OLPC Sadness

Free Software 8 Comments »

I like the OLPC XO-1. It’s a quite little machine, it doesn’t have venting holes, and is quite resistant to dust and water. It’s also strong, and handles small falls (like falling from a desk to a floor) very well. I also like the amount of effort they have put into creating the custom Sugar interface, and all the other things around it like the mesh networking support and the way that a user can find other users close to them.

I think the project has taken a turn for the worse though. Nicolas Negreponte, founder of the OLPC project, is pushing the project for the XO-1 to use Microsoft Windows, and they have lost top staff like Walter Bender, who was also one of the top open source guys in the company. Negreponte claims that his interest is to get the machines in as many children’s hands as possible, this article also says:

He lamented that an overriding insistence on open-source had hampered the XOs, saying Sugar “grew amorphously” and “didn’t have a software architect who did it in a crisp way.” For instance, the laptops do not support Flash animation, widely used on the Web.

“There are several examples like that, that we have to address without worrying about the fundamentalism in some of the open-source community,” he said. “One can be an open-source advocate without being an open-source fundamentalist.”

Personally, I think that getting the laptops in the hands of kids in an irresponsable manner can do more harm than good. I previously blogged about Microsoft trying to force their old software on users, and this isn’t too much different. Microsoft is already reportedly releasing the next version of Windows next year. This means that by the time many of these XO laptops running Windows get to their target users, it would be an 8 year old operating system that’s already two releases behind the newest. I think this is terribly cruel, and shouldn’t be allowed. If I was a project donor, I would rather pay a bit more for decent hardware like the ASUS Eee or Intel Classmate PC (or even a Classmate 2) and run a modern, supported, localised operating system that truly benefits the users, instead of providing a legacy operating system on slow hardware.

Holiday time

Free Software, Jonathan, Music, Sport 1 Comment »

Whohoo! My first real holiday since… since… a very long time! Haven’t planned all my holiday time yet, but this is what I have so far…

Next week I’ll also try to catch up on a lot of Ubuntu stuff (more on that to follow) I’ve been meaning to do for a long long time now (some things even 2 years). After that I’ll just relax and have a good time, I want to get back in full force and really take 2008 by the horns!

Microsoft now has 2 Open Source licenses

Free Software 6 Comments »

Via LWN, Microsoft now has 2 approved Open Source licenses. They don’t seem like very Microsoft-like licensed, which tends to be very long winded (then again, the same can be said for some Open Source licenses).

The two licenses are:

They seem like quite straight-forward licenses, except that I’m having a bit of trouble understanding what “If you bring a patent claim against any contributor over patents that you claim are infringed by the software, your patent license from such contributor to the software ends automatically.” means. I wish that lawyers could start using language that is easier to understand for non-native English speakers.

I think it will be interesting to see whether they’ll actually release anything useful under these licenses. I read the announcements from their Open Source portal via their RSS feed, and so far it’s just been marketing speak, and the software they have featured so far is rather dull, unless you are the type of person who would find wiki’s written in .net or IIS extensions exciting ;)

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