I’m an advocate of OLPC. Nicholas Negroponte say’s OLPC is an education project, not a cheap laptop project. Steve Wozniak donated to the project and bought one with the “give one get one” deal. What does Steve Jobs do? I hate to say he turns his back.
Nicholas was co-founder of the MIT media laboratory and professor of media technology at MIT. He’s author of the 1995 best selling book, “Being Digital,” is on the board of directors for Motorola, and partner in a venture capital firm. He invested in Wired magazine! Now he is focused on the OLPC project and advocates open source digital technologies. I believe in open source. Nicholas Negroponte and Steve Wozniak believe in open source. So why can’t Steve Jobs join them with his Macintosh operating software? What’s the point in keeping it closed?
I got my hands on the OLPC while at CES. From looking at it, some people think it can’t do much as a notebook. It’s clear to me that it’s doing more for our culture than any other computer around. The global community benefits from open source projects and I encourage them. Students are going to get their hands on these laptops and view them as learning toys. It looks like a toy too.
The laptop has a hinge that they call the “transformer hinge” because it changes from a classic laptop to a book reader and acts as an antenna. OLPC’s ODM, Quanta Computer made a strong case for the versatility of having the transformer hinge. From what I saw it’s the one part of the design that makes it look cheap. While the press has always talked about it as the “100 dollar laptop,” in a way defines the product, the company does not want cheap as part of their image. I think they should start with a redesign in order to achieve their goal.
What’s more important than design is opening it up. This is what Steve Wozniak has to say, “I was on a panel with Nicholas in Seoul this year and admired the fact that he’d turned down an offer from Jobs for the Macintosh OS on the OLPC because it wasn’t open sourced. I both donated to the program and also bought the give-one get-one and I do have it. I have it charged and on my home network but haven’t had time to use it enough yet. I wanted to switch part of my computer life, maybe web, to it, but not yet.”
Dear Steve Jobs, You want to make a lot of money and everyone can understand that. But, please stand up with us on this subject even if you don’t integrate it. Thanks.