Sunday, December 23, 2007

One Laptop Per Child

A while back... April 13th, 2006 in fact, I wrote a blog post called "The Linux Inflection Point". Nearly two years ago... wow. Time flies.

I bring this up here because the "One Laptop Per Child" laptop, now called the "XO" is shipping. This has had all sorts of coverage in the media, and some of the most interesting has been that Microsoft has viewed the XO as a threat to its OS dominance, which I rather thought it should, and hinted at strongly in my post back then. Interestingly Intel has also gotten woofed about the XO since it ships with an AMD "Geode" processor, and they have taken the interesting step of building their own computer to parry it. This unit, called the ClassMatePC then the Asus Eee PC, and runs Linux although MS Windows XP is probably also do-able.

I imagine "do-able but not default" is a cost issue. MS has to be hating these low cost laptops in a big way. For example, here is an ad for the home version of MS Windows XP, and it is the same price or more than the hardware! And that is foe the crippled version of XP.

Add to that the MS Windows Vista will not even come close to running on any of this gear right now. Many of the worlds children growing up learning Linux: The XO has a "learn to program" app in it, and it is not teaching C Sharp, but is teaching Python.

Oh well, at least MS has the 360 to comfort themselves with. Our local Best Buy has a stack to the rafters of them. No Wii to be had anywhere, but plenty of 360's. Piles and piles of them. Ditto target. Ditto Walmart. No Wii. Just 360... and "no, thanks, I was really looking for the Wii after playing with my sons: The first video console I have ever actually wanted to own." To which I get the usual reply "Yeah: we are getting that a lot. Check back, we are getting more Wii's every week...."

Every year we try to give to various charities during this holiday season. It would not surprise me to read that this is not just a great time for retailers, but also charitable organizations of all kinds. My sister-in-law just told us that in lieu of gifts to us this year, she and her SO will be donating to a couple of charities in our name. My wife and I are doing the same thing for a couple of our family members.

That is all well and good, but this year I have to admit I am really jazzed about the charity gift we gave each other: the OLPC XO, via the Give One, Get One program. I have always thought Linux was a good idea of course, and also think literacy these days includes computer literacy, so I think the XO is an amazing and world changing idea. I have been on board since I heard about it.

Now I will actually also have one, and can look at it and touch it and blog about this awesome new member of my Linux family here at the house. I might even learn Python now... :)


Anne Gentle said...

Aw, that's awesome! I came over to your blog to see if you had any XO or OLPC posts and sure enough, you do! Whurley and I got our XOs together a few weeks back, and we're getting more Austinites and kids and their XOs together Feb 23rd if you want to join us. I'll email you with details. Glad you have added the cute green machine to your Linux family.

Steve Carl said...

I do not have mine yet, but i was reading that those that ordered theirs in late November had not gotten theirs yet in all cases, and since I ordered mine in late December I am sort of just watching the mailbox now. But that sounds like a lot of fun, so please let me know when / where it will be.

Funny thing is the first thin my wife and I plan to do with ours is have it teach us Python...