OLPC reaches milestone as OS, hardware comes together
The One Laptop Per Child project achieved what it’s referring to as a major milestone this week, combining the hardware and software for the $100 laptop for the first time. It also showed off alternative designs and colour schemes. Unveiled at the Country Task Force Meeting on Tuesday, the new models sported Redhat’s Fedora Core 5.0 operating system. "This is first time we have combined the industrual design with the hardware (A-TEST board). Both the ID and the hardware had been shown seperately in the past; pictured was a working laptop, completely self-contained; a real milestone for us," announced the group on its Wiki. The models demonstrated aren’t exactly the laptops that are expected to offer the developing worlds’ children their first contact with the world of IT. The 800×480 screens are expected to get pushed up to a respectable 1200×900 resolution. The new models, in orange, blue, yellow and the now-familiar lime-green, featured concepts like wifi aerials that cover the USB and audio ports when folded away and a nifty carrying handle. Not all models sported the hand crank for powering the machine far from the nearest plug point. But the biggest feature was of course the software working on the machines. It’s likely that Fedora Core will be replaced with a seriously slim Redhat Linux operating system. The team has already managed to get the OS down to 250MB, despite the project founder Nicholas Negroponte’s complaints that Linux had grown too fat over the years, and was hampering the project. (Perhaps he should look at Puppy Linux – ed.) Last week Jon "Maddog" Hall told delegates at LinuxWorld that countries like South Africa should be cautious of buying in to the One Laptop Per Child project. "I’m not saying that the One Laptop per Child project is bad; what I’m saying is that you should think about where the money is going to be going, because I can almost guarantee you that the money for those laptops will not stay here in South Africa," cautioned Hall. In a comment on Tectonic’s web site, Hall reiterated: "I stress that I said that the real answer for South Africa is using the right solution in the right place. There are places where the OLPC solution is very good."