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Laptops for kids? Geeks, language developers are interested

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India's official response to a project to spread low-cost computers among school students was not too enthusiastic. But that has not stopped techies from seizing the opportunity.

The XO-1, previously known as the $100 Laptop or Children's Machine, is an inexpensive laptop computer intended to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world, to provide them with access to knowledge and opportunities to "explore, experiment and express themselves".

But such computers are hard to come by here. India rejected an offer to join the initiative, saying "it would be impossible to justify an expenditure of this scale on a debatable scheme when public funds continue to be in inadequate supply for well-established needs listed in different policy documents."

Some weeks ago, Open Source campaigner Venkatesh 'Venky' Hariharan shared his experiences in visiting an OLPC deployment in Khairat, which is around 55 km outside Mumbai. This deployment, the first in India, is supported by the Reliance ADAG , one of the largest industrial groups in India.

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