Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Decoupling OLPC

Walter Bender on leaving OLPC:

My personal interest is in helping build a community of developers, educators, and learners dedicated to advancing the quality of free and open source software for learning and the sharing of pedagogical approaches in this community by adopting the spirit and methodology of the open-source movement.

While my goal is to create a complementary effort to broaden the reach of the software and pedagogy--a free and open framework in support of "learning learning", I hope to continue working with the great team at OLPC as well as the various groups that have formed around the world in support of one-laptop-per-child deployments.

This statement leaves a lot of room for interpretation. If it means that Walter is going to build a community and or organization around continuing to develop Sugar, that's probably a good thing. Right now, I'd love to see either the hardware or software envisioned and created by OLPC survive. As long as they're both dependent on a tiny start-up-sized non-profit with no apparent plan for growth, each part is dependent on the success of the whole. Sugar is a long way from having enough momentum to survive if the OLPC Foundation would stop. If the software finds a second independent, complimentary home, and the hardware innovations live on in Pixel Qi, at least, we'll have a more robust ecosystem. Also, what kind of software and firmware Pixel Qi's products use, if they come to fruition, will be a big factor too.

Also, you should probably subscribe to this.


rgesthuizen said...

Hmm, that is an interesting thought. Work towards the long term life of Sugar by encouraging its use on other platforms. It certainly has merit.

Bill Kerr said...

I like your positive framing of the issues - but can't help feeling disappointed that OLPC has turned into a vehicle for distributing Windows to the Third world. Helping the poor turns into a fascinating exercise in the dynamics of monopoly capitalism.

"Eventually, Negroponte added, Windows might be the sole operating system, and Sugar would be educational software running on top of it"
- source