OLPC, the educational project which purportedly aims to provide small, cheap laptops for kids has, since its inception, been running its home-made Sugar application, run on Linux, but on Tuesday, OLPC chairman and founder, Nicholas Negroponte, told AP that this was all about to change.Which deeply outraged Edward Cherlin at OLPCNews:
In an attack on pro open saucers, Negroponte slammed “the fundamentalism in some of the open-source community" and reckoned that by pushing the free, open-sauce software on OLPC XOs, the company was scaring people away. "One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist" he snarled.
Oh? We somehow ran away with your project that you were in charge of? Is that because you never talk to the workers? And is that because we would have quit and forked Sugar if you had told us this before? OLPC is an education project, not a laptop project. And the purpose of education in the OLPC project is to put an end to poverty. So the economics of the project matter. You have to pay attention to where the money comes from and goes to, both. It has been estimated that aid to African nations has amounted to more than a trillion dollars in the last century, and that theft of government assets in these countries has also reached a trillion dollars or more. Microsoft's monopoly position in the industry is the issue here. The children of the developing nations can have software freedoms and no-cost software, or can become Microserfs, having to pay an annual tax to Microsoft for software updates to have the privilege of using their own computers. It would cost developing nations many billions of dollars annually to buy proprietary software to match what the children can access for free in Linux. Many times more than the cost of the computers. I have run the numbers. For casual users, there may be enough software bundled with the system, but for power users and secondary school students needing the latest software technology in their textbooks, the ratio can easily reach 10 to 1 on conventional laptops, and even more on XOs.