Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Why I switched to the OLPC—and why I dropped it

Filed under
OLPC
OSS

The One Laptop Per Child project, launched by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte in 2003, was supposed to lead millions of children around the world to information technology and freedom. The plans aimed for low cost, enabling many children to use the machines, and free software, so they would have freedom while using them. I thought it was a good idea; I even planned to use one myself when I found in the OLPC’s promise of free software a way to escape the proprietary startup programs that all commercial laptops used.

But just as I was switching to an OLPC, the project backed away from its commitment to freedom and allowed the machine to become a platform for running Windows, a non-free operating system.

What makes this issue so important, and OLPC’s retreat from free software so unfortunate, is that the “free” in free software refers to freedom of knowledge and action, not to price. A program (whatever job it does) is free software if you, the user, have the four essential freedoms:

Rest Here




re: OLPC

Only Stallman would think screwing poor kids out of a free computer "a good thing".

Of course the whole OLPC project was a joke (and or scam) but that's another rant.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Releases: Linux From Scratch 8.0, LEDE 17.01, 4MRescueKit 21.0

  • Linux From Scratch 8.0 and Beyond LFS 8.0 Land with GCC 6.2, GNU Binutils 2.27
    Bruce Dubbs from the LFS (Linux From Scratch) and BLFS (Beyond Linux From Scratch) projects that allow experienced users to build their own Linux-based operating systems from scratch announced the release of Linux From Scratch 8.0 and Beyond LFS 8.0. Both Linux From Scratch 8.0 and Beyond Linux From Scratch 8.0 major versions are available with and without the systemd init system, and they offer support for some of the latest GNU/Linux and Open Source components, including GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 6.2.0, GNU Binutils 2.27, and Glibc (GNU C Library) 2.24.
  • OpenWRT-Forked LEDE Releases 17.01, Presents At The Embedded Linux Conf
    This week marks the 17.01.0 final release of the Linux Embedded Development Environment (LEDE). They also presented at this week's Linux Foundation Embedded Linux Conference about their project that's a fork of OpenWRT and aims for router/embedded use-cases. LEDE 17.01.0 final was released on Wednesday and modernizes many parts of its OpenWRT stack, switches to the Linux 4.4 kernel (from Linux 3.18), updates many pieces of key software, adds additional security features, improves networking support, and has a wide variety of other improvements.
  • 4MRescueKit 21.0 Has Antivirus Live CD 21.0-0.99.2, 4MRecover and 4MParted 21.0

Linux Kernel News

  • Linux Kernels 4.9.13 and 4.4.52 LTS Bring Updated USB Drivers, Networking Fixes
  • Linux Kernel 4.10 Gets Its First Point Release, It's Now Ready for Deployment
    Well, that didn't take long, and it looks like the recently released Linux 4.10 kernel series just got its first point release today, Linux kernel 4.10.1, marking the branch as stable and ready for deployment in stable OSes. Linux kernel 4.10.1 comes only one week after the release of Linux 4.10, which is now considered the most stable and advanced kernel available for any GNU/Linux distribution that wants to adopt it for their users, so you can imagine that the changes are quite small in number. According to the appended shortlog, a total of 21 files were changed in this first point release, with 259 insertions and 52 deletions.
  • GNU Linux-libre 4.10-gnu is now available
  • GNU Linux-Libre 4.10: GPU Drivers Remain The Most Frequent Offenders
    The GNU Linux-libre 4.10 kernel was released last weekend just after the official Linux 4.10 kernel release while I hadn't noticed the de-blobbed kernel release until today. The Linux-libre folks continue to criticize the open-source GPU DRM drivers as being offenders for using binary blob firmware/microcode. GNU Linux-libre for those that don't know is the FSFLA effort to de-blob the mainline Linux kernel by removing support for loading binary-only modules as well as stripping out drivers or portions of driver code that rely upon closed-source/binary-only firmware/microcode images, which is quite common among newer hardware.
  • AMD's Ryzen Will Really Like A Newer Linux Kernel

Today in Techrights

FreeBSD-Based TrueOS Operating System Gets New Jail Tools, Automounting Feature

The developers of the FreeBSD-based TrueOS operating system (formerly PC-BSD) announced the release and general availability of a new stable build versioned 2017-02-22. Read more