Last Monday I read the first time about the $100 Laptop of the MIT to be built for the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative . There will be no shop that is going to sell that Laptop, as I read on the introductional page. The Laptop roughly will be
a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. This rugged laptop will be WiFi-enabled and have USB ports galore. Its current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel.
So far quite impressive, if you keep $100 in mind. Nevertheless I would like to add the following;
To add a solar panel on the top of the Laptop case .
To add a foil keyboard to make it more robust .
To add more fixed Memory (>1GB).
To set up a Hardware-Kit to let students build their own Laptop.
To find a way to license the schematics, Hardware-Kit etc. under a non-commercial license.
I am not yet sure about what an Open Hardware License would look like and even if it even is nescessary. As said, it is just a random thought. But I can imagine that it would push the innovation in the soft- and hardware industries, even though I tend for a non-commercial license. The idea behind is that companies should not re-produce the hardware and sell it at exorbitant prices. The Laptop should be available for approx. $100. So if they are innovative, they produce it for less.
There are certainly things that are more important than laptops, I aggree. But if we have that level behind, then education is very important. And if computer technology can foster it, we should give it a try. And yes, to have way behind state of the art technology is not what we would like. Have a look at the Simputer, which seems to be a huge success in India, and it is not even a laptop. Actually there is quite some activity concerning Open Hardware.
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