Negroponte Open Sources OLPC Hardware Design, Invites Copy-Cats

Illustration for article titled Negroponte Open Sources OLPC Hardware Design, Invites Copy-Cats

The embattled OLPC program, already reeling from job cuts and salary decreases, is making one final attempt to stay afloat: Open source everything and hope enough companies copy the design to make it profitable.

The news was delivered by OLPC frontman Nicholas Negroponte himself, during remarks at this week's TED 2009 conference.

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Blogger Ethan Zuckerman, reporting from TED, said Negroponte hopes the new open source hardware design will be "something that everyone copies."

"Commercial markets will go to no end to stop you. It's sort of a tragedy," Negroponte said. "So the future of One Laptop Per Child is to go 'from uppercase to lower case,' to 'build something that everyone copies.'"

According to Negroponte, the open design will lead to companies worldwide creating 5 to 6 million machines, per month, in three years time. That's a lot of little mean green machines with those weird alien wifi antennas.

And while this technically sounds like more of a licensing deal than true "open source," it will be interesting to see what companies cook up using the OLPC design over the next few years. If it catches on, that is. [Ethan Zuckerman via CNET]

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DISCUSSION

macrumpton

If they would just stop farting around and sell the olpc to people with money to buy it (the developed world) for a reasonable price, say $250 then they would make enough money to subsidize it in the third world. The ebook market alone is huge enough to save the olpc.

Having it be a popular device in the US would make it much more attractive to their target educational market buyers, and you know there would be a huge number of apps developed for it that would make it even more enticing.

Schools in the US could save a mint by getting these for the students and using free open source ebook texts.

Imagine the kids taking these to school instead of the humongous rolling backpacks they use now. The savings in medical bills alone would be huge.