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

Bill Gates Inadvertently Shows Off Ubuntu on His Facebook Page

Bill Gates is much more involved in philanthropy than Microsoft these days and he's done some great work regarding the eradications of certain diseases and to improve the quality of life in a number of third world countries. He's also inadvertently promoted Ubuntu, which is a Linux system. Read more

Major Release LibreOffice 4.4 Announced

The Document Foundation today announced the latest and "most beautiful" LibreOffice ever. LibreOffice 4.4 is the ninth major release for the project and brings with it lots of design and functionality improvements. Redesigned toolbars, menus, status bars, rulers and new theme selector are among the goodies for users. Michael Meeks said today that this release not only improves the visible features but also the foundations underneath. Read more

Sphinx: An outstanding open source documentation platform

Sphinx is a free, open source project written in Python and, not surprisingly, is really well suited for documenting Python projects. Now, before you harrumph “Meh, I code in which isn’t at all like Python!” be aware that Sphinx supports several other languages (C and C++ support is in development). Read more

today's leftovers