Negroponte Halves OLPC Staff, Phases Out Sugar Linux to Focus on Dual-Screen XO

Today, Ars Technica picked up a blip from Nicholas Negroponte, who informed readers of his intention to cut half the staff and reduce pay of the rest, and emphasizing the shift to hardware.

The already beleaguered non-profit has been hit as hard as other charities during the economic crisis, says Negroponte, who said on the OLPC wiki:

Today we are reducing our team by approximately 50% and there will be salary reductions for the remaining 32 people. While we are saddened by this development, we remain firmly committed to our mission of getting laptops to children in developing countries.

The downsizing gives Negroponte an opportunity to more clearly phase out software development on the Sugar Linux interface and platform, he says in order to focus on the double-screened XO2. It's no secret that Negroponte was easing away from Sugar anyway, moving to Windows, so this presents a good excuse.

He also announced that they'd be spinning off the Latin America branch, a move that doesn't exactly build confidence in the organization overall. We certainly hope that Negroponte and his remaining team manages to pull that X02 together, but by the time they do, it may be just a proof-of-concept. [Ars Technica]