OLPC talk:Community Portal

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Discusion on the OLPC community Page

About this page itself

Looking at the Wiki menu at the left of the page, why is this page listed under "about the laptops" rather than "about the site"? This page seems to complement "Help using the site" in the latter list. If you agree, do you know HOW to make the move happen? - Docdtv 14:14, 16 December 2006 (EST)

Why does this page exist? It doesn't seem to have a clear purpose or else it is drifted away from its original purpose.

--Aburton 15:32, 12 June 2006 (EDT): I think this page would be a good place to communicate exactly how we want the wiki organized, and the order in which things should be done.

Whoever fixed up the page did a good job starting it out and was exactly what was needed. I'll clean this page up in a bit.--Stranger 21:40, 13 June 2006 (EDT)

I think this page will be very helpful, particularly for those with non-programming backgrounds.... user:php5

Categorization discussion

Discussion about categories to add, etc.

Possible ones:

  • Pictures: links to picture, screenshot galleries
  • Press: links to pages listing press links
  • Support: links to support groups?
 Blogs/BBSes: NON-"encyclopedic" pages in which the "article"
 tab briefly describes some TOPIC for discussion, and participants
 follow the CUSTOM of leaving it alone and just adding their OWN
 remarks on the "discussion" tab, ALWAYS at page bottom, without
 altering the remarks made by OTHERS. This social protocol
 REPRODUCES the classical(time-ordered) bulletin-board function
 familiar long decades before wikis enabled collective editing
 of "encyclopedic" content. This type of page would serve as a
 platform for vigorous DEBATE of topics on which the range of
 opinion is broad and the amount of commonly accepted fact is
 limited, i.e. the OPPOSITE of "Wikipedia" style content. - Docdtv 14:14, 16 December 2006 (EST)  

Developer's category

A developer's category could be one of the main categories on the front page. Some possible sub-categories:

  • Hardware development: anything to do with hardware development on the OLPC
  • Hardware technology: discusses the various hardware technologies
  • Hardware ideas
  • Software development: anything to do with software development on the OLPC
  • Software technology: discusses the various technologies and libraries OLPC uses (e.g. GECKO, Python) or does not use (e.g. Maemo)
  • Software ideas

Installing Sugar on your favorite environment is important for developer involvement; unfortunately these pages are very unorganized. I'm proposing the pages are now consistently named, for example, "Sugar on Ubuntu", "Sugar on SuSE", "Sugar on Fedora Core 5", etc. These pages will list instructions for what prerequisite packages are required and how to get Sugar installed and up and running. Perhaps these can get their own Category, "Installing Sugar"?

Category Mess

In the past couple of days I've been massively categorizing the uncategorized pages (went from ~460 down to ~160) - sorry for monopolizing the recent changes. I'm sure that I've made mistakes, and that many will not agree with all, parts, or bits of my work—can't have everything, instead of one big pile, we now have only 62... Nevertheless, there's still a LOT of work to be done. Some categories are redundant (or at least, so they seem) while others are to vague or simply fail to muster some coherence.

Another important aspect is the categorization of the categories themselves! IOW, category-trees. For example, when I created the Category:Keyboard I categorized it into Category:Hardware... which is a 'natural' way of breaking it down all hardware-related stuff. In other domains, my intuition is not so 'natural' or clear-cut. For example, Category:Learning, Category:Pedagogical ideas, Category:Pre-literate (and possibly some others) are all interrelated and should have an umbrella-category (or one of the be the root); but which?

Software related issues are also a major mish-mash of things: OS, Sugar, HCI, Emulation, programming languages (in contrast/differentiation to human languages) etc. need some sort of structuring and division. Human languages and country related things are also quite messy.

Anyway, there's quite a bit of work to do... I'm willing to battle it, but I'm afraid it could be too disruptive. A bit of guidance from the 'core/OLPC people' (or people with authority :) would be appreciated...

Cheers, --Xavi 11:04, 9 January 2007 (EST)

Layout Priorities for OLPC Wiki

Feel free to comment, change or add on to the list of wiki imperatives. Discussion in this matter is essential.

Pages That Need to be Condensed/Combined

  1. OLPC_FAQ is quickly becoming Massive. I've started reorganizing, which has helped but there's still plenty of questions that over lap and could be rewriten and it's still almost so large its useless.--Stranger 22:52, 13 June 2006 (EDT)
If you collect questions by topic that makes it easier for others to notice the overlap and to edit them down to more manageable size. It especially helps if there are sub headings so you can click on edit and get a whole category at once.
I was thinking that we could make a category called FAQ and in the category make different topics. That way when people search for a topic, say, mesh networking, they'll also get the FAQ page about mesh networking. Get what I mean? And once we get all that data into separate pages, we can replace the current FAQ page with a redirect to Category:FAQ Would you help me with this?--Aburton 15:59, 25 June 2006 (EDT)
Done.--Aburton 10:58, 29 June 2006 (EDT)

  1. I think theres several Educational Software/Education Software and possibly other pages that could use combining.--Stranger 17:12, 16 June 2006 (EDT)
There are. Hopefully people will post what consolidations they make/think need to be made on the Community Portal.--Aburton 15:59, 25 June 2006 (EDT)

Articles That Need to be Written/Expanded

List article ideas here, in particular, those articles that could be written by any intelligent person who has the time and the inclination to do an hour or two of research to collect material for the page.

  1. Software - It has been started but we need to connect all the projects that are going on around the OLPC.

Pages that need to be wikified

These pages need more linking to other pages. Check out the Special:Deadendpages.

Language Management

This project is truly international and multilingual. There will be many language issues, both regarding the OLPC system software, the OLPC application software, the OLPC educational content, and the content of this Wiki itself. How can we manage all this in an orderly way. What things need to be in English and what things should be in other languages?

General improvements that are needed

  • We could use someone who actually knows how to decently format pages so they look decent. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to that. Wikipedia has a great front page and community portal that we could emulate.
  • Improve first impressions--Stranger 22:59, 13 June 2006 (EDT)
    1. make it easier to get where you're going
  • Improve the Software Page --Stranger 22:59, 13 June 2006 (EDT)
    1. Make it will be easier for new developers to jump on board.(this includes those who just got their OLPCs and want to start hacking.
    2. State the goals for the software; what software is going to be included, how things are implemented and what needs work.
  • Linking is needed between pages. Too many pages are being lost because no one can find them.--Stranger 00:05, 14 June 2006 (EDT)


  1. I think the {{OLPC}} tag could use some formating. I think a box would disrupt the flow of the page less then the lines that are currently there but I don't know how to do boxs and other such crazy wiki stuff, so maybe someone else can do it.--Stranger 23:03, 13 June 2006 (EDT)
I like the slimmer tag--Stranger 15:42, 14 June 2006 (EDT)

Specific Page Goals

  • what is the purpose of the community portal?
  • what audience is a page intended for?
  • what types of pages are missing and should be added?
  • what pages need to be added to assist in navigating the wiki?

The pages in this section will be ones which need to be planned jointly and put together by multiple authors before being released to the Wiki. See below for article ideas that could be done by a single author working alone.

  1. General Public Introduction (to help the general public find the pages that are relevant to them without hunting through the entire Table of Contents)
  2. Content Developer Introduction (a navigation page targetted to people making ebooks and authoring educational content for the OLPC)

Work Plans for Specific Page Goals

General Public Introduction

This is a place holder. Ideally, we will build a page outline here and the someone will create the page, copy the outline over, and add content to the page. But only when it is ready.

Content Developer Introduction

This is a place holder. Ideally, we will build a page outline here and the someone will create the page, copy the outline over, and add content to the page. But only when it is ready.

Page Layout Standard

  • How should pages look?
  • Should we have page templates for people to use when creating a new page?
I think Templates would help out a bunch.--Stranger 12:42, 14 June 2006 (EDT)

Editing & summary comments

When editing, a summary field is provided to anotate the nature of the edition - so far so good. Unfortunately, when an external link is part of the edition, the 'human (arithmetic) test' is thrown back but with the summary field in a clean state. It's quite often that you forget to re-enter the text resulting in a uncommented edit. Could this be fixed?? IOW, I don't want to type it twice or forget to anotate! --Xavi 13:19, 26 November 2006 (EST)

hmmm. I thought the Captcha (human arithmetic) only appeared when making an anonymous edit with a link... --Walter 15:08, 26 November 2006 (EST)
I'm logged in but systematically get the Captcha when adding an external link - maybe it's a glitch with my Opera browser? I ignore if anything was changed, but currently my comments 'stick' (though I spotted a couple being lost under unknown circumstances, nothing unmanageable). Cheers! --Xavi 17:23, 9 December 2006 (EST)

"Official" Content vs Suggestions etc.

As I read through the wiki looking to learn about the project, I sometimes find myself questioning whether what I'm reading is 'official' information describing where the project is at or is headed or whether it's user-contributed ideas for what might be done or projects that might be started, etc.. Making such distinctions clearer by some sort of convention within the wiki seemed like a note to contribute here. -Bnardone 14:41, 21 November 2006 (EST)

finaly figured out how to get the TOC on the right--Stranger 12:26, 15 June 2006 (EDT)

Hey, I was just thinking.... Currently it's kinda difficult to find the catagories... Maybe it would be easier to navigate this site if a catagories link was added to the Navigation bar on the left.--Stranger 17:09, 16 June 2006 (EDT)

Also one more thing. I think an Active Software Projects catagorie would be nice.--Stranger 17:19, 16 June 2006 (EDT)

I'm not sure what you mean by "Active software projects", but you're right about finding the categories. Where appropriate, I've been making redirects to category pages, so when someone searches for, say, "livestock powered electronics" they'll get Category:Livestock powered electronics instead of a single page overview about livestock powered electronics. --Aburton 15:59, 25 June 2006 (EDT)

31746807782 453593517435

Old content

May I suggest (again) that models distinctly different externally (in color/shape of case, with a different logo, say) be made and sold on the market for a 50% premium ... with the proceeds used to build and distribute the OLPCs. I think you might be able to pay for much of or the whole thing that way ... PLUS the larger market would bring the price per unit down anyway.

The distinction needs, of course, to be virtually inimitable in the practical sense, like case shape and logo (and of course protected in every country re copyright).

One bonus is that everyone who owns one of the latter can clearly be seen to have contributed to building the OLPCs, hence a bit of "pride of ownership". A sort of a more expensive "yellow wrist band" idea ... and more useful. Good luck with the project!

Something like this keeps coming up. Sj talk

I applaud the overall concept, the engineering and the product development. However, I only wish the market planning was equally as well thought out. If you believe that you will be able to limit the ownership of these computers solely to schoolchildren in developing countries, you are living in a world so devoid of reality that it makes fantasy gaming look "out on the street" by comparision. As soon as you start distributing these machines they'll be showing up in markets and street stalls from Timbuktu to Toledo. Then knock-offs will start appearing, with factories sprouting up in China making nothing else (and probably at an even lower price). Get real -- you guys came up with a great idea, but if you think you're going to be able to control this thing, you've got about as much chance as King Canute. If your machine sees the light of day, you're going to revolutionise ownership and use of computers, espeically since there's a very large unsatisfied market for a low-cost rugedised laptap among all the rest of us that aren't children in developing countries.

Love it!

We really do need to move towards a more mature, stable platform to go to the next phase of ubiquitous computing. Linux is the way to go. The present $2000 price point and online software updates and so-called "virus protection" is ridiculous for the average person. You lead and we'll follow!

David Haile Fort Collins, CO

It's ridiculous! I live in africa and the last thing we need are PCs. Children here need food, water, medication, clothes- they need food so they wont die of hunger, get it?? A laptop is useless, and by the way, 100USD is too expensive for somenone who has no money to eat on. Regarding this coment from someone who lives in Africa, I stay in South Africa and there are plenty of Instituitions that can donate $100 from their sales to a laptop that will enrich the inteligence and assist in the education of a child in a third world country. I aggree with the concept of distribuing them to the capacity of not being a luxury item as it is seen in a thrid world country but rather a tool for information and a necessity for education at schools etc... I am sure De Beers, AngloGold and other huge profitable African Companies can afford help. South Africa

You have all the support from the northeast of Brazil

I have heard about this project from a friend. You guys are doing a wonderful thing. I was so impressed by this project That I thought to myself: I have to say my word of support ot tell them that people in many part of the world are sending good energy for the accomplishment of this project. A community in the northeast of Brazil is supporting you. Thanks for this initiative. I really want to get involved, but unfortunaly I have no knowlwdge about software. AS soon as The non-software involvement is needed. Please Contact I am more than willing to help.

Sincerely, Gustavo Guimarães,21 leader of the youth council- Pernambuco, Brazil- Another one who believes in this project.

Could I get one for my Friend's Kids?

Living on the country-side in South India as a European since 15 years I DO see the use of a very cheap PC for poor childern. A few points from my perspective:

- Sell them, do not give them for free. Most people do not maintain free items seriously. Do try to get the price even lower (but not so low that they will be canibalised just for the parts)

- Keep the government out of the picture (too much corruption); sell them through normal electronic shops.

- There are many power-cuts/ problems here: supply a hand crank please.

- Can you build in WiMAX? In the rural area's there are great distances to cover. Alternatively leave out any wifi and supply more local storage.

Africa needs technology to solve its numerous problems. This cannot wait until everyone's belly full. The reality is that there are hungry people even in the first world. This guy living in Africa must have sent his original message by a telegram.

It's a common fact that modern computers use only a fraction of their computing power. I wonder if it would be possible to use a processing power and disk space donating network to enhance the OLPC project. There are tasks that could be spread over the internet and idle gigabytes of disk space. I for one would gladly join in. Another possibility is to use idle processing time of other OLPC machines.

Great Project

I live in Nigeria and I am excited that my country is involved in the OLPC project. Education and communication is traditionally greatly valued in Nigeria and this project, I believe, hits at the heart of what is essential in moving the next generation of Nigerians across the digital chasm.

We have debated, in international circles, what needs to be done to help 3rd world countries breach the poverty gap. For the first time, we have finally been able to create a project that has the best chance of making a difference.

The access, motivation and education that these laptops will give these kids will be far greater than $100 of grain, rice, bread or any other form of aid.

I will support this project in any way that I can.

The laptop is not for individual sale... Ministries of education will purchase, just like they do with textbooks... Or should they not spend any money for education?

It's ridiculous! I live in africa and the last thing we need are PCs. Children here need food, water, medication, clothes- they need food so they wont die of hunger, get it?? A laptop is useless, and by the way, 100USD is too expensive for somenone who has no money to eat on.


as you see, dear african (btw: are you really?), your message here reached my bedroom in Italy today thanks to a pc (maybe a really really cheap one), isn't it?

-- 06:04, 17 March 2006 (EST) Francesco R. - Castelfranco Veneto - Italy

Another Answer:

if the last thing you need in africa are PCs, will africa ever start needing them? Children need food, water, medication, etc. - this is true and the most important right now, but that is by far not the only important thing for the african future! Simply providing food, water, medication, etc. does never cure the underlying reasons for their lack. If we strive to provide only the basics it might help a bit immediately but will not sustain for too long... it tends to make things rather worse in the long run - it only deepens economic dependency. Of course that does not mean we should stop providing the basics though. But if you ask for limiting help to the basic priorities, you could therefore just as well ask for stopping all the help... sad but true. Africa needs all help it can get and on all levels to become independent, free and strong!


Yet another answer: Empowerment and Self Help

Africa was colonialized as were many other areas of the world such as Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, ...Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. as well in more recent times Hungary, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria etc by the USSR. (Even the USA by England ..) Now that Africa is no longer colonialized and there is no "apertheid" what prevents its free nations from being on the road to self-sufficiency? That is a critical question every African must ask - and must demand creative and committed answers from its leaders.

Seems that without meaningful education and a feeling of empowerment by people the only African hope is await CARE packages from more dynamic and successful continents. That is a sad hope for the African continent. An initiative like OLPC can't solve Africa's chronic health and food problems. For that there are organizations like the UN, and even that is not the solution. Africa's, and any continent's and nation's, only real hope and escape from dire circumstances is self-help and forming local helping communities based on a strong sense of kinship. If these are missing there is no real hope.

Only Africans can help Africans. Others can apply band aid solutions.

OLPC can plant valuable seeds whose fruit will ripen maybe after a decade or more. Sometimes there are no quick fix solutions and often quick fixes tend to make problems worse.

L Pfeffer March 18, 2006

Yet another yet another answer,

Quote from somewhere:

"Give someone bread, he eats for a day, teach someone how to make bread, he eats for a lifetime"

The OLPC project is acting (in my mind) in a way that will free the emergency needs of Africa and similar in the long-terms. It is a long-term GREAT project. Instruction: 100$ to grant ACCESS, communication, and unlimited BOOKS. Future employment: open source software and culture is the emerging countries freedom. As you teach people to act the collaborative way, as you teach them they can do the same things investing on their learning curve and not in the major softwarehouse products, they will never be "computer slaves". This project was "saved" from having an OS-X based OS, and hardly attatched from Microsoft.

But... the need will be to prevent family from selling the laptops to feed themself!!!

Please, SELL these PCs in the first world, $200 each. With the earned money finance the project. I'd buy it!

Luca Vascon, Venice, Italy. March 18, 2006

Vascon said: Please, SELL these PCs in the first world, $200 each. With the earned money finance the project. I'd buy it! ---- ---

--- ME TOO --Dagoflores 03:42, 19 March 2006 (EST) AGS MEX

I think MANY(1st world) people will buy it.

Hunger and medical attention are the most needed, I agree. And trying to get gouvernments to stop violence and start respecting people's lives and rights. But while now being idle, the young generation is not getting any education, the African continent stands still in it's own developement and will not evolve into prosperity.

Forming it's own local networks and with free access to the internet, this generation can and will be educated. One has to learn how to read and write, otherwise you can't use the laptop. But even THAT can be done from this laptop. And after that, all is available at their own fingertips. And do not only think in ways of education, but specially in information.

Due to the developement of the internet and the free source of information, the first world has hurdled into the next millenium. Also the third world countries can start to close this gap and speed up their developement. The increase in free available information, will have a positive effect on the personal developement of people.

The current HIV and Aids crisis in African countries can be slowed down through the use of direct information. In stead of staying ignorant or being mislead by self-called healers, children will be informed of the real risks of non-protected sexual contacts. Parents will learn how to protect their children from the risks of infection.

People can look for solutions of local problems. What can be done about getting water to the surface? Where can I get a pump for my village?

In a later stage it will also have a positive side for the international Aid organisations and their workers. Instead of having to travel all over these countries looking for problems to solve, the information will directly to them. This will safe time and resources and therefore money.

But I agree with Luca Vascon from Italy. We have to prevent that these laptops are being sold. Or stolen to use as trade goods. The only way to do this, is make them so generally available, that it is not worth stealing or selling them.

I also would really like to have one. I am going to travel the world for a year and this laptop would be perfect to carry around. Developed for rugged situations and self-sustaining for power, so that I can use it everywhere. I would like to have more memory, but that cannot be that expensive. And I would pay for it as well. And for the $ 200, they can give away 2 instead of 1.

Richard Seinstra, Capelle aan den IJssel (The Netherlands) 21-03-2006

Africa needs technology to leapfrog to suatainable development. Africa will benefit tremendously from this project.

As an outsider, we always seem to have an answer... "the power of internet, education, exposure, communication etc etc....". We fail to understand what does an average African really needs. And believe me its not obvious. I guess we can all try, but the best answer would come from Africa itself. The laptop in itself is no good, we need to focus on software... i.e. the applications, the content, the course material... all that needs to be looked at, and then only we'll feel the true power of $100 laptop.

Prabhdeep, Montreal April 4, 2006

I live in Vancouver BC. I'm quite lucky to reside in one of the high tech cities of Canada.

Consider this. Say the technology was taken care of and the laptop was to go for sale for $100. Is there any charity that would be willing to have 1st world families buy the laptop and have them shipped to countries with needs?

This could take care of the resource management (the money going to the corrupt government).


I think this is a very good idea, I strongly believe in the power of education. But I also fear that many governments won't be willing to spend the money because of corruption and other issues. The idea of a charity buying the laptops seems a bit unlikely to me. How about teaming with a TV station and organizing a telethon to raise money? I think people would be willing to contribute to this project, especially because it's more tangible than other initiatives: the money made will be dedicated to the production and shipping of the laptops.

Diana, Madrid April 10th, 2006


OLPC seems to be just one of many great projects to emerge of the MIT Media Lab over recent years that demonstrate intent to use the wealth of knowledge and resource available to the western world to help our less well off friends. Exploring this site however, while I can find believe that a $100 dollar laptop can be made and understand why laptops are great, I cant find a document that actually details the actual need, or attempts to answers many of the questions that have been raised on this page. Is there such a doucument available to the public?? Without wanting to knock a project which I'm sure has a rich future, it would be great to hear answers to some key questions:

How do you give a $100 laptop to a family who makes perhaps $1-5 a day?

How do you persuade aid agencies in the wisdom of paying for high complexity solutions to the developing world, no matter how inexpensive, when written into many of their mission statements is "to help the developing world help themselves" i.e. help them to decide what they need and help them build it?

Who is this $100 laptop specifically for? (country, average income, other facilities) - claiming that the light from OLPC is the brightest source of light in a cambodian family house prompts me to ask are we addressing the REAL problems...

I contributed to the KINKAJOU project with Design that Matters and took the idea to many international agencies in the UK and these were just the kind of questions I struggled to find answers for.

Keep up the good work

Gareth Sumner, Cambridge, UK. 15th April 2006

SVG in this wiki

Hopefully working now! Sj

Loved the idea,I agree with many others about trusting the government.I have lived 21 one years of my life in Brazil and 22 years in USA.I visit my country of origem once a year at least and I know what goes on,unfortunaly they can not be trusted. USA have a huge amount of people that came from those countries the project will reach.Why not give us the oportunity to buy the lap tops and take to family members.I have at least 200 hundred friends that would jump on the idea for their family and friends kids. and if you multiply that by their churches,family,friends etc...Selling them here in the usa to start up paying for the initial cost would'nt be a bad idea.Keep up the good work!!marci

will appreciate if more information is shared. mohsin

New sections

"+" puts new content at the bottom. Which was ending up as a sub-header of "Old content". This "New content" header was created to avoid that. I'm not sure how much, if any, of the content in "Old content" really isn't. And there may be new content elsewhere as well. This needs cleanup. MitchellNCharity 09:08, 4 June 2007 (EDT)

Needed - a "how you can best help olpc"

A clear description is needed of how people, especially software developers, can best help the olpc project. Especially in the short term. Helping 'make the base system solid and compelling, and win some orders' seems a plausible objective. But asking how best to help with that currently seems an alien question. I suggest clear guidance is needed, and that its absence greatly discourages contribution.

When contemplating contributing to any project, a person needs to determine where effort would go unwasted. How to "fit". Will X be useful now/soon, or sit untouched for a long time? Would Y be great, or because of characteristic foo, be sufficiently 'off' to be useless? Given n things I would enjoy doing, which would be more useful to the project? Is there some other thing, less enjoyable but more important, which I should consider? In the absence of guidance, one tends to take a wait and see approach. Or do something random, and then wander off.

Trac may provide some help, but... how the core team's time is best spent is not necessarily the same question as how the community's time is best spent. Some portion of the community will become core developers. But my impression is a broader development community needs to be supported, with at least some core developers coming via incremental commitment from more casual work. And the actual volume of work done by the broader community can exceed that of the core team - often not addressing the near-term critical path as directly, but just as important.

It appears providing this guidance may be more figuring out the answer, than simply documenting known priorities? Asking for guidance on #olpc yielded contradictory advice resembling "if I had more time, I would work on X, but wouldn't work Y". And after someone declined a random suggestion, a 'pity they didn't step up after saying they wanted to help'. Something better is needed.

Perhaps the right approach is not global prioritization, but a list of "definitely useful things". Ie, go to each subcommunity, core sugar, core os, etc, and get there "help with X would definitely be useful right now" requests. It's not clear trac reflects these. Collect the ones for software somewhere visible. I don't know how one would go about this for no-software content. MitchellNCharity 09:02, 4 June 2007 (EDT)

OLPC:Village pump

A village pump for general discussion should help separate discussion /about/ community frmo a global feedback and input page where we can point everyone who has questions that aren't themselves FAQ, "for OLPC the org", or the like. We should be able to send most first contacts through OLPC:Contact us to the VP. --Sj talk 13:54, 4 May 2008 (EDT) --Sj talk 13:54, 4 May 2008 (EDT)