Talk:Our market


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The Market

How can you ensure the principle of one laptop per child will be followed after the countries purchase the laptops?

I'm wondering if you could provide us with an example of what your "best practice" would be. If an example already exists on the site, can you link to it please? Thanks.

Why go the government route?

"Education must be Free in a much more fundamental sense, like Free Software (Free as in Speech, not free as in beer). We must educate all children in Freedom itself. The most important kind of educational freedom after access to educational materials and institutions is the ability to teach oneself. This would be the most important thing that schools could do, but for one problem: It is not in their power to do. Children already know how to teach themselves."

Why do you say you intend to teach children about freedom yet then demand that governments tax people to pay for their "free" education. Don't you believe this project would be much better if it were Charity sponsored and not government sponsored?
I just don't believe in teaching kids that using force to pay for education is "freedom".


Additional remark by Joa: In some countries, the (central) government is not engaged in school issues anyhow, such as in Germany, where the federal states are responsible for education and its funding (with less than 1 mio. pupils each). I think in the US the responsibility is at even lower levels of government. Should be similar in several developing countries. Therefore, if at least one school should decide to participate (or if a charity provides the money) and would provide laptop to all pupils, and if the language (e.g. Spain) is already supported, why not include them in the project in second phase?


I think this project would be MUCH better as charity program. We could already have laptops in children hands by now, while we wait for the governments to pony up the cash.
On the freedom issue.. true freedom means that parents get to decide if their children learn to read or write. It's sad if a parent made that choice but I think parents always want the best for their children.. whatever they think that may be, and that is untimely their right and the childs right. If a parent does not want his child in school, and the child itself is in good care and does not want to go, then that child should not go. Democracy is tyranny of the majority over the minority. Somebody always looses in Democracy.. We want a system where everybody wins, a system that embraces liberty.
I can not support this project if it is not a charity project. I'm sorry, I don't believe in these social education goals you have.

Yes that is what you believe. But in Charity Projects it's most times what the people you are helping believe. You can try to lead them by example to feel as you do but if they do not change then what? Part of the answer some might would give is, "Never mind if they do not listen or do as I do or say!" This is a normal reaction for most. In charity you have to with in your mission have a lot of love even if the people you are helping do not do what you would do. This is not a statement it's just plain fact! Thats why OLPC is not a direct charity venture.

What about senior citizens?

Why are senior citizens being excluded from this very worthwhile project? As a computer-literate senior citizen I have found that most wives (mine included) in the senior age category will be computer-helpless when they become widowed. Please, puhleeeeze consider opening the OLPC program to American seniors who have been left behind in the current computer obsessed world. Thanx, M. Zipes, Poughkeepsie, NY

there are classes available almost anywhere in the US for any adult, and specifically seniors, to take. in addition, US seniors, as a group, are the wealthiest people on the planet. your wife has a computer in the house and does not learn. puhleeeeze think of others who do not have the resources and try to help them. dee pearson

-- I think that there are some related questions for Seniors where at least referals to other organizations or resources would be useful. There are a lot of seniors out there that are afflicted with alzheimers or other dementia that have earlier been used to using computers, even if only playing games such as solitaire. When they get into this state, finding almost anything to help keep their mind occupied and exercised is a blessing. Trying to get them to learn to do anything different than what they are used to doing is a challenge, even if very simple, so something like this device dedicated to being used for one software app they've used in the past would be ideal.

We have done some testing with seniors and the results are quite encouraging (there had been some concern that the form-factor would be an issue). Our hope is that seniors will embrace the program, not just for their own benefit, but so that they can be active in an international community for learning and mentoring. We encourage seniors to participate in the Give 1 Get 1 program. --Walter 11:05, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

Country discussions


I am a 17 year old girl, a foreign-exchange student nearing the end of a one-year visit to the U.S. How can I get started to implement OLPC in my country, Afghanistan?

Hello, I am a development worker in Afghanistan and am also interested in brining the OLPC to Afghanistan. My questions are #1 How can i contact user User: so we can possibly collaborate #2 Do you know of any mailing lists or forums specifically for the OLPC and Afghanistan (or central asia) #3 As I understand it the OLPC is (will be?) selling in large quantities bought through governments, what about organizations that want to buy in smaller quantities (presumably at a slightly higher price), is this an option? (We would like to buy maybe 10-20 for some of our field staff and our child rehab problemm). Cheers -Gaiko

We aren't currently looking into programs that work with older audiences, but are working to make small-group purchases possible. At the moment, your best bet would be the xogiving project. Sj talk 23:53, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

African children

I am formative in a cabinet(office) in Africa. At present, we think with the government about the solutions to develop the skills of the children in schools and bring them to master the computing tool. Can you say to me if it is possible to get itself the computers which you distribute? What are the general conditions? Thank you.

East Africa in the picture?

Im a kenyan who has been in computer trainning for the last 10 Years. I really would like to be involved in laying the OLPC ground work and later trainning to the youngsters. The East African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) are not Participating in the OLPC programme at the momment. Is there a way I can be involved?.

Also, how often does a child need to wind the laptop to keep it working for say, one hour session?.

Yes and No. You can stay involved by keeping up with the OLPC news and find out more information as it becomes available about the distribution of the OLPC laptop. But if your nation is not at this time ready to commit to the purchase of the laptops then you will have to wait and see. Look at it this way the OLPC laptop could take off and be a must have for every developing nation and Walla they will come to East Africa too!


I am very intersted to know the progress of working with the government of Algeria. I have a journalist friend who writes about the problems with the children of his city of 160,000 where they have only two swimming pools, a summer heat of 118 F, no parks and rising drug/alcohol use. While the OLPC would not solve these problems they could provide an opportunity for the children to learn and be occupied in more potentially educational activities. Please advise as while I would not want to jeopardize any ongoing talks with Algeria I would engage in promoting this project. Thank you,

Margie Reese San Diego, CA


Does the Ministry of Education of Cambodia show any interest until now ?

Egypt - GILO

USAID/Egypt issued a request for proposal (RFP) entitled Girls Inhanced Learning Opportunities 263-097-003GILOFeb 19, 2007 that calls for provision 30 computers and one lap top to 300 schools in seven (7) governates. The source/origin code for this procurement is 000 (United States). Assuming the OLPC laptops are not of US sources/origns, are you willing to provide princing information so this approach can be reflected in technical and cost responses to USAID/Egyupt's RFP(assuming a waiver can be obtained from USAID)?


My church would like to do some mission work (5-10 people) in Damongo, Ghana where we know some one who has done extensive mission work. There is a school with approximately 800 students at this time. Our small Minnesota church would like to buy 20-30 computers (or pay the government in hana for 20-30 of them). Are you allowing the government to give these computers to some schools and not others at this time? Could you give 20-30 to a school with 800 students or does every student need to have their own?

I have e-mailed the US Embassy in Ghana to see if we could pay for 20-30 if they were to apply to get the OLPC laptops (and were accepted). Is this possible?

Barb Tonn

It is not really the choice of the program as the governments have control of who gets them. But it is a program for those children who may because of poverty need extra help. This is the Mean Guideline. Paying for a few computers is a very nice mission but the program needs a big order to be shipped. If 100,000 people did what your church is doing then it might work out.
Hello Barb,

you should have remarked that all students shall have a computer, so you would need about 800 * 150 $ to satisfy demand (or maybe only 100 $ each, if costs have been reduced to the original goal by then). While Ghana is not yet on the agenda, it would be nice if your church would start to collect the 120.000 $ to support "your" Ghanese school. Starting 2007, you may have to wait a while until your "order request" will be satisfied, but it will take a time until you have collected the 120.000 $ anyhow. It would be a good way to support the community, and of course the bible will be available on the computers. So start your support on a scale that make sense (20-30 computers would be inefficient to operate, and you will see 800 happy recipients! Joa (private statement)


Dear Sir/Madam,

We are interested to learn regarding OLPC and we in Kenya, Mombasa, Coast Province, especially Kilifi, is among the poorest in the world. We are around 10 million Muslims in Kenya and we are very concerned and interested to help the needy in our areas.

Council of Imams & Preachers of Kenya (C.I.P.K.) was registered in 1997 as non-profit and charitable organization build in a very strong grassroots network with membership all over the country. The organization has branches in Western, Eastern, North Eastern, Nyanza and part of Rift Valley with its headquarters in Mombassa, Coast Province.

Our main activities include: 1. Peace, Security and development. 2. Sensitization of the public on HIV/Aids, Drugs & substance abuse. 3. Dangers associated with Female Genital Mutilation. 4. Early/Forced marriages. 5. Propagation and Preaching. 6. Exchange programs. 7. Women /youth empowerment. 8. Disaster response. 9. Commitment to ensure poor & orphaned children attain high education. 10.Direct support/sponsor converters and high education to Muslims students. Funds from mosque contributions and well-wishers.

Please let us know how we can learn on Micro Finance & Peace Prize and we are ready to learn either thro':

- Correspondence Learning. and/or - We send someone via return ticketc to come and learn, but if you can provide accomodation.

Looking forward to hearing from your prompt reply.

Thanks in advance.

Mohammad Dor Muhammad Organising Secretary Council of Imams & Preachers of Kenya P. O. Box 85130, Mombasa, Kenya Our E-Mail:

Dear Mr.Mohammad Dor Muhammad,

The OLPC program is right now in the launching stage in many nations some with a strong Muslim population. Some of the issues you speak of have in other forums and privately been addressed with the founders of the program. They are in a very high regard of Muslims and many others around the world! As time goes on and the program comes out of the launching stage. These issues will be taken up agian. Feel free to keep in touch by asking questions based on news of the program in your lands and other places. The OLPC program is a program for all people including Muslims and any one eles.So keep in touch. The answer to your question is: They are working on it!

-- 14:15, 15 May 2007 (EDT) S.L. of The LWSF Program


Are there any discussion with the Country of Liberia? If so what are they and do you have insight as to whether Liberia will be interested in OLPC?

There are some ongoing discussions in Liberia. Details as soon as they are available. --Walter 07:46, 5 July 2007 (EDT)


I have family in Peru that are of low income and there are4 kids within the family how would they be able to ontain a laptop and where woud they have to go?

The laptops are paid for and distributed by the ministries of education of each country, so you'd need to contact the Peruvian ministry of education to get the details on how the laptops are being deployed. There may be additional details on the OLPC Peru page. Other means of getting a laptop may be available in the future; for example, Quanta may sell a commercial version of the XO, or the OLPC may distribute to non-governmental organizations. —Joe 01:23, 26 July 2007 (EDT)

Lima, Peru

Are children in Lima expected to get the laptops? And when?-- 07:31, 20 September 2007 (EDT)

Peru is one of the "green status" countries, so I'd expect they would, although the exact distribution and timeframe would be determined by the ministry of education. There may be more details on the Peru page, and you can read about a Peruvian pilot program taking place "not far from Lima". This article suggests that the deployment by the ministry of education will happen sooner than later, due to opportunities presented by recent earthquakes. —Joe 13:04, 20 September 2007 (EDT)


I would like more information about Rwanda.

Rwanda has recently joined the OLPC program. You can find out more information about them at this link


Refugees returning to Southern Sudan

I will be helping set up aid programs for Nuer refugees returning to their homeland in Southern Sudan. I have over thirty years computer (programming) experience and would like to help set up an OLPC program for the children of the refugees. If you could give me a contact I would appreciate it.

03:43, 1 September 2007 (EDT) This is a follow-up comment: I've been checking every day and haven't seen a response. We will be going to Juba and then to Akobo where the people are returning. I would like to talk to someone from OLPC about a possible program either funded by charities and or the provisional government. Am I in the right area for a question like this? Thank you.

I am not an OLPC official, but according to the distribution page, the OLPC people are currently limiting their efforts to large orders from ministries of education, although there may be other options available in the future. Sudan is not currently on the list of interested countries. You could also try the OLPC contact page, but that will probably get you a similar answer. —Joe 12:36, 1 September 2007 (EDT)

Visit to Thailand from Mozambique

As a resident American in Mozambique but former teacher of computer skills, I am interested in seeing OLPC in operation. I will be traveling to Thailand next week and would appreciate meeting a teacher or visiting a school in Bangkok where OLPC is presently working. Thanks. Phil Gray

Chrekula Uganda

We are opening a private school in the village of Cherekula Uganda. I was going to provide two laptop computers but we are facing a problem with the lack of electrical power. We are exploring the purchase of a gas generator. I have bee folling the OLPC project for seceral years and am now convinced this is a better alternative. How do I enlist the Ugandan government so that I can take sveral OLPC computers to the choll when we visit this March (2007). We are completely willing to purchase them and we can transport the or have them shipped. I know that these would be pilots (beta?). We just want to try and get moving ahead on providing internet access to some very deprived children. This school is a high school. The first one ever in this village. It is located about 250 km from Kampala. Can you advise me on how to proceed. We can document the school i required. Thanks ./Jim May Farmington Hills Mi. USA 48336

You are going at this the wrong way. The first thing you need to do is find someone who is an expert in electrical power generation and storage to give you advice. They are unlikely to suggest buying a gas-powered generator for two laptops. Ten years ago people in Africa were running laptops off car batteries that were charged up by bicycle-driven generators. You should be doing something similar today. That means choosing older laptops with lower power consumption, choosing laptops that run off 12 volts DC (like RV owners and yachtsmen do) and then getting a generator rigged from old car parts. The one thing different today from 10 years ago is that solar panels are a viable source for charging the batteries.
Forget the OLPC. You cannot buy them (Retail) and you need to get your government's support in order to get access to them.


What about OUR children in the US?

I am tired of us giving and giving to other countries. What children right here in the United States? I teach in a poor Appalachian school district in Eastern Ohio and our children don't have computers. I have 2 computers in my classroom and one is very, very old. My own students do not get to use a computer, so why are we giving to other countries?

Nobody is asking you to give anything! As a matter of fact, the 'other countries' are investing. So, if you're tired, sit back, relax, and read this or you can lobby together with OLPC4USA your government to invest... --Xavi 16:02, 7 January 2007 (EST)

May be a project similar to OLPC can be initiated to narrow the digital divide in the US. But instead of inventing a whole new laptop like the OLPC old PCs and laptops can be recycled and install linux to save cost? You'll find that when you run Linux on old computers they're not so "old." :-)

What about students k-12 and college students in the USA?

Do I qualify? I filled out the fafsa forms do you need those to determine those for financial need? If so, is there a way I can pass the computer to another "financial need base" student? I see that your organization goes around the world but didn't know if you were including the United States.

There are no plans to distribute the OLPC computers in the USA. If you want to lobby for this to happen, then read OLPC4USA.

WELL THIS HAS CHANGED:as the USA has at least in the news, been talking about the OLPC program.Is this a good thing? I am sure this Wiki is open for your comments about this issue!

When and where will it be available?

I live in New Orleans, Louisiana and I saw this in Wired magazine today and I was blown away by this and I just wanted to know if this will be available in the United States Please send me a response at

Color Coded Maps and Color Blind People

Would you please consider a written list of country status for those of us that are colorblind and can't make heads nor tails of your map?

There's an OLPC Status by Country page with a table - but darn! It too is color coded! ...just checked :(
I'll update it to make it text AND color coded.
It covers Africa, the Americas and Asia, and it's NOT official (iow, the coding of some countries could be wrong).
And yes, there should be a link to that table in the Countries section above and in the OLPC_world_map page.--Xavi 18:30, 21 January 2007 (EST)
Bad netiquette, answering to self, but it's already done! See OLPC Status by Country.
This question and it's answer will soon be moved to the #Country section above.--Xavi 18:58, 21 January 2007 (EST)
Technically, it's the governments buying the laptop that will distribute them (not the OLPC), and while I see no difference between a child in a hospital bed or a cabin in the mountains (from a distribution PoV), my guess is that hospitals in these countries have other priorities to allocate their budgets instead of fancy trays (as cool as they might be ;) --Xavi 08:05, 23 January 2007 (EST)

As a representative of an NGO type organization I just recently commented to a UN officer about a similar subject. “Fancy Trays”' are not always at the request of the country or donor agency in general. Part of what makes these items or services that may not at first glance seem functional is the vision of the donor. Just like the water go round in Africa sponsored by Ex US president Bill Clinton and the water see saw in another nation that promotes the washing of your hands. It is not always up to the receiver in what it is they are to receive . There are also many sites that go in-depth about theses issues and the how and why's of the matters. If you are interested in finding out more you can direct searches about: third world programs, world aid and I am sure you can find more information as to why a fancy tray may have been purchased or donated as well as many other interesting things.

Economies of scale?

How would it not be in your interests if you hired a non-profit-org to sell laptops to citizens of more rich countries?

You claim that it has to do with scale and all, but do you understand how many of these would sell? I'm sitting in front of a dual AMD turion laptop, yet I'd love the idea of having a laptop for my room and car both. You could sell millions of these here in the states. Would that not be scale for you? What # are you looking at would be for "scale" to occur?

This is not so much of answer given that I ignore the details, thus I'm assuming.
It would seem that the deal struck between the OLPC and Quanta is ~USD 135 per unit EXW / FOB for a minimum order of 5 million units. So the OLPC has to ensure at least a 5 million order, before Quanta pushes the go button. Afaik, that is the "scale" needed.

Our recent Give 1 Get 1 program addresses much of the concern about citizens of "more rich countries." --Walter 13:08, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

The Black and Gray Markets

Trade and market considerations

Considering the initial limits on distribution, do you anticipate extensive legitimate trade or black market trade in these devices? It will be interesting to observe the reaction to the initial distribution. (I can see people getting $500 or $1000 for the first ones). I think the open source concept suggests an unrestricted distribution as soon as practical. Would not the free-and-open-source development of code and content be greatly enhanced by general distribution? Will proprietary content appear in the marketplace, or government-controlled-and-distributed content? --Dfourer 11:05, 25 February 2007 (EST)

Considering that there are many people in the developed world who want one of these, are you worried that recipients of the laptop will re-sell them?

IKEA seems to have a very simple tactic to avoid their plastic bags being stolen from the markets: Inside the market you can get yellow bags to carry your shopping items. At the point of sale however you can buy a blue bag which you then take home -- yellow bags are never sold and stay inside the market. Thus if you see someone with a yellow IKEA bag you know he or she must have stolen it. Transferring this idea: Put undetachable visible marks onto the 100$-laptops for developing countries and other marks on those that go out to the devoloped world. A notebook that you cannot use in public without being immediately recognized as the bad guy who has taken it away from those in need will not be very attractive.

Why not flip this around to a significant advantage:

I would be willing to pay $200 for one of these laptops with the understanding that you would give the second one to a school/child in some other country. I suspect I am not alone in this sentiment.

To refine this idea a little, why not make these laptops in pairs: one colour for the rich folk that pay, another colour for the distributed ones. Further, have these two laptops be aware of each other, when both have access to the Internet, through some very simplified messaging system. No actual words, that could be exploited by predators etc, just symbols: I'm online, hello, are you having fun, etc.

Now that would make for a fantastic learning experience. It is one thing for a child to be aware that there are other people in the world and quite another for the child to have some link to another child over there.

Perhaps the paired-laptop concept would be for the especially poor countries that could not afford $100 per.

"Periodically connected to the school network" to stop the grey market

I highly doubt that this is going to stop any type of computer from being used away from the school. There will be nearly instantly hacks to get around this, regardless of how bright you as a development team come up with some sort of software/electronic security measure to cripple these computers away from the schools, and that will lead to code bloat and bugs in the computer software (and hardware) that will be not only hard to trace down, but cause an esclation of problems further down the road as well, particularly if you try to get into the arms race of thwarting the hackers.

I hope this idea has lasted only the 30 seconds or so of thought it took to look at and reject out of hand. If this were something for a top-secret military installation with a budget of millions or billions of dollars to spend on physical security, together with armed security checkpoints and data that absolutely needed to be kept from leaving a facility, there might be a reason to implement these kind of procedures. For a very low-end computer like the OLPC, it is simply a waste of time to even worry about it.

From my own experience of having worked on school computers over the years, the only real security to keep things getting stolen is a guilty concience (I've seen school computers returned by the perpetrator's priest) and physical security where the computers are bolted down with something like a bicycle cable and a padlock. -- 18:45, 14 November 2006 (EST)

  • I also can't support this idea. Aren't the children going to grow up and leave school someday? Aren't these things meant to last forever? Do you really want to turn hundred dollar laptops into worthless lumps of plastic? Just sell red ones on the market, and give kids green ones. And yes, you do need to sell red ones in third world countries too. Actually 3 versions would be better: free green ones for kids, orange $100 version for sale in poor countries, red $300 version for sale in rich countries. The only difference should be the colour. 21:46, 22 November 2006 (EST)

Your PERSONAL laptop: with your name engraved on it

Taking into consideration: Considering that there are many people in the developed world who want one of these, are you worried that recipients of the laptop will re-sell them? We are trying to develop strategies to maximize the number of laptops in the hands of children. We realize that in some places there will be many pressures to undermine that goal and are working on tactics to mitigate these pressures to what ever extent is practical. Your ideas are welcome.

What happens to the laptop when the child grows up and leaves school? Our intention is that the laptops belong to the children even after they leave school.

Then why not make it a real personal computer by writing/engraving the childs name on it. Along with the color of the laptop it should be a good deterent by guilt. If the childs school and/or town is also on there as well then it will also facilitate the return of a stolen laptop to the rightful owner, which might otherwise be an unsurpasable obstacle. Finally by really personalizing the laptop, then the big school bully who has not been taking good care of his laptop, thus breaking it, cannot exchange his with others. This should lead to kids taking better care of the laptop, since they know it will follow them hopefully for many years.

Comment on: "Will OLPC spin-off a commercial subsidiary?

The idea is that a commercial subsidiary could manufacture and sell a variation of the OLPC in the developed world. These units would be marked up so that there would be a significant profit which can be plowed into providing more units in countries who cannot afford the full cost of one million machines. The discussions around this have talked about a retail price of 3× the cost price of the units.

Please do this. Not only can it help generate revenue supporting the main project ethos, it makes sense that there could be a real market for this that isn't being addressed by suppliers at present. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants a low-power, ruggedised e-book/PDF reader that is also a fully programmable computer with modern connectivity and storage (WiFi, USB, SD) - not a luggable laptop with ever more "features" or a closed and unmodifiable e-book reader that implements digital restrictions on what I do with it.

Not only that, but I look at what this device is and can do, and while I completely agree with the principle that putting learning tools like this into the hands of kids in developing nations makes all kinds of sense, then I also think that the Children's Laptop makes all kinds of sense for kids in more developed nations as well, and those of us who live in Western countries should also get on to our education authorities to get talking to OLPC and negotiate prices for these to be supplied for our schools and our kids as well - they're great tools and we should be aiming for the widest possible use of them!

The more I learn about the OLPC, the more I want one, even if I have to pay $600-$800 for a stolen one on E-bay. Considering the features compared to what is available on the market, it is worth that price.

Another comment on: "Will OLPC spin-off a commercial subsidiary?

I am not sure of the meaning of "commercial subsidiary".

If it means a traditional capitalist company for which the goal is just making profit for the personal benefits of a few people, then it would be a mistake. Of course it could improve the number of total machines producted and so help decrease the price for un-developed country, but NO, I would not appreciate this.

At contrary, if the only goal of the "subsidiary" is always to allow children in un-developped contry to have their own personal computer, then YES : I would certainly buy one of two OLPC (for me and my own kid) for three good reasons :

- it is a great product

- Buying them, I increase the total number of machines built and so decrease the final price

- I know that for each OLPC that I buy (2 times the basic price), I will contribute to give one OLPC for free to a kid in an un-developped country

Other manufacturer's use of design

Will (insert company name here, but let's imagine anything from startup Cheap-Linux-Laptops-R-Us to Dell) be able to manufacture and sell OLPC-based designs without asking permission? If not what kind of legal barriers are there to a company doing this?

I'm pretty sure that OLPC is not concerned with that. If people use their designs in a way that does not hurt the goal of the project, why should the project care? The project is full of innovative technologies, some of which could very well end up on other laptops. Cheap-Linux-Laptops-R-Us is far more likely to reuse the entire design than Dell is. The only chance that Dell would sell laptops of this design is if they decided to sponsor OLPC, and do the commercial distribution in the US that everybody seems to want. However that is quite unlikely as Dell is unlikely to want to sell a Computer that does not run "Normal" software (people will be asking why they cannot put MS Word on it, or play commerical games.) Dell would also not be equiped to provide support for the system. 19:30, 12 October 2006 (EDT)
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