When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

27 November 2007

OLPC hits a snag or two

The One Laptop Per Child initiative is foundering on the rocky shoals of politics... and tech-company hardball:
In an interview with the BBC, Nigeria's education minister questioned the need for laptops in poorly equipped schools.

Dr Igwe Aja-Nwachuku said: "What is the essence of introducing One Laptop per Child when they don't have seats to sit down and learn; when they don't have uniforms to go to school in, where they don't have facilities?"

"We are more interested in laying a very solid foundation for quality education which will be efficient, effective, accessible and affordable."

The previous government of Nigeria had committed to buying one million laptops.

Dr Aja-Nwachuku said he was now assessing OLPC alongside other schemes from Microsoft and Intel.


Professor Bender said there was still an "aggressive" effort to undermine the charity.

"There is still a concerted misinformation campaign out there," he said.

Mr Bender said he would not speculate on who was behind the alleged campaign.

"Wherever it is coming from, it exists," he told BBC News.
Politics stifling $100 laptop (BBC News)

Technology companies, which at the end of the day are driven almost completely by ideas, are FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) generating machines.

When they perceive a threatening idea, they attack it publicly by spreading FUD (like a squid sprays ink), while privately angling to cut the best deal for themselves.

OLPC supporters see the project as almost pure altruism; Microsoft and Intel see it as having just created a massive new market... and one they desperately want a piece of.

As a practical matter, the laptop design that finally makes it to the masses is likely to be running some version of Windows and have "Intel inside."

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