Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I Hate Children & Their Little Laptops Too! Is There Collusion Between Linux Community Leaders, MIT, & AMD & A Conspiracy Against Apple & Microsoft?

As reported by Macrumors:

The Wall Street Journal reports on an initiative to develop a $100 laptop targetted at school children in developing nations. A non-profit organization called One Laptop Per Child has been formed to oversee the project with plans to put the laptop into the hands of 100-150 million children.

The $100 design remains a challenge and has not yet been solidified, but due to the scope of the project has drawn interest from many industry leaders, including Microsoft and Apple.

According to the WSJ, Steve Jobs offered to provide Mac OS X for free for the upcoming machine. The offer was declined [ due to demand by organizers ] for a 100% opensource solution. This offer was only possible as Mac OS X is now capable of running on the x86 architecture; as well as the PowerPC. The new $100 laptop will be powered by an AMD processor running Red Hat Linux.

Official site: http://laptop.media.mit.edu/

[UPDATE] I've gotten one comment here, an email from a friend, and two other reader emails concerning the title of the article and the feature picture. This is meant to be satirical. My point is strong ... I was criticized on the Macrumors board (where I discussed this early this morning) for not being understanding of children's true needs. I care, I do my part (and then some) ... so I am by no means hypocritical. I constructed the title to separate this article from others discussing this topic. I did the picture to be an eye opener and in some ways a truth. - Philip / Jackwhispers Editor

Am I the only one that is seeing some conflict of interest here? I find it interesting that AMD has been chosen as the supplier of chips ... it is the "chip producer of choice" amongst the Linux community because it's not mega corporation like Intel. AMD embraces Linux moreso than Intel.

This could mean HUGE research money to other parties involved in this; MIT, Red Hat ... trust me ... these entities have dollar $IGN$ in their eyes, not tears for needy children.

The problems with using Linux is that the software is going to be limited, the online support is going to be limited to get the most out of the software used or available, and the big one ... Linux is a mindset .... more than an operating system ... even KDE desktop isn't easy to understand and intuitive like the Mac OS.

I guess this laptop will be able to have Mac On Linux though ... so anyone thinking the Mac OS is still out of the equation ... there is a possibility.

My gripes with this plan:

1) Isn't food, shelter, water, clothing, and economic investment better to pursue? Only if factories for these laptops could be placed nearby that would be support hubs, jobs, and wealth creation would this be a true success.

2) I have a problem with this program going forward without a true plan for the content for education that is placed on the laptop ... what are we going to give them on the hard drives?

3) What will stop someone from selling their laptop on eBay ... you can be assured this will happen or a black market will arise.

4) Will children who are JUST AS NEEDY of this technology receive them in the USA, Japan, and England? A starving body and a starving mind are equal as born into this world.

5) Is there ulterior motive in using Linux that isn't being discussed here? Microsoft has shown interest, but won't fund a Linux project. Microsoft (and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation) have deep pockets. This really wreaks of the communistic/socialist attitude that a lot of Linux types have ... you only need to visit Slashdot to see how apes the Linux community is over this news ... they think it will mainstream Linux and provide them a new avenue for revenue ... Linux isn't as free and open source as most "who use it" would have you believe.

It is mythical that Linux is free ... it is only free to the complex mind ... for people that know how to assemble 100's of components from dozens of sources ... support isn't free ... hey ... Red Hat has to make SOME money or they wouldn't be in business.

The ONLY way there can be success in this is if there was benefit to a larger corporation that would donate in lieu of research gained ... this is why I find the movie Contact so interesting ... how the world gets together to to build the machine ... "that may change mankind" .... but when it comes down to paying ... countries and corporations have to be pawned politically to make it work. I find that insightful into this situation.

Anyone saying iTunes is needed is just wasting breath because while it is "the reason the iPod is so successful" and is the easiest to use - it also connects to the iTunes Music store as a compelling part of its component ... can someone who qualifies for a $100 laptop afford a CD or an iTunes download?

That opens a whole new can of worms in my opinion ... if you think piracy is bad now, put the ability to download, listen to, and play music into the hands of 150 million children who will discover pop culture with these laptops!

... I say we just go ahead with The Modest Proposal

For Preventing The Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being Aburden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public

By Jonathan Swift (1729)

Speaking of which, are those laptops Soylent Green colored?



fixyourthinking said...

Here's a post I made to the macrumors forum in response to someone defending the idea to use Linux:

Are you expecting people to compile applications? I am a VERY technical person ... it took a few weeks for me to understand X11 and how to use GIMP (Photoshop for Linux)

Here's the crux to the issue ... most people do not know how to read or write in "these developing countries" - even if they go to school. Then there's the English barrier ... isn't the internet 75% English (yes I'm aware of babelfish) ... one of the reasons we learn easily in the US, England, and Japan is because (even if we can't read or write) we have people speaking intelligently and fluently around us. (I know you'll take that staement out of context) I equate Linux with high school and college level math ... whereas I equate the Mac with K-12 education ... where it has its strongest presence FOR A REASON!

Be honest, as Mac people, we know about limited software and support, can you honestly say that Linux has equal or greater support than the Mac Community?

The Mac has immense support on the internet (and yes Linux does too) but not enough as passionate and laymen as the Mac. That IS MY opinion.

The support for the Mac OS (and Windows) is EASY to understand and find ... you have to be in a sort of "know where, know when, know who" community with Linux.

Anonymous said...

You're right. The only poor children live in foreign countries. Just like the picture at the top of the page that should make the author ashamed.We have none in the US. I live down the street from a school of very unpriveledged children, that an $100 laptop would change their lives; regardless of what OS it runs. Please post your address, so I can mail you a dollar. Someone needs to buy a clue.

Also, for such a mac-centric site, you'd think the page I'm leaving my comment on here would load better on Safari running on 10.3.4.

I love Apple, but you guys are nuts.

fixyourthinking said...

And you'd think that you'd know Safari has been updated as well as the Mac OS in 10.3.9 ... if you're using 10.3.4 ... I'm purposely blocking you ...lol.

You can donate a dollar to me in the sidebar ... thank you for your support.

blogdog said...

You're right. The only poor children live in foreign countries. Just like the picture at the top of the page that should make the author ashamed.We have none in the US. I live down the street from a school of very unpriveledged children, that an $100 laptop would change their lives; regardless of what OS it runs. Please post your address, so I can mail you a dollar. Someone needs to buy a clue.

Admit it ... you are one of the beta testers for the $100 laptop ... you're not actually running the Mac OS ... your comment is unintelligible

Middle-agedman said...

Here's what I want to know from anonymous: HOW would a laptop change the lives of these children? Does anyone think that putting a laptop in their hands is going to be the magic solution to hope and prosperity for them?

Years ago, if someone had suggested putting an encyclopedia in every orphanage and village for these children to access and learn from for the same purpose they would have been openly derided.

One of my pet peeves in this country, in my own city, is the plea for more "computers in the classroom" and the money and resources necessary to make this happen. This "need" is typically opined by politicians that want to strike a nerve and it usually works. My wife is a teacher and has seen the "impact" of technology in the schools. Dollar for dollar it has not impacted the learning process; children that will eventually go into any kind of computer-using field will have to relearn all of the computer technology they learned in elementary school anyway.

There are proposals that sound great on paper and in discussions. They have the appearance and potential of being great ideas. However, when you extrapolate to the logical conclusion or actually play it out, it has no such effect at all.

Jack is exactly correct when he talks about profit and collusion and motive and conspiracy. These corporations are looking to advance their own agendas and are using a sympathetic cause to distract from their true motive. They truly have a "win-win" at stake: if they happen to strike gold and this has an actual effect, they're heroes. If it doesn't, they had a heart of gold for trying.

What poor children really need overseas is temporary relief for their true needs of food, clothing, and shelter while at the same time planning for the long-term restructuring of the governments and economies of these foreign lands. The reason they are poor in the first place is typically because of bad government and/or economy. Until their actual environment is changed, everything else that is attempted is a bandaid only. If someone is bleeding internally, applying a bandaid may be somewhat soothing but it is not curative.

Once again, anonymous, tell me how you see a $100 laptop with a difficult-to-use OS is going to impact the life of someone that probably doesn't know the language, doesn't know how to plug it in, and will probably not have someone that will take the time to show them how.
Until then, save your dollar because you may be needing it.

Kevin Cullis said...

Regarding the poor and learning about computers, see this site for an example:


A lot of assumptions about the poor are squashed with this article.

Anonymous said...

I never really believed in scholars and schools anyhow. There mostly a bunch of bullshit and MIT is no exception. Perhaps once a million years ago it had its status but today any moron that pays well gets in. The proof: this brilliant dumb fucking decision these monkeys came up with. Yo MIT, do the world a favor, STAY OUT OF IT.

fixyourthinking said...

From the Macrumors forum:

[QUOTE=pizzach]I'm still cringing on seeing the work Redhat. They could have gone for a slightly less commercialized discribution...like Debian or Ubuntu...[/QUOTE]

Redhat, AMD, and MIT Professors realize there is money to be made ... when there are discussions about Linux; Red Hat gets 1st dibs ...

Let me say this: Even if red hat were to charge 50 cents per laptop for the customization of the OS (which MUST be done) that's 50 to 75 MILLION! A huge bottom line producer to Red Hat...

And of course you could extrapolate that to 25 cents and 10 cents.

The turning down of big money and shunning of deep pockets to go with Linux just smells funny to me ... it's not the open source part ... because I kind of agree with that ... but this just seems like more of a move to make Linux viable than to help those in need.

Anonymous said...

Education is well-known to be the key to breaking the cycle of poverty in the less-developed countries, as well as here in the US. Having said that, I think a $100 laptop is not going to solve any education needs, without the infrastructure to utilize that laptop, ie internet access. These laptops have to be bulletproof, and the OS has to be robust. Remember the target audience is the lowest common denominator, not the geeks of the world. Can RedHat Linux meet that requirement? I don't know.

While I love the laptop program they have here in my state of Maine, I think this laptop initiative of Negroponte's is going to fail miserably. It's putting the cart before the horse. Alot of other education initiatives have to happen before the laptop one gets off the ground.