History of OLPC


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This page is intended to collect information about the earlier stages in the evolution of the OLPC so that, in the future, we can give newcomers an idea of how it all came about.


Handing out charity money to the poor? Giving them a fishing rod ? Teaching them how to fish? Or bringing knowledge and education?

Milestone 1: The insight that it probably made more sense to bring education and knowledge to people rather than handing out some money or food, was certainly a milestone.

OLPC builds upon this quite old insight: rather than giving some money or food to a hungry population, it's probably better to give a fishing rod, or even better to teach how to fish and let them decide what's fishing technique is best for their situation, but probably the best is to bring education - more specifically exactly the kind of education and knowledge they need at the moment they need it.

Milestone 2: The transistor radio. In 1948 e.g. in Columbia, the government decided to distribute transistor radio's to just about all peasants and give classes on relevant subjects for years over the radio. More: http://tedxmiami.com/bio/rodrigo-arboleda-2/ skip to 3:51

Milestone 3: Overcoming the last mile. In the 1980-ies, with computers and laptops (1990) existing for a while, the difficulty remained for a couple of years to get that internet access - with a cable - to those who need it most. This was often referred to as the "last mile" issue was overcome with wifi and longshots.

More: http://tedxmiami.com/bio/rodrigo-arboleda-2/ - Chairman and CEO, for One Laptop per Child Association

How the prototype came to be

There is an interesting presentation of how the prototype was produced.



On the above page, clicking on the next>> moves to the next frame in a sequence.

Evolution of Sugar

The now everyday desktop analogy that we take for granted wasn't so in the early days of computers, and it went through several stages and ideas of what, where, and how should elements be represented, manipulated and interacted with. Sugar is no exception, and here are some pictures that show the the whiteboard sketches, mockups, and other tidbits.

Public awareness of OLPC

(This text reports activity through the start of 2010 - Docdtv)

This could be the topic of a university dissertation. But for the present, a simple, if potentially misleading, quantitative metric for public awareness of the OLPC project is provided by the study of Web traffic by [Google Trends]. (To date, the only other Wiki page which (only) mentions Google Trends is Support meetings/20080817.)

Traffic for the phrase ["$100 laptop"] surged in late 2005 and declined thereafter, all but vanishing by 2009. It was almost entirely in English.

Traffic for the phrase ["one laptop per child"] peaked in late 2007. It was not a little multilingual: while English dominated, there was substantial activity in many European languages, first among which was Swedish.

Traffic for the acronym-word [OLPC] grew from nothing in late 2005, showing many peaks, the most intense of which were seen in late 2007. More peaks followed, including a broad plateau seen in the second half of 2009. The biggest traffic by far was in Spanish. Next came English, but many world languages took part, too. Heavy activity in Uruguay, no doubt associated with the completion of the rollout of XO-1 laptops to every last primary school child in that nation, dominated traffic. The acronym-word OLPC also showed documentable NEWS activity which peaked at the end of 2007, but is now all but quiet at the start of 2010.

Traffic for the phrase ["Sugar Labs"] spiked in the second quarter of 2008 and then died precipitously until the second half of 2009, when a broad plateau similar to that seen for the acronym-word OLPC was seen. Spanish was even more dominant for "Sugar Labs" than OLPC, being all but ubiquitous, save for a smidgeon of English. Again, Uruguay seemed to be the reason for these patterns.

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