OLPC Mission Has Changed

Has the mission of OLPC changed so much? I say it has. No longer are the five core principals initially employed when the project started valid. The original Five Core Principles were:

  1. Child Ownership
  2. Low Ages
  3. Saturation
  4. Connection
  5. Free and Open Source

It’s important to quote what is under #5 above:

The child with an XO is not just a passive consumer of knowledge,
but an active participant in a learning community. As the children grow and pursue new ideas, the software, content, resources, and tools should be able to grow with them. The very global nature of OLPC demands that growth be driven locally, in large part by the children themselves. Each child with an XO can leverage the learning of every other child. They teach each other, share ideas, and through the social nature of the interface, support each other’s intellectual growth. Children are learners and teachers.

There is no inherent external dependency in being able to localize software into their language, fix the software to remove bugs, and repurpose the software to fit their needs. Nor is there any restriction in regard to redistribution; OLPC cannot know and should not control how the tools we create will be re-purposed in the future.

A world of great software and content is necessary to make this project succeed, both open and proprietary. Children need to be able to choose from all of it. In our context of learning where knowledge must be appropriated in order to be used, it is most appropriate for knowledge to be free. Further, every child has something to contribute; we need a free and open framework that supports and encourages the very
basic human need to express.

Give me a free and open environment and I will learn and teach with joy.

No longer is it about empowering a generation of children from poorer nations and letting them learn with the ability to help improve the platform they operate on…what it’s now about:

“‘The OLPC mission is a great endeavor, but the mission is to get the technology in the hands of as many children as possible. 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. Anything that is contrary to that objective, and limits that objective, is against what the program stands for.'”

…just like a fun toy right? <sarcasm>Let’s drop Nintendo DS gaming systems into their hands…laptops, laptops, laptops…that’s what it is about…because we’re all about getting the technology to the kids. </sarcasm> We’re not about empowering them to learn about computers, networks, and software. We’re not about them learning on a system where there are no limits. As RMS states, “Teaching children to use a proprietary (non-free) system such as Windows does not make the world a better place, because it
puts them under the power of the system’s developer.” That developer is Microsoft.

Congratulations go to Microsoft for bringing proprietary lockin to millions of kids worldwide who will no longer be able to take pride in their own contributions the the core OS, who will no longer feel community ownership, and who will no longer be the sole operator of their own open source software based XO.

Our children our the future and what we aren’t teaching them with closed source software is just as important as what we ARE teaching them.

The Absent PCLinuxOS Release Cycle

During distro comparisons, many call a lack of release cycle for PCLinuxOS one of its negative aspects. In my opinion, this is the most attractive and positive aspects of the small distribution. Not to take away from a distribution that sets a release cycle…I understand that normal release cycles are a must with companies and software engineering. However, I think PCLinuxOS has a unique approach to releases and updates. Allow me a bit of time to show you the method in my madness on this one.

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