Ed Cherlin is a volunteer and community member.
There is a fairly long and rambling thread on Slashdot starting from the recent announcement from OLPC. That discussion contains a lot of uninformed naysaying, but there are also some good posts. I just spent some time there answering questions and correcting misinformation. Since most of the naysaying on Slashdot (the polite parts, anyway) is pretty much the same as what you read in the respectable business press, I thought it worthwhile to review some of these opinions, correct confusions, and highlight the good parts.
Now you may wonder why we aren’t hearing any comments on the layoffs. Well, that’s Slashdot. I have to take the comments as they come. This is what people are talking about. OLPC is dead, according to the naysayers, killed by some combination of Intel, Microsoft, Asus, Arrogance & elitism, scale, or not selling to the first world.
Greatly exaggerated, as Mark Twain put it. Curiously, none of the commentators said, “All of the above.” Each has a favorite theory, and is sticking to it. This smacks of The Blind Men and The Elephant, except in this case without the elephant.
OLPC the organization has its share of problems. OLPC “It’s an education project” is in great shape, from my point of view, and OLPC XO the product has had a fantastic launch year, in spite of hardware and software issues, high expectations, and so on. How many new computer models get a million orders in the first year? How many non-profits have ever received a million orders for a computer? But let’s take these one at a time.