Feeds

OLPC's a con - former insider

Departing software chief stings Negroponte

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The former security director of the One Laptop Per Child non-profit has blasted the project for losing sight of its goals, accusing chairman Nicholas Negroponte of deceiving the public. It's all about shipping kit, says Ivan Krstić in an incendiary essay.

"I quit when Nicholas told me — and not just me — that learning was never part of the mission. The mission was, in his mind, always getting as many laptops as possible out there; to say anything about learning would be presumptuous, and so he doesn't want OLPC to have a software team, a hardware team, or a deployment team going forward," writes Krstić.

"Nicholas' new OLPC is dropping those pesky education goals from the mission and turning itself into a 50-person nonprofit laptop manufacturer, competing with Lenovo, Dell, Apple, Asus, HP and Intel on their home turf, and by using the one strategy we know doesn't work."

Ouch.

Negroponte's decision to embrace Windows has seen top-level resignations from the OLPC project. CTO Mary Lou Jepsen left in January, and former software chief and president Walter Bender departed in April. Krstić resigned in March.

OLPC is a poster child for free software innovation, with critics acknowledging value in its advances in mesh networking and the radical task-based UI Sugar. But the F/OSS ideals are now being jetissoned, writes Krstić, along with the crown jewels:

"In reality, Nicholas wants to ship plain XP desktops. He's told me so. That he might possibly fund a Sugar effort to the side and pay lip service to the notion of its 'availability' as an option to purchasing countries is at best a tepid effort to avert a PR disaster."

Not everyone thinks Sugar is a successful UI - judge for yourself in our extensive hands-on.

You can read more of this wide-ranging and thoughtful essay here.

"I’ve thought for a while that sending laptops to developing countries is simply the 21st century equivalent of sending bibles to the colonies," adds Python language author Guido van Rossum in the comments. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.