* Posts by Korhan Tekin

1 post • joined 21 May 2007

Negroponte slams Intel over OLPC competition

Korhan Tekin

Microfaust is at it again

Microsoft will not allow its monopoly to be challenged by anybody, even on a project which, in my opinion, is more about public relations than about solving Third World education problems. Microsoft wants the lock on it all, even if it has no real chance of success. In this case, the project is getting a lot of attention, and it runs a Red Hat OS, and that's the problem here. So Microsoft has to either displace the Linux OS in a very public way, or sabotage the whole project.

It's a dirty business, and if it were another big corporation, it would be standard operating procedure. But since it's Microsoft, they have the power to scuttle this thing if they wish. Which is fine by me, since in the end it will save these African nations from wasting their meager funds on this high-minded but ultimately foolish venture.

I would say that even without Microsoft's involvement, this project is just another way to exploit the third world. These countries need running water, electricity, medicine, books, classrooms, teachers, network infrastructure, etc., long before they will be ready for laptops for every child. Another commenter said it best: "You can't leapfrog the infrastructure." Not even the United States has one laptop for every child! And don't doubt there aren't schools in the US in need of such help.

It doesn't make sense to try this in Africa before you make it work in the First World. African leaders, despite their nations' own best interests, are buying the Kool-Aid from Negroponte and his colonially-minded colleagues. They need to take their cue from India and China - concentrate on the basics for a few decades, and worry about laptops for your kids after the West has figured out how to make it work (and spent 10s of millions of dollars doing so).

It would be ambitious enough to just say One-Laptop-per-Classroom.


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