Intel exits One Laptop Per Child initiative, project director not bothered

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olpc_laptop.jpgIntel yesterday announced that it had left the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, run by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte, because of a stipulation from the organisers that they support the project exclusively.

According to Intel, the OLPC board “asked Intel to end its support for non-OLPC platforms including the Classmate PC and other systems. They wanted us to focus our support exclusively on the OLPC system.”

Intel are convinced (as I am) that there will be many solutions to getting affordable, accessible technology into the hands of people in developing countries. Perhaps the OLPC thought that Intel was some tinpot organisation who didn’t have the resources to concentrate on more than one project at a time. For an open-source initiative, their stance seems a little peculiar.

Meanwhile, OLPC’s President, Walter Bender, said that Intel’s “half hearted” efforts would not be missed.

“My expectation was that there’s lots of room for cooperation, particularly on software … I couldn’t get Intel interested in helping me with any of those problems,” he said. “They weren’t interested in how we can learn together and make something better for kids.”

Oh dear. It all sounds a bit petty. Imagine if World Vision and Compassion decided that they were competing for child sponsorship, and that any company offering money or support had to do so exclusively. Rubbish! There are (sadly) many millions of people who need help, and one agency or solution isn’t going to do it all.

Yes, big business will rarely be completely altruistic in its charitable efforts, but surely something is better than nothing?

(Via Reuters / PC World)

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Andy Merrett