Feeds

OLPC's a con - former insider

Departing software chief stings Negroponte

Application security programs and practises

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. ®

The Power of One Infographic

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.