[Ted Mittelstaedt's words, heavily edited for brevity. Ted, please shout if I haven't caught the sense of what you're saying]
> Well, I know it's been a week since this came up but I'll toss in my > $0.02 here. I've been against this project since I heard about it. > Fortunately, it appears to be failing. > IMHO what these kids need are connections to the Internet and the > knowledge store on the Internet, not a laptop. What a laptop that > isn't networked to the Internet is going to do to help them I cannot > guess. > The idea of this project seems to have been to just dump a lot of > laptops into these kids hands and trust that the network fairies > will magically fly out and connect all of them to something they can > use. > The other problem of course is that laptops are more fragile than a > desktop that is fixed, and very subject to theft, much more than a > desktop. > I suppose they figure ... the kid will be able to come up with the > $10-$20 monthly equivalent to keep the internet connection to the > thing going? Assuming they even have a phone at all? As I understand it, the OLPC project has produced an extremely robust laptop which can be human-powered. A group of these laptops will automatically form a wireless mesh network and make use, collectively, of any Internet connectivity that's available to any one of them. In sub-Saharan Africa, that may well be through cellular data. (Satellite is available too, but a lot more expensive). Look at <http://www.digitaldividend.org/case/case_vodacom.htm> to see a social project by a cellular provider in South Africa which is putting telephone access within reach (both geographically and financially) of traditional rural communities. Note the statistic that Vodacom's cellular network covers 93% of South Africa's population. Note also that this is being done, not as a free handout, but by creating a (slightly subsidised) business opportunity for local people, which is being seized with both hands. People don't need to be handed everything on a plate. Now consider what a community can do when it can pool the cost of Internet connectivity - or what a force multiplier this is for government, non-governmental or even business intervention: this potentially reduces the problem of providing decent bandwidth to every farm and hut in rural Africa (or any other developing area) to a much simpler matter of wiring a few central points and letting the mesh networks take over the distribution. > It would have been better to try creating a project that would > produce a turnkey Internet network deployment that would be able to > be dropped into any school anywhere, even if such a school consisted > of a hut in the middle of a desert with a hole out back as the > bathroom, no electricity, no running water, no telephone lines > within 100 miles. As far as I can see, the only bit of this equation OLPC isn't achieving is providing the Internet connectivity - and to be honest, I think that bit has to depend on local circumstances anyway. I think it deserves to succeed. Jonathan (a sysadmin in urban South Africa) _______________________________________________ firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list http://lists.freebsd.org/mailman/listinfo/freebsd-questions To unsubscribe, send any mail to "[EMAIL PROTECTED]"