Give One, Get One : One Laptop Per Child

By | 2007/11/09

I realize I have been a bit lax on the tutorials this week and I promise to pick up again really soon.  The week after UDS required a bit of catch up time on other things, and it didn’t help that I’m also on the road for work this week.  I’ll get back to it just as soon as I can.

I find myself today sitting in the Dallas/Ft Worth Airport in Texas waiting for my flight.  I had a few hours to kill so I picked up a copy of Time magazine to help pass the time.  (The one with the iPhone on the cover).  I was surprised to see an advertisement inside for the One Laptop Per Child project and the “Give 1, Get 1” promotion.

Between November 12th and November 26th you can order two of the OLPC machines, one for yourself and one to be donated to a child in a developing nation for $399.

I’m tempted to do this for a few reasons:

  1. I hear good things about the OLPC project and it seems to be beneficial to children in developing nations.
  2. It runs Linux (a variation of Fedora as I understand?)
  3. I would also like one of these machines to tinker with and help promote by displaying.

I’d be interested in the communites opinion on these machines.  What have you heard?  Do you think they are actual of benefit as a donation?  If you have an OLPC machine can you tell me much about it?  I appreciate your feedback on this.

10 thoughts on “Give One, Get One : One Laptop Per Child

  1. T. Lord

    I’m thinking about getting one (strongly!), partly for the very reasons you name, but also (perhaps more so, or I wouldn’t be getting one ;)) because of the cool-toy value (video camera, ebook reader, solid-state disk), and the fact that it’s got a screen that can actually be opened while seated in the cheap seats of an airplane. Not very 3d world, I know …

    The keyboard, I anticipate not liking — oh well. The tiny screen I know will be annoying in some situations, but if it’s truly daylight readable, it would have come in handy in many situations over the last decade for me, when bright light made my laptop useless.

    Your reason number 3 I share strongly, though — it’d be a great thing to be able to demonstrate the virtues of Free software.

    In a comment on Slashdot, I call the price annoyingly well set 😉 — even at $400, I can’t think of anything that comes close to the feature set. So I’d rather pay $200, but those MIT types are too clever for me.



  2. Mike

    I’m thinking of buying one. Are there any development tools available?

  3. T. Lord

    Odd, but good — when I left this comment several hours ago, all I got in response was what seemed to be a database error (something along the lines of “You do not exist.”), and I didn’t feel like re-typing a response. Came back post-coffee — decaf even! — to write a shorter version, and lo-n-behold it actually went through.

    I noticed that Borders (source of my coffee) is a T-Mobile hotspot, further cementing the decision to get one of these.


  4. Warbo

    I’d really encourage you to buy one. I live in the UK, so I’m waiting to see whether this offer spreads across the pond, because I’d really like one of these machines.

    Reading about them online gave me tremendous respect for them, then I managed to see one in action and knew I wanted one. I’d love to show it off to people, then drop it on a desk or dunk it in a tank of water and carry on using it 😀

    A more serious reason for buying it though would be because of the whole OLPC vs Classmate thing, since Intel have been using some very questionable actions to compete with the OLPC project (which is a charity). From a technical perspective the XOs are far more suited to the given task (they were built for the job, they’re not just regular laptops with stuff ripped out), and from a moral perspective I prefer a charity helping to educate underprivileged children rather than a company creating a revenue stream in a new market. Intel seems to be killing OLPC by bribing every government OLPC approaches (Classmates are sold at a loss, which is bribery), and Give One Get One seems to be a very Open Source way for OLPC to stay afloat and I want to do everything I can to help them out.

    Sorry for the long post, but I have a habit of going off on tangents 😛

  5. raid996

    I’m thinking about it too, actually I am thinking about trying to promote it in the office where i work, I live in Italy and many people here would be happy to be able to contribute.
    Anyway, I heard that Peru is buying lots of OLPCs for their smaller classes… I’ve lived in latin america for many years and I remeber that the biggest problems where pencils or pens and all of the paper material for school as well as books and such.
    This project could really help families in the thirld world…

  6. Clair

    Sometimes I think about it and what good it might do the students where I live, but I seem to have lost my faith in the government and government-run schools because of all the corruption. In any case, I really think that there’s a potential for this project and so if everyone could work together in making it happen, it would be lovely.

  7. jp

    Funny, I’d have thought some XO’s would have made the rounds at the Ubuntu summit. The OLPC offices are right there in Kendall Square and I know that at least one OLPC person attended.

    The XOs do run a Fedora variant, but it probably won’t feel like it unless you drop down to the command line. Red Hat loaned OLPC a dev team to develop the window manager, dubbed “Sugar.” That’s what you’re looking at in all the screen shots and it’s a very different user experience than anything you’ve likely used.

    (I do have an XO from one of the earlier development batches – however, the hardware has changed since then and the last system build usable by my machine is still very beta.)

    I thought this NYT piece from early October did a particularly good job of reviewing the XO:
    Actually, I’d really recommend watching the flash video accompanying the article – picture-worth-a-thousand-words and all that.

  8. Michelle

    I decided to order 2 sets today — the idea is of course 2 would be donated and 2 would be delivered to me. I have 5 children, 3 of whom would greatly benefit from learning about going green and helping children in other countries who are in need (my other 2 children are under 2 years old so no worries about them breaking the laptops!). One of my children is my stepson who lives a few states away. We will give one to him. The other will stay here for our other children to use and hopefully to help spread the word about the OLPC.

    If all goes well we should have by Christmas and I will post after they are received.

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