|One Laptop per Child|
|Key people||Charles Kane, Seymour Papert, Alan Kay, Mitch Bradley|
The One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc. (OLPC) is a U.S. non-profit organization set up to oversee the creation of an affordable educational device for use in the developing world. Its mission is "to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning." Negroponte states that the mission is to eliminate poverty. Its current focus is on the development, construction and deployment of the XO-1 laptop.
The organization is led by chairman Nicholas Negroponte, and Charles Kane, President and Chief Operating Officer. OLPC is a 501(c)(4) organization registered in Delaware, USA and is funded by member organizations, including AMD, Brightstar Corporation, eBay, Google, Marvell, News Corporation, SES, Nortel Networks, and Red Hat. Each company has donated two million dollars.
As of October 2009, there are 1.6 million free books available for OLPC computers. OLPC has generated a great deal of interest in the Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), Information and Communication Technologies in Education and one to one computing fields of research.
To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.
It's an education project, not a laptop project.
The goal of the foundation is to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves. To that end, OLPC is designing a laptop, educational software, manufacturing base, and distribution system to provide children outside of the first-world with otherwise unavailable technological learning opportunities.
OLPC lists five core principles:
OLPC is based on constructionist learning theories pioneered by Seymour Papert, Alan Kay, and also on the principles expressed in Nicholas Negroponte’s book Being Digital. These three individuals plus the several sponsor organizations are active participants in OLPC.
Many concepts preceding the OLPC project were discussed and explored at a number of conferences. The 2B1 Conference, held in 1997 at the Media Lab brought together educators from developing countries around the world to "break down world barriers of race, age, gender, language, class, economics and geography." The most immediate outcome of that conference was the establishment of the Nation1 project and the Junior Summit, held the following year, although many of the sessions at 2B1 helped inform OLPC.
Both the project and the organization were announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2005 and were created by faculty members of the MIT Media Lab. The OLPC project gained much more attention when Nicholas Negroponte and Kofi Annan unveiled a working prototype of the Children's Machine 1 (CM1) on November 16, 2005 at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, Tunisia. Negroponte showed two prototypes of the CM1 laptop at the second phase of the World Summit: a non working physical model and a tethered version using an external board and separate keyboard. The device shown was a rough prototype using a standard development board. Negroponte estimated that the screen alone required three more months of development. The first working prototype was demonstrated at the project's Country Task Force Meeting on May 23, 2006. The production version is expected to have a larger display screen in the same size package. The laptops were originally scheduled to be available by early 2007, but production actually began in November, 2007.
At the 2006 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announced it would back the laptop. UNDP released a statement saying they would work with OLPC to deliver “technology and resources to targeted schools in the least developed countries”.
The project originally aimed for a price of 100 US dollars. In May 2006, Negroponte told the Red Hat's annual user summit: “It is a floating price. We are a nonprofit organization. We have a target of $100 by 2008, but probably it will be $135, maybe $140.”
When the laptop started mass production in November 2007, the unit price was estimated to be $188 when bought by thousand units. At the same time, the laptop was made available under the "Give 1 Get 1" program at $199 for a single unit, or $399 for 2 units.
Intel was a member of the association for a brief period in 2007. It resigned its membership on 3 January 2008, citing disagreements with requests from OLPC's founder, Nicholas Negroponte, for Intel to stop dumping their Classmate PCs.
Ivan Krstić (former OLPC Director of Security Architecture) resigned in late February, 2008 because, he said, learning wasn’t what the OLPC was about even for Negroponte (see quote below). On April 22, 2008, Walter Bender, who was the former President of Software and Content for the OLPC project, stepped down from his post and left OLPC to found Sugar Labs. Bender reportedly had a disagreement with Negroponte about the future of the OLPC and their future partnerships. Negroponte also showed some doubt about the exclusive use of open source software for the project and made suggestions supporting a move towards adding Windows XP which Microsoft was in the process of porting over to the XO hardware. Microsoft's Windows XP, however, is not seen by some as a sustainable operating system. Microsoft announced on May 16, 2008, that Windows XP would be offered as an option on XO-1 laptops and possibly be able to dual boot alongside Linux.
Charles Kane became the new President and Chief Operating Officer of the OLPC Association on May 2, 2008. In late 2008, the NYC Department of Education began a project to purchase large numbers of XO computers for use by New York schoolchildren.
Advertisements for OLPC began streaming on the video streaming website Hulu and others in 2008. One such ad has John Lennon advertising for OLPC, with an unknown voice actor redubbing over Lennon's voice.
The 2008 economic downturn and increased netbook competition reduced OLPC's annual budget from $12 million to $5 million and a major restructuring resulted effective January 7, 2009. Development of the Sugar operating environment was moved entirely into the community, the Latin America support organization was spun out and staff reductions, including Jim Gettys, affected approximately 50% of the paid employees. The remaining 32 staff members also saw salary reductions.
Although OLPC was unable to lower costs to reach their initial target price of $100, their mere presence in the industry has exerted competitive force on other manufacturers of consumer notebooks (such as Acer and Hewlett-Packard) to launch their own lower-cost devices that could be used both in developing countries as well as in the United States.
In addition, software companies like Microsoft contributed to lowering costs by offering Windows, Office, and other educational programs at $3 each when used in schools. This substantial discount led to OLPC allowing Windows on the XO.
The XO-1, previously known as the "$100 Laptop" or "Children's Machine", is an inexpensive laptop computer designed to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world, to provide them with access to knowledge, and opportunities to "explore, experiment and express themselves" (constructionist learning). The laptop is manufactured by the Taiwanese computer company Quanta Computer.
The rugged, low-power computers use flash memory instead of a hard drive, run a Fedora-based operating system and use the Sugar user interface. Mobile ad-hoc networking based on the 802.11s wireless mesh network protocol allows students to collaborate on activities and to share Internet access from one connection. The wireless networking has much greater range than typical consumer laptops. The XO-1 has also been designed to be lower cost and much longer lived than typical laptops.
The laptops include an anti-theft system which can, optionally, require each laptop to periodically make contact with a server to renew its cryptographic lease token. If the cryptographic lease expires before the server is contacted, the laptop will be locked until a new token is provided. The contact may be to a country specific server over a network or to a local, school-level server that has been manually loaded with cryptographic "lease" tokens that enable a laptop to run for days or even months between contacts. Cryptographic lease tokens can be supplied on a USB flash drive for un-networked schools. The mass production laptops are also tivoized, disallowing installation of additional software or replacement of the operating system. Users, interested in development, need to obtain the unlocking key separately (most of developer laptops for Western users already come unlocked). It is claimed that locking prevents unintentional bricking and is part of the anti - theft system.
Microsoft developed a modified version of Windows XP and announced in May 2008 that Windows XP will be available for an additional cost of 10 dollars per laptop.
OLPC is currently working on an updated XO (dubbed XO-1.5) to take advantage of the latest component technologies. The XO-1.5 will include a new VIA C7-M processor and a new chipset providing a 3D graphics engine and an HD video decoder. The RAM memory will be increased to 1 GB and built-in storage to 4 GB, with an option for 8 GB. The network wireless interface will be replaced by one with half the power dissipation. The XO 1.5 will keep the existing display, although OLPC is working to improve its brightness and efficiency. Early prototype versions of the hardware were available as of June 2009, with several hundred prototypes for software development and testing available as of September 2009, and provided for free through a developer's program.
The XO-3 concept resembles a tablet PC and will have the inner workings of the XO 1.75. Price goal is below $100 and date is 2012. The XO-2 two sheet design concept was canceled in favor of the one sheet XO-3.
The laptops are sold to governments, to be distributed through the ministries of education with the goal of distributing “one laptop per child”. The laptops are given to students, similar to school uniforms and ultimately remain the property of the child. The operating system and software is localized to the languages of the participating countries.
Approximately 500 developer boards (Alpha-1) were distributed in mid-2006; 875 working prototypes (Beta 1) were delivered in late 2006; 2400 Beta-2 machines were distributed at the end of February 2007; full-scale production started November 6, 2007. Around one million units were manufactured in 2008.
OLPC initially stated that no consumer version of the XO laptop was planned. The project, however, later established the laptopgiving.org website to accept direct donations and ran a "Give 1 Get 1" (G1G1) offer starting on November 12, 2007. The offer was initially scheduled to run for only two weeks, but was extended until December 31, 2007 to meet demand. With a donation of $399 (plus US$25 shipping cost) to the OLPC "Give 1 Get 1" program, donors received an XO-1 laptop of their own and OLPC sent another on their behalf to a child in a developing country. Shipments of "Get 1" laptops sent to donors were restricted to addresses within the United States, its territories, and Canada.
Some 83,500 donors participated in the program. Delivery of all of the G1G1 laptops was completed by April 19, 2008. Delays were blamed on order fulfillment and shipment issues both within OLPC and with the outside contractors hired to manage those aspects of the G1G1 program.
Between November 17, 2008, and December 31, 2008, a second G1G1 program was run through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. This partnership was chosen specifically to solve the distribution issues of the G1G1 2007 program. The price to consumers was the same as in 2007, at USD$399.
The program aimed to be available worldwide. Laptops could be delivered in the USA, in Canada and in more than 30 European countries, as well as in some Central and South American countries (Colombia, Haiti, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay), African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Madagascar, Rwanda) and Asian countries (Afghanistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nepal). Despite this, the program sold only about 12,500 laptops and generated a mere $2.5 million – a 93 percent decline from the year before.
|Year||Confirmed number (approximate)||Date confirmed||Purchaser|
|15,000||November 14, 2007||Birmingham, Alabama, United States|
|260,000||December 1, 2007||Peru|
|50,000||December 1, 2007||Mexico (Mexican businessman Carlos Slim)|
|167,000||January 5, 2008||G1G1 2007 program|
|2008||65,000||May 29, 2008||Colombia (Caldas) |
|+110,000||November 10, 2008||Colombia (Bogota and Cartagena) |
|10,000||November 10, 2008||Ghana|
|12,500||January 9, 2009||G1G1 2008 program|
|2009||5,000||April 24, 2009||Sierra Leone|
|100,000||May 14, 2009||Rwanda |
|+160,000||October 13, 2009||Uruguay total of 362,000 children and 18000 teachers|
In October 2007, Uruguay placed an order for 100,000 laptops, making Uruguay the first country to purchase a full order of laptops. The first real, non-pilot deployment of the OLPC technology happened in Uruguay in December 2007. Since then, 200,000 more laptops have been ordered to cover all public school children between 6 and 12 years old.
President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay launched the scheme at a school in Montevideo on 13 October 2009. Over the last two years 362,000 pupils and 18,000 teachers have been involved, and has cost the state $260 (£159) per child, including maintenance costs, equipment repairs, training for the teachers and internet connection. The annual cost of maintaining the programme, including an information portal for pupils and teachers, will be US$21 (£13) per child.
The country reportedly became the first in the world where every primary school child received a free laptop on 13 October 2009 as part of the Plan Ceibal (Education Connect). However, the South Pacific island nation of Niue also claimed this in August 2008.
Laptops have been delivered to the following countries, either following an order or as part of the Give One Get One program:
OLPC to Revises Distribution Strategy to Include the United States
OLPC planned to launch OLPC America in 2008. According to Nicholas Negroponte, "OLPC America already has a director and a chairman and will likely be based in Washington, D.C."99. Originally OLPC announced the United States would not be part of this effort. Some believe the changing economic landscape has forced OLPC to adjust their distribution strategy. Negroponte cited patriotic, economies of scale ("building critical mass"), and providing a means where children all over the world could communicate.
In addition to pilot projects in the participating countries listed above, pilot projects (from a few dozen to a few hundred laptops) took place or are currently taking place in the following countries (see also Google map of OLPC pilot projects):
The following countries have shown interest in the past, but no concrete projects have resulted up to now:
OLPC's dedication to "Free and open source" was questioned with their May 15, 2008, announcement that large-scale purchasers would be offered the choice to add an extra cost, special version of the proprietary Windows XP OS developed by Microsoft alongside the regular, free and open Linux-based "Sugar" OS. James Utzschneider, from Microsoft, said that initially only one operating system could be chosen. OLPC, however, said that future OLPC work would enable XO-1 laptops to dual boot either the free and open Linux/Sugar OS or the proprietary Microsoft Windows XP. Negroponte further said that "OLPC will sell Linux-only and dual-boot, and will not sell Windows-only [XO-1 laptops]". OLPC released the first test firmware enabling XO-1 dual-boot on July 3, 2008.
Negroponte and Charles Kane made statements explaining OLPC's decision to enable XO-1 laptops to dual-boot either open source Fedora or proprietary Microsoft Windows XP:
[Nicholas] Negroponte says that within OLPC, the open-source scrap had become a distraction. "I think that means and ends, as often happens, got confused," he says. "The mission is learning and children. The means of achieving that were, amongst others, open source and constructionism. In the process of doing that, open source in particular became an end in itself, and we made decisions along the way to remain very pure in open source that were not in the long-term interest of the project."
"The OLPC mission is a great endeavor, but the mission is to get the technology in the hands of as many children as possible," [Charles Kane] said. "Whether that technology is from one operating system or another, one piece of hardware or another, or supplied or supported by one consulting company or another doesn't matter."
"It's about getting it into kids' hands," he continued. "Anything that is contrary to that objective, and limits that objective, is against what the program stands for."—Charles Kane, OLPC President and COO, May 2, 2008, 
Other discussions question whether OLPC laptops should be designed to promote anonymity or to facilitate government tracking of stolen laptops. A recent New Scientist article critiqued Bitfrost's P_THEFT security option, which allows each laptop to be configured to transmit an individualized, non-repudiable digital signature to a central server at most once each day to remain functioning.
At The World Summit on the Information Society held by the United Nations in Tunisia from November 16–18, 2005, several African officials, most notably Marthe Dansokho of Cameroon and Mohammed Diop of Mali, voiced suspicions towards the motives of the OLPC project and claimed that the project was using an overly U.S. mindset that presented solutions not applicable to specifically African problems. Dansokho said the project demonstrated misplaced priorities, stating that clean water and schools were more important for African women, who, he stated, would not have time to use the computers to research new crops to grow. Diop specifically attacked the project as an attempt to exploit the governments of poor nations by making them pay for hundreds of millions of machines.
Lee Felsenstein, a computer engineer who played a central role in the development of the personal computer, criticized the centralized, top-down design and distribution of the OLPC, calling it "imperialistic”.
John Wood, founder of Room to Read, emphasizes affordability and scalability over high-tech solutions. While in favor of the One Laptop per Child initiative for providing education to children in the developing world at a cheaper rate, he has pointed out that a $2,000 library can serve 400 children, costing just $5 a child to bring access to a wide range of books in the local languages (such as Khmer or Nepali) and English; also, a $10,000 school can serve 400–500 children ($20–$25 a child). According to Wood, these are more appropriate solutions for education in the dense forests of Vietnam or rural Cambodia.
The Scandinavian aid organization FAIR proposed setting up computer labs with recycled second-hand computers as a more economical alternative. Computer Aid International doubted the OLPC sales strategy would succeed, citing the "untested" nature of its technology. CAI refurbishes computers and printers and sends them to developing countries.
In 2005 and prior to the final design of the XO-1 hardware, OLPC received criticism because of concerns over the environmental and health impacts of hazardous materials found in most computers. The OLPC asserted that it aimed to use as many environmentally friendly materials as it could; that the laptop and all OLPC-supplied accessories would be fully compliant with the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS); and that the laptop would use an order of magnitude less power than the typical consumer notebooks available as of 2007 thus minimizing the environmental burden of power generation.
The XO-1 delivered (starting in 2007) uses environmental friendly materials, complies with the EU's RoHS and uses between 0.25 and 6.5 watts in operation. According to the Green Electronics Council's Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), whose sole purpose is assessing and measuring the impact laptops have on the environment, the XO is not only non-toxic and fully recyclable, but it lasts longer, costs less, and is more energy efficient. The XO-1 is the first laptop to have been awarded an EPEAT Gold level rating.
Lagos Analysis Corp., also called Lancor, a Lagos, Nigeria-based company, sued OLPC in the end of 2007 for $20 million, claiming that the computer's keyboard design was stolen from a Lancor patented device. OLPC responded by claiming that they had not sold any multi-lingual keyboards in the design claimed by Lancor, and that Lancor had misrepresented and concealed material facts before the court. In October 2008, the Middlesex Superior Court granted OLPC’s motions to dismiss all of Lancor's claims against OLPC, Nicholas Negroponte, and Quanta.
In 2007, XO laptops in Nigeria were reported to contain pornographic material belonging to children partaking in the OLPC Program. In response, OLPC made plans for adding content filters. The OLPC foundation maintained the position that such issues were societal, not laptop related. Similar responses have led some to suggest the OLPC takes an indifferent stance concerning this issue. According to Wayan Vota Senior Director at Inveneo and founder of the independent OLPC News, "The use of computers to look at porn is [a] social problem, not a hardware one... Children have to be taught what's good and what's bad, based on the cultural context."
India's Ministry of Human Resource Development, in June 2006, rejected the initiative, saying “it would be impossible to justify an expenditure of this scale on a debatable scheme when public funds continue to be in inadequate supply for well-established needs listed in different policy documents” and stated plans to make laptops at $10 each for schoolchildren. Two designs submitted to the Ministry from a final year engineering student of Vellore Institute of Technology and a researcher from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in May 2007 reportedly describe a laptop that could be produced for "$47 per laptop" for even small volumes. The Ministry announced in July, 2008 that the cost of their proposed "$10 laptop" would in fact be $100 by the time the laptop became available.
These captions visualize the run of OLPC Thailand pilot (Ban Samkha).
The XO band
First encounter with the laptops
Packing the laptop into bag
Parents are intrigued by the machine, especially with the video camera.
Students showing an XO to a local monk
|One Laptop per Child|
|Key people||Charles Kane, Seymour Papert, Alan Kay|
One Laptop Per Child is an organization founded at the MIT. It is a non-profit organisation. It wants to make cheap laptops so that children in less wealthy countries without as much technology can also use a computer to learn. The laptop is called an XO.