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12.27.09

Even During Christmas, the Multiple-times Convicted Monopolists Spur Attacks on OLPC Charity

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, OLPC at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nick Negroponte
Picture from Wikipedia

Summary: Slime continues to be thrown at OLPC, thanks in part to Intel and Microsoft, the outlaw companies whose role in fighting OLPC was confirmed before

LAST week we shared some revealing information about OLPC (see the OLPC index). A few days ago we showed that OLPC was coming up with a new design whose architecture probably excludes Windows (ARM/MIPS). OLPC News opines that Windows got its way, but see the comments on this post (GNU/Linux was never a problem for OLPC). Evidence has actually been suggesting that OLPC lost interest in Microsoft and Microsoft lost interest in OLPC, which was never valuable to its shareholders in the first place.

For Microsoft, getting involved in OLPC was about derailing Google and GNU/Linux, as revealed by internal documents [1, 2]. It was not about children or education.

“The main perpetrators were Intel and Microsoft, which systematically dealt blows to this charity.”Over at Groklaw, there is a pointer to the article “Skeptics Question OLPC’s Focus With $75 Tablet”

“Because they always do,” adds Pamela Jones, “Perhaps some monopolies need to stop trying to make it an unachievable goal? That is, from my perspective, what happened to the first XO. So it’s a bit rich to accuse OLPC of not reaching a goal that certain monopolies tried to crush so as to make it not achievable. Shame on them, and go OLPC! I love the new design, which once again shows what vendors could give us if they only wanted to. It’s unrealistic only if you define realistic as making a huge profit on each device, n’est-ce pas?”

OLPC was a good case study in corporate corruption. The main perpetrators were Intel and Microsoft, which systematically dealt blows to this charity. Last year the London Times launched an investigation and published an exposé about it. Its verdict was that Intel and Microsoft indeed attacked the project. They harmed its reputation, too.

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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4 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    December 27, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Gravatar

    Permissions note: the photo of Nicholas Negroponte is CC by-sa 3.0 and the photographer is Gin Kai, U.S. Naval Academy, Photographic Studio. (Apparently it’s not US Government Public Domain, which is odd.) Image page: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NNegoponte_USNA_20090415_.jpg

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It is exceptionally hard to find contemporary photos of people (that are also in the public domain).

    Are faces a form of art?

  2. NotZed said,

    December 27, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Gravatar

    Well i’m a sceptic too. Not because that form factor is an impossible dream, it’s just mediocre as a teaching device. Passively reading or even playing games with your finger can only teach up to a point. What happened to the real ‘hands on’ approach? Pointing a finger is hardly ‘hands on’.

    It needs a real keyboard. Otherwise these kids will only be taught how to use other people’s software and ‘content’, not make their own – or even realise they could make their own. Imagine an IPhone in all of their pockets instead for example.

    The XO-1 even had an emphasis on field maintenance using FRU’s a child could work with. Where in these newer designs is that hands on learning aspect? It shows you a computer is just a machine like any other, rather than a magic electrical box you mustn’t look inside of for fear of letting the magic out.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    GNOME is still the most widely used desktop environment and Linus uses it. Let’s not knock it.

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