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OLPC Troubles

AMSAT OLPC owners might find this interesting...

>From BBC News .

One laptop project dealt big blow

Intel has pulled out of a project to put cheap laptops in the hands of
children in the developing world.

Citing "philosophical" differences, Intel has withdrawn its funding
and technical help from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

OLPC aimed to boost learning in poorer nations via a custom-built
laptop intended to cost no more than $100.

Intel's withdrawal is a blow to OLPC which has found few nations
willing to buy large numbers of laptops.

Intel joined the OLPC in July 2007 and was widely expected to work on
a version of the projects laptop that used an Intel chip. Many
expected this machine to be unveiled at the CES technology fair which
opens in Las Vegas on 5 January.

The first versions of the OLPC or XO laptop were powered by a chip
made by Intel's arch-rival AMD.

The green and white XO machine was designed specifically for children,
was ruggedised to cope with conditions in developing nations and could
be kept powered using a hand crank.

Intel spokesman Chuck Molly said it had taken the decision to resign
from the OLPC board and end its involvement because the organization
had asked it to stop backing rival low-cost laptops.

The chip maker has been promoting its own cheap laptop, the Classmate,
in many of the same places as the OLPC.

"OLPC had asked Intel to end our support for non-OLPC platforms,
including the Classmate PC, and to focus on the OLPC platform
exclusively, " said Mr Mulloy . "At the end of the day, we decided we
couldn't accommodate that request."

He added that the use of AMD chips in the first XO laptops had not
influenced its decision.

Cost breakdown of OLPC laptop
So far the OLPC has yet to comment on the split.

Prior to Intel's involvement, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte
criticized the chip firm for what he called its attempts to undermine
the project's work.

He said Intel was selling its Classmate at a loss to make the XO
laptop less attractive.

While Dr Negroponte's initial aim was for a laptop costing only $100
the final versions that have been trialled in Nigeria and Uruguay cost
$188 (95).

Costs were supposed to be kept low by governments ordering the XO
laptop in shipments of one million but large orders for the XO laptop
have, so far, not materialized.

In a bid to boost the numbers of laptops available OLPC ran a "Give
One, Get One" program in the US from 12 November to 31 December.

This allowed members of the public to buy two XO machines - one for
themselves and one for a OLPC project elsewhere.

OLPC said the success of this had helped it to launch programmes in
Haiti, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Afghanistan.
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