OLPC Finally Decides to Open Source Its Hardware
from the it's-about-time dept
The many travails of the One Laptop Per Child program have been widely chronicled – after developing a robust, innovative laptop for the developing world, Nicholas Negroponte’s educational project failed to garner the reception he expected. One of the main reasons for this was OLPC’s belief that the market could not do better than their small project: instead of seeking the best products for the children of the developing world, competition was anathema to the OLPC group.
But news that the hardware from OLPC’s second version, XO-2, will be open sourced, gives hope that things are starting to change. Speaking to the Guardian, Negroponte says, “The XO-1 was really designed as if we were Apple. The XO-2 will be designed as if we were Google – we’ll want people to copy it. We’ll make the constituent parts available. We’ll try and get it out there using the exact opposite approach that we did with the XO-1.” Open hardware is an exciting new arena for innovative designs and, by embracing it, OLPC will create a new opportunity for entrepreneurs to create the best laptop for the developing world (or even the developed world). Also, instead of picking an established manufacturer from East Asia, open sourced hardware specifications will allow the developing world’s emergent technology industries to compete, strengthening the communities OLPC seeks to assist.