Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Color of OLPC

Seems like more than just Markus is interested as to what the purpose of the OLPC project is - now we have the Green Party blasting Microsoft for trying to put Windows on the OLPC. Why should the Green Party care?

I'm betting they care because they see the project as not just a technology project, but an appropriate technology project. I would have to agree, the OLPC project is not just about creating low cost laptops, but it is also trying to solve other problems as well such as access to technology, energy use, etc. In my book, that makes OLPC green.

But one can take a few different sides here. One might argue that the project is just a low cost hardware project, and it doesn't really matter what people do with the boxes after they are made. Certainly, with DOOM being ported almost immediately and the Nigerians about to run their scams on the thing, this might be the only practical view. So maybe the OLPC is a nice neutral color, maybe beige.

There's another possible color. Say some for-profit vendors get together with the manufacturers and distributors of the OLPC and start giving them incentives to install their proprietary software on them at the factory. It costs a little bit on money but they can just pass the cost on to the children getting the laptops. Now say the OLPC steering committee allows this. What color would that be? Well, it's right up there in the upper right hand corner.

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