It's all fun and games for the One Laptop per Child project. It seems that Chairman Nicholas Negroponte is not happy that Intel is trying to muscle into his organisation's plans to launch a $100 PC for the developing world. Intel has its own cheap PC called the Classmate which Negroponte claimed, in an interview with CBS, has hurt OLPC's plans "enormously".
Negroponte has even alleged that Intel has distributed marketing pamphlets to governments which detail why the OLPC machines are not as effective as the classmate.
Intel's apparent aggressive tactics are all bound up in its ongoing struggle against market rival AMD – which just happens to make the chips for the OLPC machine, according to Negroponte. But OLPC is not the only organisation to be bound-up in this face-off between the chip companies; Linux specialist Red Hat is caught in the middle too but rather than being squeezed between the chip behemoths is doing a good job of benefiting from the convergent strategies.
Red Hat has got a lot of kudos from the supposedly altruistic work it has done for OLPC – donating hundreds of man hours with no real reward in sight but helping the poor children of the world. Now, it emerged at the company's annual user conference last week that Red Hat is planning to develop a desktop OS . aimed at the developing world which will be geared, and indeed only available, on machines such as Intel's Classmate.
However, the new OS will borrow heavily from the work done on the OLPC project – up to 85 percent according to Red Hat execs. I wonder how Mr Negroponte feels about a supposed ally who he has praised in the past, teaming up with his major competitor? I have mailed him and will keep you updated with any reply I get.