Support meetings/20080518

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Chuck Kane now speaking. He's a volunteer. Working pro-bono. Working corporate relationships. Access to capital. Been part of community for ~1.5yrs. "Came back" on Nicholas' request 1 month ago. As president.

Chuck introducing/previewing Tuesday's event. Media announcement. On Tues, OLPC will intro 2.0 version of our computer. It's quite a ways away from manufacturing. Also v1.5 will be coming, hopefully with newer AMD CPU.

Ian Daniher: price change?

Tues will also introduce heads of Peru & Uruguay projects. These 2 gentlemen will explain how they are/have launched a limited number of computers, using "half their overall edu budget." Uruguay will roll another 100,000 laptops, along w/ Microsoft agreement/deal. Chuck negotiated the contract w/ Microsoft.

HW project? Yes partially. B/c we're the only who will do it.

Ian Daniher: Asus?

Microsoft says they used 20 engineers to port XP to XO.

FFM: "really good"? So all the security vulnerabilities are fixed?

About 2 months ago, Microsoft said they had a great version ready. OLPC rejected it larger deal. Microsoft has NGO's World Vision, etc, which will distribute XO's.

FFM: Wait, [Microsoft is] offering [to handle technical] support [queries from Windows-on-XO] users? Whew, that saves us a headache.

Ian Daniher: Indeed.

Holt: Dual boot [instead of just Windows-on-XO].

XP price dropped from $~150 -> $3 if used in educ capacity. "Microsoft said they can only trust us -- no other vendor will be offered XP at $3/copy"

"Unlimited Potential" is name of Microsoft's program. Chuck has no apologies for making deal. He understands "heartache" in open software community, "OLPC will not be backing away from FOSS, Facts will prove that out..."

Holt: Prepare questions for Chuck, thanks! Chuck wants to recognize volunteers.

FFM: Don't worry, I am. Can software be taken out of that environment, does the child still own it? Will OLPC still be putting forth efforts to make/ship Sugar, or will it eventually move to only shipping windows?

Chuck Kane : That's easy. the only thing we are doing is providing dual-boot capability. Some countries will want Windows as their operating system and we want Sugar to be the frontend for their educational experience, so we will be doing that through partners, but the real in-house moneys we spend and dedicate will be towards [Sugar on Linux]. The more [systems] that are implemented, the more issues we are going to encounter, we know that. that's an issue of deployments. But our goal is to continue to work on entirely open source solutions, and that [will be] our focus.

Sandy Culver: I was interested in more technical things, and got swamped with the fulfillment and support issues over the past months.

Chuck Kane : I know, and I want to apologize for that...

Sandy Culver : Let me finish my question first... over the last 3 or 4 months, looking back over your own iunderstanding of the organization, how come the senior execs didn't rise to the occasion sooner?

Chuck Kane: First of all, I'm not trying to avoid this in any way, but I wasn't here for much of that mess. *jokingly* I apologize, I got greedy and did a hedge fund in the interim and got smarter and got back into OLPC about 3 weeks ago. The G1G1 operations required a sophisticated approach. [We made mistakes.] It cost us a great deal of money and time to recover from this. Including time from the community, who should have been helping out with implementation details [and not G1G1].

Sandy Culver : looking back, how do you explain that senior staff didn't notice that we missed the boat? This is a friendly question...

Iain Davidson: Doh! nice queston Sandy! :)

Chuck Kane: I know, Sandy, we're all on the same page here... I think the level of expertise and talent [OLPC had] in this area was nonexistent and as a result of not knowing what it was getting into, it just blew up. Could it have been administered better? absolutely! I could go down a checklist...

Sandy Culver : Let me just give one small example. Some people have said, well, [a partner organization] is the problem because of how they proceeded. I want to suggest senior folks think that it wasn't neccesarily [that organization] as the problem. It was the /response/ to [that organization].

Kim Quirk: sandy, are you asking what we would do differently?

Sandy Culver : When you choose to do things going forward, such as "[this organization] was a problem, lets not use them again"

Kim Quirk: How did we respond when we found problems, right.

Chuck Kane: I suggest this - Sandy, we're not proud of the way things went the first round. If we were to do it again - and there's a likelihood we are to do one again in the near term - we would do it with an expert. Someone who does a soup to nuts; call center, inventory management, et cetera. That would let people working on suport do what thye initially wanted to do.

Christoph Derndorfer: One question about software. Now we've heard a strong commitment from you, Chuck, to open source software and development in the future. And we've seen Negroponte write about this on the mailing list. But Walter Bender, who had those same goals, didn't think that this environment would support those goals. How do you think the community, especially the foss community, should believe this commitment if the very person who started this decided to go off and start his own venture?

Chuck Kane : I know Walter quite well, I see him regularly; he is a great guy and is pursuing great things. He and we are not [diverging], we are on the same page; we are both hoping to fund and support Sugar in ways that are approppriate so that we can continue to provide the beset learning experience for children. OLPC has supported Sugar from the beginning, all funding that thas gone into it to date; we are really focused on this as the best possible project. SugarLabs is a project just introduced, it is consistent with taking Sugar to the next level; sharing is what open source is all about, and we hope that these two entities would continue on; I applaud Walter if this is what he wants to do. I absolutely applaud that; it will not be inconsistent with what OLPC is doing. Aany help from outside or inside OLPC should help establish Sugar as a more stable and better product. That's what children who get these computers need. Our problem is larger [than] that - getting them hardware, connectivity, and a whole bunch of other things; without any of those or just one of them, the complete solution wouldn't make it to cihldren now. I wish that our work was only [Sugar], but there's no other compnay doing the other parts for us, we have to work to make sure these parts come together...

Christoph Derndorfer: Ok, thanks. the skeptic in me says that we'll just have to see how this turns out in the coming months. *laughs*

Chuck Kane : Sure; we just have to find how to best optimize [coordinated work] in the future. Let me explain something about G1G1 - we are a nonprofit organization. In order to remain one we have to be careful about how we administer G1G1. If we did this 52 weeks a year, the government would think we are in the bus of selling computers. So giving programs have to be confined and limited in terms of timing.

Iain Davidson : So, [if plans for another G1G1-like program] firm up, are you planning to run this by the support gang to make sure that all the points are taken care of?

Chuck Kane : That's a fantastic idea. How many companeis out there can talk to a Support group that cares and dedicates their own time to such things?

FFM: This is FFM. I'm curious if we are going to be supporting any Windows when it ships on the XO.

Chuck Kane : The first systems going out will be administered by Microsoft by their local ecosystem, we are not involved at all. In the future, remember that ms has a tremendous support structure. The issue I can see us involved with is how Sugar interfaces with Windows. I think we would have to support that at some level in the future; but not supporting windows itself.

Kim Quirk : What I would see happening, and this might realistically happen - some kids or school systems would have Windows running on their XO, and either group might find help@laptop.org, and think that we would help. We will get questions to help[@laptop.org on] running some app, not even knowing what OS they are running. What we would have to do, Chuck, is to redirect people with Windows related questions. We do have to understand enough about the hardware when someone says "my wireless doesn't work." It's not immediately clear whether this is a Windows or hardware problem, and the hardwae side of it we might still be responsible for. We have to think about it, understand how to redirect ones we don't have resources to an answer, and the other piece you mentioned; in the big ecosystem of the world, we would love our [collaborators to make programs like], say, Chat to work with applications running on Windows that are on jabber servers and could chat with us. That's a reasonable thing for us all to want. If we do have a way of helping on the development side of that, we have to pull the same sort of help into the support side.

Chuck Kane: One of the uncertainties when this went out was whether OLPC is moving to support Windows. And that is definitemly not the case.

Kim Quirk : We can't even be the OEM for Microsoft. Even on the hardware side, the OEM who works with MS would be responsible for Windows running on the hardware.

Holt: One thing to note is, we support things like [hotspot access] that have nothing to do with us. This week we have been pounded with people asking about how to get XP on the XO and when it will come. We need some official answers.

Kim Quirk: That's a good point, [Holt]. we don't have any answers for that, but let's get some this week and figure out what's a good answer. Let's gather the questions that don't have answers...

Holt: We had 14 questions on the first day. Let's move quick.

Kurt Maier: I have a question. I'm involved with the repair [centers] effort here. One thing I'd like to know about is when are parts going to be made available, how do we get a hold of them once they are out there? Everyone [who is a repair center volunteer] who got [broken] laptops to "part out" [and strip down into spare parts for fixing the broken XOs of G1G1 recipients] are running low. We have plenty of people breaking them and nowhere to turn.

Chuck Kane: Let me preface this by saying we are trying to make good as best we can. We're a bit new at this, and not planning this as best we can right now. We are working with Brightstar to come up with a firm program where there will be access to spare parts for repair. [This is] not formalized yet, though [it is] close to being [formalized]. And we will update the community when that has taken place. The challenge with repairs and spares, is when you are shipping the parts alone, the cost of that element becomes high relative to the cost of the machine. We want to work so we can minimize the cost and maximize availability.

Kurt Maier: How will you tell us about it when the parts plan is in place? Most of us found out about the Microsoft deal through press releases... we feel out of the loop.

Chuck Kane: First of all, the Microsoft arrangement was under an NDA at their bequest. It leaked out to the press quite a time before, but wasn't supposed to. We weren't privy to announce things ahead of the release. For parts, that's very different...

Kim Quirk: We've been talking about it for a while.

Chuck Kane : We just need to formalize it. If you saw the initial pricing... it is scary.

SJ Klein: Are you talking about individual sale to end users? The repair centers are asking for quanttiies of hundreds and want to know how they could get those...

Kim Quirk: Brightstar is trying to buy in the thousands to send parts out to smaller groups.

Chuck Kane : Let me ask a quesiton to the repair center guys. When you need parts, what do you do now?

Iain Davidson: Rip apart a broken XO.

Ian Daniher : I've been running the OLPC Cinci repair center. We got a couple RMA'ed machines, the dead on arrival machines. I have 4 machines and have allocated every part I got within a week and a half.

Kim Quirk : This is what [Holt] and I have been working on for months. [Holt] has shipped out dead machines to people for parts...

Chuck Kane: We'll talk about this tomomrrow, Kim and [Holt]. Pardon my ignorance. I assume a lot of things happen without reality. This is clearly an area where we need to find a way to make this right.

Ian Daniher: Do we have a swap plan in the works? One of the big selling pooints of the program was that it's a green computer; there's a lot of e-waste we could run into.

Chuck Kane : The expectation is that an upgrade path isn't necessary.

SJ Klein : I think Ian means recycling.

Ian Daniher: Yes, that's what I meant.

Chuck Kane : We will have a recycling program. Every company has that today, we are pushing these guys [other laptop manufacturers] on green...

Greg Smith: One final question. Why did you decide to do this full time, and what are your plans for the next few months?

Chuck Kane : First, I'm crazy. Second, I don't know another program of this magnitude that could have such an impact on the world, ever. If I can get involved with this, similar to a lot of you, it is an honr and a privilege to be involved with a project of this nature. I've been fortunate in my career to allow myself to do well financially, and I'm really pleased to be able to be a part of it. Synopsis: it makes me feel like a good person. I'm going to lose [my cell phone] signal... I just want to thank all of you folks. You are an incredible group of people to offer your time... so, thank you. *Chuck's phone drops out*

Holt: Any other questions that we missed?

Christoph Derndorfer: Frankly, I'm always the internal skeptic, I'm going to wait to see action. There's been too much talk recently, there's been too much news and everyone's head is spinning. Everyone back in Austria is waiting to see more action and more code, and then we'll see what we are up against, I think.

Iain Davidson: Same here, I've been backing away to see how the dust clears.


Christoph Derndorfer: Myself I'm committed to the mission, but confused about the best way to tackle everything at the moment.

Kim Quirk: What have you been working on recently, Christoph? We've just released a new version yesterday. Now we are up to 7 chapters...

SJ Klein: [talks about the early June grassroots event, boot camp, will sent out note to mailing lists tonight.]

Christoph Derndorfer: Will be arriving Fri June 6 evening.

SJ Klein: Other events happening around [Boston] too that week!

Sandy Culver: OLPC South Carolina has gotten some good press in the past 2 weeks. I wonder if places like South Carolina and Birmingham and New Orleans, whether they will suddenly generate some interest to mean someone should work in the background to be ready in case others become more motivated.

Kim Quirk: I don't think it's a matter of no interest, it is a matter of how much grassroots and local groups can do the work, or... there's no organized structure/tiller behind this. I think they are buying givemany laptops and doing their own thing.

Sandy Culver: It's interesting to do something local, even if small.

Greg Smith: [talking about explosive success of http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/OLPC-sur] Just started Wednesday, "Sur" is "south" in Spanish.

SJ Klein: Some background on OLPC-SUR... wanted input from teachers, got group of 5 people to create new list.

Greg Smith: Perhaps 20% of posts are from teachers. Lotsa questions about mesh. Uruguayan teachers built lesson plans that depend on mesh! They tested it with 9 or so, but then it fails completely with a full classroom.

Kim Quirk: [discussing breakout sessions with countries this week at OLPC]

Kurt Maier: I forgot to ask Chuck what happens when Microsoft EOLs windows XP on June 30.

[friendly banter, random chatter, meeting winds down.]

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