manufactured by Quanta Computer.

The subnotebooks are designed for sale to government-education systems which then give each primary school child their own laptop. Pricing was set to start at $188 in 2006, with a stated goal to reach the $100 mark in 2008. In actual implementation, prices have remained $199 each for both the winter 2007 and winter 2008 Give One, Get One campaigns (and thus $399 per pair).

These rugged, low-power computers use flash memory instead of a hard drive, and come with a distribution of Linux derived from RedHat's Fedora as their pre-installed operating system, which comes stored in both a copy on the flash memory and in the on-board ROM backup. Mobile ad-hoc networking via 802.11s WiFi mesh networking protocol is used to allow many machines to share Internet access as long as at least one of them can see and connect to a router or other access point.

This computer design helped to define the emerging (2007) category of Netbooks (subnotebooks).

The first early prototype was unveiled by the project's founder Nicholas Negroponte and then-United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan on November 16, 2005 at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, Tunisia. The device shown was a rough prototype using a standard development board. Negroponte estimated that the screen alone required three more months of development. The first working prototype was demonstrated at the project's Country Task Force Meeting on May 23, 2006. The production version is expected to have a larger display screen in the same size package.

Approximately 500 developer boards (Alpha-1) were distributed in mid-2006; 875 working prototypes (Beta 1) were delivered in late 2006; 2400 Beta-2 machines were distributed at the end of February 2007; full-scale production started November 6, 2007. Quanta Computer, the project's contract manufacturer, said in February 2007 that it had confirmed orders for one million units. Quanta indicated that it could ship five million to ten million units that year because seven nations had committed to buy the XO-1 for their schoolchildren: Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand, and Uruguay. Quanta plans to offer machines very similar to the XO-1 on the open market.

The OLPC project originally stated that a consumer version of the XO laptop was not planned. The project later established, in 2007 the laptopgiving.org website for outright donations and for a "Give 1 Get 1" offer valid (but only to the United States, its territories, and Canadian addresses) from November 12, 2007 until December 31, 2007. For each computer purchased at a cost of $399, an XO is also sent to a child in a developing nation.As of November 2008, OLPC has restarted the G1G1 program through Amazon.com.

On May 20th, 2008, OLPC announced the next generation of XO, OLPC XO-2. In late 2008, the NYC Department of Education began a project to purchase large numbers of XO computers for use by New York schoolchildren.

The XO-1 is designed to be low-cost, small, durable, and efficient. It is shipped with a slimmed-down version of Fedora GNU/Linux and a GUI called Sugar that is intended to help young children collaborate. The XO-1 includes a video camera, a microphone, long-range Wi-Fi, and a hybrid stylus/touch pad. Human power and solar power sources are available, in addition to allowing operation far from a commercial power grid (which can also be used to power the laptop).

Various use models had been explored by OLPC with the help of Design Continuum and Fuseproject, including: laptop, e-book, theatre, simulation, tote, and tablet architectures. The current design, by Fuseproject, uses a transformer hinge to morph between laptop, e-book, and router modes.

In keeping with its goals of robustness and low power consumption, the design of the laptop intentionally omits all motor-driven moving parts; it has no hard drive, no optical (CD/DVD) media, no floppy drives and no fans. An ATA interface is unnecessary due to the lack of hard drive. There is also no PC card slot, although an SD slot is available, as well as USB ports.

A built-in hand-crank generator, making it self-powered equipment, was part of the original design, but Negroponte stated at a 2006 LinuxWorld talk that it was no longer integrated into the laptop itself, but that a similar device could someday be optionally available as a hand- or foot-operated generator built into a separate power unit.

The laptop will consume about 2 W of power during normal use, far less than the 10 W to 45 W of conventional laptops. With build 656 power consumption is between 5 and 8 watts. (Measured on G1G1 laptop) Future software builds should meet the target of 2 watts.

In e-book mode, which is still under development and has not yet been released, all hardware sub-systems are intended to be powered down except the monochrome display. When the user moves to a different page the system will wake up, draw the new page on the display and then go back to sleep. Power consumption in this future "e-book mode" is estimated to be 0.3 W to 0.8 W.

The first-generation OLPC laptops have a novel low-cost LCD. Later generations of the OLPC laptop are expected to use low-cost, low-power and high-resolution color displays with an appearance similar to electronic paper.

The display is the most expensive component in most laptops. In April 2005, Negroponte hired Mary Lou Jepsen—who was interviewing to join the Media Arts and Sciences faculty at the MIT Media Lab in September 2008—as OLPC Chief Technology Officer. Jepsen developed a new display for the first-generation OLPC laptop, inspired by the design of small LCDs used in portable DVD players, which she estimated would cost about $35. In the OLPC XO-1, the screen is estimated to be the second most expensive component (after the CPU and chipset).

Jepsen has described the removal of the filters that color the RGB subpixels as the critical design innovation in the new LCD. Instead of using subtractive color filters, the display uses a plastic diffraction grating and lenses on the rear of the LCD to illuminate each pixel. This grating pattern is stamped using the same technology used to make DVDs. The grating splits the light from the white backlight into a spectrum. The red, green and blue components are diffracted into the correct positions to illuminate the corresponding pixel with R, G or B. This innovation results in a much brighter display for a given amount of backlight illumination: while the color filters in a regular display typically absorb 85% of the light that hits them, this display absorbs little of that light. Most LCD screens use cold cathode fluorescent lamp backlights which are fragile, difficult or impossible to repair, require a high voltage power supply, are relatively power-hungry, and account for 50% of the screens' cost (sometimes 60%). The LED backlight in the XO-1 is easily replaceable, rugged, and inexpensive.

The remainder of the LCD uses existing display technology and can be made using existing manufacturing equipment. Even the masks can be made using combinations of existing materials and processes.

When lit primarily from the rear with the white LED backlight, the display shows a color image composed of both RGB and grayscale information. When lit primarily from the front by ambient light, for example from the sun, the display shows a monochromatic (aka black and white) image composed of just the grayscale information.

In color mode (aka lit primarily from the rear), the display does not use the common RGB pixel geometry for liquid crystal computer displays, in which each pixel contains three tall thin rectangles of the primary colors. Instead, the XO-1 display provides one color for each pixel. The colors align along diagonals that run from upper-right to lower left (see diagram on the right). To reduce the color artifacts caused by this pixel geometry, the color component of the image is blurred by the display controller as the image is sent to the screen. Despite the color blurring, the display still has high resolution for its physical size; normal displays as of February 2007 put about 588(H)×441(V) to 882(H)×662(V) pixels in this amount of physical area and support subpixel rendering for slightly higher perceived resolution. A Philips Research study measured the XO-1 display's perceived color resolution as effectively 984(H)×738(V). A conventional liquid crystal display with the same number of green pixels (green carries most brightness or luminance information for human eyes) as the OLPC XO-1 would be 693×520. Unlike a standard RGB LCD, resolution of the XO-1 display varies with angle. Resolution is greatest from upper-right to lower left, and lowest from upper-left to lower-right. Images which approach or exceed this resolution will lose detail and gain color artifacts. The display gains resolution when in bright light; this comes at the expense of color (as the backlight is overpowered) and color resolution can never reach the full 200 dpi sharpness of grayscale mode because of the blur which is applied to images in color mode.

IEEE 802.11b support will be provided using a Wi-Fi “Extended Range” chip set. Jepsen has said the wireless chip set will be run at a low bit rate, 2 Mbit/s maximum rather than the usual higher speed 5.5 Mbit/s or 11 Mbit/s to minimize power consumption. The conventional IEEE 802.11b system only handles traffic within a local cloud of wireless devices in a manner similar to an Ethernet network. Each node transmits and receives its own data, but does not route packets between two nodes that cannot communicate directly. The OLPC laptop will use IEEE 802.11s to form the wireless mesh network.

Whenever the laptop is powered on it will participate in a mobile ad-hoc network (MANET) with each node operating in a peer-to-peer fashion with other laptops it can hear, forwarding packets across the cloud. If a computer in the cloud has access to the Internet—either directly or indirectly—then all computers in the cloud are able to share that access. The data rate across this network will not be high; however, similar networks, such as the store and forward Motoman project have supported email services to 1000 schoolchildren in Cambodia, according to Negroponte. The data rate should be sufficient for asynchronous network applications (such as email) to communicate outside the cloud; interactive uses, such as web browsing, or high-bandwidth applications, such as video streaming should be possible inside the cloud. The IP assignment for the meshed network is intended to be automatically configured, so no server administrator or an administration of IP addresses is needed.

Building a MANET is still untested under the OLPC's current configuration and hardware environment. Although one goal of the laptop is that all of its software be open source, the source code for this routing protocol is currently closed source. While there are open-source alternatives such as OLSR or B.A.T.M.A.N., none of these options is yet available running at the data-link layer (Layer 2) on the Wi-Fi subsystem's co-processor; this is critical to OLPC's power efficiency scheme. Whether Marvell Technology Group, the producer of the wireless chip set and owner of the current meshing protocol software, will make the firmware open source is still an unanswered question. But this matter will become clearer once the production is in full swing.

Yves Behar is the chief designer of the present XO shell. The shell of the laptop is resistant to dirt and moisture, and is constructed with 2 mm thick plastic (50% thicker than typical laptops). It contains a pivoting, reversible display, movable rubber WiFi antennas, and a sealed rubber-membrane keyboard.

More than ten different keyboards have been laid out, to suit local needs to match the standard keyboard for the country in which a laptop is intended. Around half of these have been manufactured for prototype machines. There are parts of the world which do not have a standard keyboard representing their language. As Negroponte states this is “because there's no real commercial interest in making a keyboard”. One example of where the OLPC has bridged this gap is in creating an Amharic keyboard for Ethiopia.

Negroponte has demanded that the keyboard not contain a caps lock key, which frees up keyboard space for new keys such as a future “view source” key.

Beneath the keyboard is a large area that resembles a very wide touchpad that Jepsen referred to as the “mousepad”. The central third is a capacitive sensor that can be used with a finger; the full width is a resistive sensor which, while not yet operational, may someday be used with a stylus.

The laptop will use the Sugar graphical user interface, written in Python, on top of the X Window System and the Matchbox window manager. This interface is not based on the typical desktop metaphor but presents an iconic view of programs and documents and a map-like view of nearby connected users. The current active program is displayed in full-screen mode. Much of the core Sugar interface uses icons, bypassing localization issues. Sugar is also defined as having no folders present in the UI.

Steve Jobs had offered Mac OS X free of charge for use in the laptop, but according to Seymour Papert, a professor emeritus at MIT who is one of the initiative's founders, the designers want an operating system that can be tinkered with: “We declined because it’s not open source.” Therefore Linux was chosen. However, after a deal with Microsoft, the laptop will now be offered with Windows XP along with an open source alternative.

The laptop's security architecture, known as Bitfrost, was publicly introduced in February 2007. No passwords will be required for ordinary use of the machine. Programs are assigned certain bundles of rights at install time which govern their access to resources; users can later add more rights. Optionally, the laptops can be configured to request leases from a central server and to stop functioning when these leases expire; this is designed as a theft-prevention mechanism.

The pre-8.20 software versions were criticized for bad wireless conectivity and other minor issues.

Xfce is a lightweight alternative GUI to Sugar. Being only 33 MB (using yum) it does not take up much of an XO's storage space - less than GNOME or KDE. According to the OLPC Wiki: "Xfce is a lightweight but powerful desktop environment that will work well on the XO" It is by far the most common alternative GUI. Information on installation is available at: OLPC Wiki: Xfce.The XO is also now available dual boot and can run a version of MS Windows. Ubuntu Linux can run on the machine.

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The OLPC Active Antenna will help build the mesh network.

The OLPC XS is a Linux-based OS (a Fedora-based distribution) designed to be installed on generic low-to-midrange mildly ruggedized servers. Initial plans of building a custom server geared for the role have been postponed, OLPC however offers hardware recommendations for the system, and plans to support the XO hardware running as a server for very small schools.

OLPC XS provides XO machines with network connectivity for backups, anti-theft leases, web browsing, system, content updates, asynchronous collaboration tools such as Moodle, etc.

The (currently on hold) plans call for an energy-efficient design that does not require moving parts for basic functionality. It will be mildly ruggedized.

The XS Server's CPU will be a PowerPC G4.

The system will boot from flash memory, which is far less likely to fail than a hard disk. Hard disks will be provided for storing a library of local content and for making backups of the children's data. The XS is intended to ship with one hard disk installed, and a second to serve as either a spare or for increased capacity. The second is not installed by default because this would consume extra power.

There will be three 802.11s wireless mesh connections. Each will be a USB device with a 3 meter (10 foot) cable, allowing good antenna placement (high, unobstructed) and good server placement (dry, secure).

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Classmate PC

Intel Classmate PC

The Classmate PC, formerly known as Eduwise, is Intel's entry into the market for low-cost personal computers for children in the developing world. It is in some respects similar to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) trade association's Children's Machine (XO), which has a similar target market. Although made for profit, the production of the ClassmatePC is considered an Information and Communication Technologies for Development project. The device falls into a newly defined category of Netbooks.

Intel’s World Ahead Program was established May 2006. The program designed a platform for low cost laptops that third party manufacturers could use to produce low cost machines under their own respective brands.

The Classmate PC is a reference design by Intel. Intel does not build the subnotebooks, but does produce the chips that power them. The reference design is then used by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide to build their own branded Classmate PC.

Intel announced that its device would run either Linux or Windows XP Professional. Intel is not using Windows XP Embedded as initially planned. Intel has been actively working with various international and local Linux distributions in various countries.

Intel has worked with Mandriva to customize their Linux distribution for Classmate PC.

The Intel Classmate PC is available in many parts of the world. In some cases, the laptops are rebranded and sold through local vendors. ClassmatePCs are sold in the U.S. through Amazon.com and shopmanda.com.

In Latin America, contingent upon the receipt of sufficient international fund monies, the Mexican and Brazilian governments are evaluating whether to buy Intel's or the OLPC's laptop. Regardless of the hardware chosen, the Brazilian government announced that it would use the Linux operating system. It has been confirmed that Intel will be shipping the Laptops with Mandriva Linux, Discovery 2007 edition as well as the Classmate 2.0 Linux distribution by the Brazilian company Metasys.

Recently, Venezuelan government ordered 1 million Classmates from Portugal, one of several bilateral deals that Portuguese officials valued at more than US$3 billion.

Oscar Clarke, President of Intel of Brasil, delivered thirty production units to the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC), for evaluation by SERPRO (Federal Data Processing Service of Brazil).

It is currently available in Argentina through EXO.

In Africa, Intel has also started shipping to Libya as part of its deal of supplying 150,000 units.

In Asia, it has been available in Indonesia since early March 2008, through two local brands: Axioo and Zyrex. The Zyrex brand, called Anoa, is a rebranded Classmate PC equipped with the Intel ULV 900 MHz (400 MHz FSB) processor, 512 MB RAM, 2 GB SSD, WiFi, LAN, 7 inch screen, 2 USB ports, card reader. The Classmate PC is available in Linux or Windows XP operating system, with the XP version incurring extra cost to cover the licensing.

The Classmate PC is currently available in India as HCL Infosystems Mileap-X series. This comes with Edubuntu pre-installed.

In late 2007 a deal was made with the Vietnamese government to supply local schools with a special Classmate PC for discounted price. As this version is loaded with Hacao Linux, the government was able to avoid operating system licensing fees.

The second generation of the device will be available in Europe and USA, in the hope that more sales will drive down the price.

Classmate PC is available from CMS Computers in the United Kingdom and most other European nations.

On the 20th of May 2008 Italian company Olidata announced the release of a modded version of the Classmate PC named Jumpc. This version was first on sale in Italy, but by the end of the year it was also available in many European countries.

On the 31st of July 2008, Intel, JP Sá Couto (the producer of the Tsunami Portuguese computers) and the Portuguese Government announced the production of the "Magalhães" (a tribute to Portuguese navigator Maggellan), a Classmate-based computer that will be produced in Portugal (by JP Sá Couto) and distributed to Portuguese children in primary education for 50€ (free or at 20€ for students on social aid), as well as being exported to other countries.

Intel Classmate PC (the 7" version) is available in Greece, and sold as the InfoQuest "Quest Classmate", with a blue-coloured exterior. Its specifications include 2 GB storage, Windows XP Professional, no hard drive, no camera, and SD card support. It is sold by various retailers, including MediaMarkt.

The goals of the Classmate PC project and the OLPC project have some differences. The Classmate PC aims to provide technology that fits into the larger, primarily Windows-based computing environment. Users in this environment learn about the technologies that currently dominate the computer world, but have the risk of vendor lock-in and lose flexibility by using proprietary and closed-source software. On the other hand, XO aims to provide children with a free and open-source software environment they can modify for themselves at no additional cost and that allows them to "learn through doing".

While the OLPC uses hardware and software highly customized for the educational environment, Intel has argued that the developing world wants to have generic PCs. In December 2005, Intel publicly dismissed the XO as a 'gadget'.

Intel joined the OLPC project in July 2007 and was widely expected to work on a version of the project's laptop that used an Intel chip, only to pull out of the project in January 2008. Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said it had pulled out because the OLPC organization had asked it to stop backing rival low-cost laptops, while OLPC's founder Nicholas Negroponte has accused Intel of underhand sales tactics and trying to block contracts to buy his machines.

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One Laptop per Child

OLPC logo.png

The One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc. (OLPC) is a U.S. non-profit organization set up to oversee the creation of an affordable educational device for use in the developing world. Its mission is "To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning." Its current focus is on the development, construction and deployment of the XO-1 laptop.

The organization is led by chairman Nicholas Negroponte, and Charles Kane, President and Chief Operating Officer. OLPC is a 501(c)(3) organization registered in Delaware, USA and is funded by member organizations, including AMD, Brightstar Corporation, eBay, Google, Marvell, News Corporation, SES, Nortel Networks, and Red Hat. Each company has donated two million dollars.

OLPC has generated a great deal of interest in the Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), in education and One to one computing fields of research.

To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.

It's an education project, not a laptop project.

The goal of the foundation is to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves. To that end, OLPC is designing a laptop, educational software, manufacturing base, and distribution system to provide children outside of the first-world with otherwise unavailable technological learning opportunities.

OLPC is based on constructionist learning theories pioneered by Seymour Papert, Alan Kay, and also on the principles expressed in Nicholas Negroponte’s book Being Digital. These three individuals plus the several sponsor organizations are active participants in OLPC.

Many concepts preceding the OLPC project were discussed and explored at a number of conferences. The 2B1 Conference, held in 1997 at the Media Lab brought together educators from developing countries around the world to "break down world barriers of race, age, gender, language, class, economics and geography." The most immediate outcome of that conference was the establishment of the Nation1 project and the Junior Summit, held the following year, although many of the sessions at 2B1 helped inform OLPC.

Both the project and the organization were announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2005 and were created by faculty members of the MIT Media Lab. The OLPC project gained much more attention when Nicholas Negroponte and Kofi Annan unveiled a working prototype of the Children's Machine 1 (CM1) on November 16, 2005 at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, Tunisia. Negroponte showed two prototypes of the CM1 laptop at the second phase of the World Summit: a non working physical model and a tethered version using an external board and separate keyboard. The device shown was a rough prototype using a standard development board. Negroponte estimated that the screen alone required three more months of development. The first working prototype was demonstrated at the project's Country Task Force Meeting on May 23, 2006. The production version is expected to have a larger display screen in the same size package. The laptops were originally scheduled to be available by early 2007, but production actually began in November, 2007.

At the 2006 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announced it would back the laptop. UNDP released a statement saying they would work with OLPC to deliver “technology and resources to targeted schools in the least developed countries”.

The project originally aimed for a price of 100 US dollars. In May 2006, Negroponte told the Red Hat's annual user summit: “It is a floating price. We are a nonprofit organization. We have a target of $100 by 2008, but probably it will be $135, maybe $140.” When the laptop started mass production in November 2007, the unit price was estimated to be $188 when bought by thousand units. At the same time, the laptop was made available under the "Give 1 Get 1" program at $199 for a single unit, or $399 for 2 units.

Mary Lou Jepsen was CTO until her resignation at the end of 2007 to found a new company, Pixel Qi, to continue the development and commercialization of ideas from the XO.

Intel was a member of the association for a brief period in 2007. It resigned its membership on 3 January 2008, citing disagreements with requests from OLPC's founder, Nicholas Negroponte, for Intel to stop dumping their Classmate PCs.

Ivan Krstić (former OLPC Director of Security Architecture) resigned in late February, 2008 because, he said, learning wasn’t what the OLPC was about even for Nicholas Negroponte (see quote below).

On April 22, 2008, Walter Bender, who was the former President of Software and Content for the OLPC project, stepped down from his post and left OLPC to found Sugar Labs. Bender reportedly had a disagreement with Nicholas Negroponte, the pioneer of the project itself, about the future of the OLPC and their future partnerships. Nicholas Negroponte also showed some doubt about the exclusive use of open source software for the project and made suggestions supporting a move towards adding Windows XP which Microsoft was in the process of porting over to the XO hardware. Microsoft's Windows XP, however, is not seen by some as a sustainable operating system. Microsoft announced on May 16, 2008 that Windows XP would be offered as an option on XO-1 laptops and possibly be able to dual boot alongside Linux.

Charles Kane became the new President and Chief Operating Officer of the OLPC Association on May 2, 2008. In late 2008, the NYC Department of Education began a project to purchase large numbers of XO computers for use by New York schoolchildren.

OLPC began streaming advertisements as one of the sponsors for video streaming website Hulu in 2008. One such ad has John Lennon advertising for OLPC, with an unknown voice actor redubbing over Lennon's voice.

The 2008 economic downturn and increased netbook competition reduced OLPC's annual budget from $12 million to $5 million and a major restructuring resulted effective January 7, 2009. Development of the Sugar operating environment was moved entirely into the community, the Latin America support organization was spun out and staff reductions, including Jim Gettys, affected approximately 50% of the paid employees. The remaining 32 staffers also saw salary reductions.

The XO-1, previously known as the "$100 Laptop" or "Children's Machine", is an inexpensive laptop computer designed to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world, to provide them with access to knowledge, and opportunities to "explore, experiment and express themselves" (constructionist learning). The laptop is manufactured by the Taiwanese computer company Quanta Computer.

The rugged, low-power computers use flash memory instead of a hard drive, run a Red Hat Linux-based operating system and use the Sugar user interface. Mobile ad-hoc networking based on the 802.11s wireless mesh network protocol allows students to collaborate on Activities and to share Internet access from one connection. The wireless networking has much greater range than typical consumer laptops. The XO-1 has also been designed to be lower cost and much longer lived than typical laptops.

The laptops include an anti-theft system which can, optionally, require each laptop to periodically make contact with a server to renew its cryptographic lease token. If the cryptographic lease expires before the server is contacted, the laptop will be locked until a new token is provided. The contact may be to a country specific server over a network or to a local, school-level server that has been manually loaded with cryptographic "lease" tokens that enable a laptop to run for days or even months between contacts. Cryptographic lease tokens can be supplied on a USB flash drive for un-networked schools.

Microsoft is developing a modified version of Windows XP and announced in May 2008 that Windows XP will be available for an additional cost of 10 dollars per laptop.

The OLPC project is working on an updated XO (dubbed XO-1.5) that will have fewer physical parts and cost less than the XO-1. It could include a faster processor, better wireless hardware, increased storage capacity and rubber bumpers for added screen protection. It is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2009.

On May 20, 2008 OLPC unveiled its plans for the 2nd generation XO. Key goals for the XO-2 include cost reduction, lower power consumption, smaller footprint and enhanced e-book experience. The XO-2 is targeted for 2010 at the cost of $75. It will consist of two multitouch-sensitive displays, and can be used as a normal laptop (having one of the screens as a keyboard), as an e-book (each screen displaying one page) or in a tablet mode (when flat, the handbook provides a surface for drawing, writing, and games). See also OLPC XO-2 for more info.

The laptops are sold to governments, to be distributed through the ministries of education with the goal of distributing “one laptop per child”. The laptops are given to students, similar to school uniforms and ultimately remain the property of the child. The operating system and software is localized to the languages of the participating countries.

Approximately 500 developer boards (Alpha-1) were distributed in mid-2006; 875 working prototypes (Beta 1) were delivered in late 2006; 2400 Beta-2 machines were distributed at the end of February 2007; full-scale production started November 6, 2007. Around one million units will be manufactured and deployed in 2008.

OLPC initially stated that no consumer version of the XO laptop was planned. The project, however, later established the laptopgiving.org website to accept direct donations and ran a "Give 1 Get 1" (G1G1) offer starting on November 12, 2007. The offer was initially scheduled to run for only two weeks, but was extended until December 31, 2007 to meet demand. With a donation of $399 (plus US$25 shipping cost) to the OLPC "Give 1 Get 1" program, donors received an XO-1 laptop of their own and OLPC sent another on their behalf to a child in a developing country. Shipments of "Get 1" laptops sent to donors were restricted to addresses within the United States, its territories, and Canada.

Some 83,500 donors participated in the program. By January 19, 2008 at least 5000 of the donors had not yet received their "Get 1" laptop because of order fulfillment and shipment issues both within OLPC and with the outside contractors hired to manage those aspects of the G1G1 program. Delivery of all of the G1G1 laptops was completed by April 19, 2008.

Between November 17, 2008 and December 31, 2008, a second G1G1 program was run through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. This partnership was chosen specifically to solve the distribution issues of the G1G1 2007 program. The price to consumers was the same as in 2007, at 399 USD.

The program aimed to be available worldwide. Laptops could be delivered in the USA, in Canada and in more than 30 European countries, as well as in some Central & South American countries (Haiti, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay), African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda) and Asian countries (Afghanistan, Mongolia, Nepal).. Despite this, the program sold only about 12,500 laptops and generated a mere $2.5 million - a 93 percent decline from the year before.

In October 2007, Uruguay placed an order for 100,000 laptops, making Uruguay the first country to purchase a full order of laptops. The first real, non-pilot deployment of the OLPC technology happened in Uruguay in December 2007. Since then, 200,000 more laptops have been ordered to cover all public school children between 6 and 12 years old.

OLPC's dedication to "Free and open source" was questioned with their May 15, 2008 announcement that large scale purchasers would be offered the choice to add an extra cost, special version of the proprietary Windows XP OS developed by Microsoft alongside the regular, free and open Linux-based "Sugar" OS. James Utzschneider, from Microsoft, said that initially only one operating system could be chosen. OLPC, however, said that future OLPC work would enable XO-1 laptops to dual boot either the free and open Linux/Sugar OS or the proprietary Microsoft Windows XP. Negroponte further said that "OLPC will sell Linux-only and dual-boot, and will not sell Windows-only ". OLPC released the first test firmware enabling XO-1 dual-boot on July 3, 2008.

I quit when Nicholas told me — and not just me — that learning was never part of the mission. The mission was, in his (Negroponte's) mind, always getting as many laptops as possible out there; to say anything about learning would be presumptuous, and so he doesn’t want OLPC to have a software team, a hardware team, or a deployment team going forward.

Other discussions question whether OLPC laptops should be designed to promote anonymity or to facilitate government tracking of stolen laptops. A recent New Scientist article critiqued Bitfrost's P_THEFT security option, which allows each laptop to be configured to transmit an individualized, non-repudiable digital signature to a central server at most once each day to remain functioning.

At The World Summit on the Information Society held by the United Nations in Tunisia from November 16-18, 2005, several African officials, most notably Marthe Dansokho of Cameroon and Mohammed Diop of Mali, voiced suspicions towards the motives of the OLPC project and claimed that the project was using an overly U.S. mindset that presented solutions not applicable to specifically African problems. Dansokho said the project demonstrated misplaced priorities, stating that clean water and schools were more important for African women, who, he stated, would not have time to use the computers to research new crops to grow. Diop specifically attacked the project as an attempt to exploit the governments of poor nations by making them pay for hundreds of millions of machines.

Lee Felsenstein, a computer engineer who played a central role in the development of the personal computer, criticized the centralized, top-down, design and distribution of the OLPC, calling it "imperialistic”.

John Wood, founder of Room to Read, emphasizes affordability and scalability over high-tech solutions. While in favor of the One Laptop per Child initiative for providing education to children in the developing world at a cheaper rate, he has pointed out that a $2,000 library can serve 400 children, costing just $5 a child to bring access to a wide range of books in the local languages (such as Khmer or Nepali) and English; also, a $10,000 school can serve 400–500 children ($20–$25 a child). According to Wood, these are more appropriate solutions for education in the dense forests of Vietnam or rural Cambodia.

The Scandinavian aid organization FAIR proposed setting up computer labs with recycled second-hand computers as a more economical alternative. Computer Aid International doubted the OLPC sales strategy would succeed, citing the "untested" nature of its technology. CAI refurbishes computers and printers and sends them to developing countries.

In 2005 and prior to the final design of the XO-1 hardware, OLPC received criticism due to concerns over the environmental and health impacts of hazardous materials found in other computers. The OLPC asserted that it aimed to use as many environmentally friendly materials as it could; that the laptop and all OLPC-supplied accessories would be fully compliant with the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS); and that the laptop would use an order of magnitude less power than the typical consumer notebooks available as of 2007 thus minimizing the environmental burden of power generation.

The XO-1 delivered (starting in 2007) uses environmental friendly materials, complies with the EU's RoHS and uses between 0.25 and 6.5 watts in operation. According to the Green Electronics Council's Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), whose sole purpose is assessing and measuring the impact laptops have on the environment, the XO is not only non-toxic and fully recyclable, but it lasts longer, costs less, and is more energy efficient. The XO-1 is the first laptop to have been awarded an EPEAT Gold level rating.

Lagos Analysis Corp., also called Lancor, a Lagos, Nigeria-based company, sued OLPC in the end of 2007 for $20 million, claiming that the computer's keyboard design was stolen from a Lancor patented device. OLPC responded by claiming that they had not sold any multi-lingual keyboards in the design claimed by Lancor, and that Lancor had misrepresented and concealed material facts before the court. In October 2008, the Middlesex Superior Court granted OLPC’s motions to dismiss all of Lancor's claims against OLPC, Nicholas Negroponte, and Quanta.

India's Ministry of Human Resource Development, in June 2006, rejected the initiative, saying “it would be impossible to justify an expenditure of this scale on a debatable scheme when public funds continue to be in inadequate supply for well-established needs listed in different policy documents” and stated plans to make laptops at $10 each for schoolchildren. Two designs submitted to the Ministry from a final year engineering student of Vellore Institute of Technology and a researcher from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in May 2007 reportedly describe a laptop that could be produced for "$47 per laptop" for even small volumes. The Ministry announced in July, 2008 that the cost of their proposed "$10 laptop" would in fact be $100 by the time the laptop became available.

There are opinions that the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the laptops are too high. There is however a controversy about the right way to calculate these costs.

Sunnyside school district in Tucson raised money from private donors and will give free laptops to students that meet certain criteria. The program was planned for just freshmen at Sunnyside High School and Desert View High School, with an expected cost of $400,000. Finally $665,000 were raised, allowing the program to expand to sophomores, juniors and seniors at the two schools.

These captions visualize the run of OLPC Thailand pilot (Ban Samkha).

The XO band.

First encounter with the laptops.

Packing the laptop into bag.

Field research.

Parents are intrigued by the machine, especially with the video camera.

Students showing an XO to a local monk.

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Source : Wikipedia