OLPC talk:What we mean by free and open

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Some arguements regarding open source, globalization, and risk

  1. Open source lets you invest in people, not software;
  2. Open source is most impactful when it is developed on a global scale;
  3. An open-source model espouses feedback
  4. As per the above, open source is low risk, as it readily couples a broad and diverse development community with mechanisms for continuous course correction—it is a closed-loop mechanism for development;
  5. Similar arguements hold true for content development.

  1. Open source is highly risky as any innovative software development can make a person very successful for life and allow them to achieve their dreams, but if that idea was released as part of open source not only can they not profit off it but the idea is basically owned by a software entity. Most will credit the origonal creators of the open source project for the idea rather then the inovator themselves.
  2. Open source is not an investment. Investments return capital. Since you cannot profit from it it would be classified as a hobby.
    While open source does not in itself generate capital, there are a number of businesses which are profitable despite their support of open source (Red Hat, Google, IBM, etc.), which suggests that open source can be part of a successful business strategy. Many aspects of a business are cost centers (like public relations or information technology departments), but they are still considered essential, not hobbies. —Joe 11:40, 7 January 2008 (EST)


To make changes to the installed software (including the os), you will need the source code and a compiler. Fitting even an undressed Linux kernel, some GNU stuff including gcc on a 128+512MB computer does not leave much room for other stuff. Infact it will not fit at all, unless really drastic steps are taken. The only thing that would be Open Source (even free as in beer) and small enough would be MINIX. Maybe there are some new experiments, but MINIX has proven it self (esp. on small machines in Eastern Europe, Asia and to some extend Africa). The original MINIX ran off a 360KB floppy, and early Linux was modeled (and developed on) MINIX. Also MINIX creator professor Tanenbaum is from the MIT, so he probably will be happy to help.

Since a major overhoal of MINIX is currently onderway, (see www.minix3.org[1]) development efforts could be bundeled. Someone should research this.

Retrieved from "http://wiki.laptop.org/wiki/OLPC_on_open_source_software"

Please refer to Minimal Linux distros regarding discussions about alternative Linux distributions for the laptop. --Walter 13:30, 13 November 2006 (EST)

This is a religious war issue

If you're so sure that OpenSource is the one-fit-all solution why do you not ask students to write themselves their textbooks googling internet? Or may be to older students in their free times?

Exactly. The XO is cheaper than printed textbooks. The e-books that replace them must also be Free. Children are in fact writing textbooks, and large numbers of free textbooks are now available.
Who else is going to write the books on all of the languages, cultures, social histories, and localities if not the inhabitants?--Mokurai 19:11, 14 January 2008 (EST)

An another points, when PC will be distributed by 10'000'000 or may be 100'000'000 - must all these brave peoples wait that a hobbyst have free time to furnish them what they need?

No, at worst they will have to wait for each other. But have you not noticed all the people from MIT, Google, Red Hat, and elsewhere who are creating software for them? Hardly just hobbyists.--Mokurai 19:11, 14 January 2008 (EST)

- how will you control and who will accept your control of what software will be used?

The initial XO software is the best we know how to do. The next generation will be written by students, teachers, parents, and others in the countries concerned.
Note also that OLPC is encouraging Microsoft to put Windows XP on the XO. The result is laughable, of course. Bloated, insecure, expensive, and radically unFree. But anybody who wants it can have it, possibly as soon as 2009.--Mokurai 19:11, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Coming from a modern organization as MIT, you should revise such statement that are mainly ideologist and unpractical.

The existing school systems of the world are ideological and impractical. They were created to produce shop clerks and factory hands, and a compliant military and bureaucracy. They perpetuate injustice in many countries, just as the "separate but equal" Jim Crow schools of the US did before Brown vs Board of Education, and many in the US still do in many other ways.
Free Software has been proven economically. It is often of better quality than commercial software, though by no means always. It saves developing countries large amounts of money that they can ill spare. It makes it possible to put software into languages that no commercial entity will support.--Mokurai 19:11, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Of course i wish you success for the overall project, but be a little pragmatic on this point

Thank you for your good wishes. Regarding your critique of the OLPC stance on Open Source, I believe you are reading into it some things that are not our intention: we, OLPC, are not planning to control any of the software or content on the machine. In fact, by making it open, we are explicitly relinquishing that control, handing it over to the teachers and children. Walter 03:52, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

Media Inaccuracies regarding olpc and F/LOSS

FWIW, there was an article at MobileMag that claimed:

 The OLPC is still being planned to run on a variant of Windows (CE), 
 because according to Negroponte, Linux in its current incarnation is 
 still too "bloated."

IMHO the only inevitable conclusion is that the speaker is trying to justify Windows for OLPC when someone makes a statement "Linux is bloated" - Linux distros are too many to be called "bloated" in a sweeping statement. Isn't that a gross error that requires an apology to the Linux community?

If the article in Mobile Magazine was written based upon Negroponte's talk at Linux World, then it is a misleading convolution of several different comments he made: (1) OLPC is open and therefore anyone is welcome to port any OS to the machine, including Windows; and (2) many distributions of Linux are bloated. I never heard it suggested that OLPC planned to run Windows because Linux was too bloated. Nor did I hear Negroponte say that Linux was inherently bloated: rather he suggested that OLPC required a slimmed-down distribution. Walter 03:42, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
Like the Familiar Linux distribution running on the Simputer, the Sharp Zaurus line, and various HP/Compaq iPaqs. Tiny-X is a version of the X windows system that runs in 1M. And so on.--Ed Cherlin 20060914 21:06 GMT - 07:00

Looks like a good sensible approach

The objective here is to spread knowledge and learning, not evangelize open source. Open source may be useful to the project but the project. The Web was successful in the early stages because the code base was public domain. GPL was intentionaly rejected because we wanted companies like IBM and Microsoft to use our code to build their own Web browsers and servers.

I would strongly suggest dropping another piece of ideological baggage that FSF is currently pedling, the crusade against trustworthy computing. It might not be feasible to have a trustworthy boot path for the machine but if it was possible to do that at even a primitive level you could avoid the problems with viruses and malware that have plagued the PC. --Hallambaker 22:49, 3 August 2006 (EDT)

Ideology: Dangerous nonsense put forward for underhanded purposes by someone other than me. (I don't peddle ideology; I offer unassailable truth.)
Unassailable truth: Dangerous nonsense put forward by me, for an appropriate value of me.
I'm curious. What trustworthy computing? Bill Gates's "Trustworthy Computing Initiative" is a laugh, a sham, and a fraud on the public. Linux is already far more reliable and secure than Windows, as Apache has for years been far more reliable and secure than Microsoft's IIS Web Server.
I fail to see the relevance of a decision made 15 years ago to design issues today. It may be true that IBM wouldn't use software under a GPL license in 1991, as was reportedly rumored to have been the case, but today IBM is one of the great champions of Free/Open Source Software.
And what you mean "we"? Who are you? Your name link doesn't have a page. You appear to be Phillip Hallam-Baker of VeriSign, who worked with Tim Berners-Lee in the dim and distant mists of antiquity Before Mosaic. This gives you some actual standing to express an opinion, but doesn't turn your opinion into fact.--Ed Cherlin 20060914 19:09 GMT - 07:00


Would someone from the OLPC project please read the wiki entry on open source again and then explain to me how this is compatible with the fact that OLPC is collaborating with Microsoft to put Windows on it? See: this article.

-- unsigned comment by

OLPC will ship the Sugar software stack with all its laptops; a new open-source interface built on Fedora Linux. But the hardware is open, and no one can stop Countries from doing whatever they want with the laptops, including putting Windows on them. OLPC can't do anything to stop someone from installing Windows, nor is there any desire to. --Jacobolus 14:50, 26 January 2007 (EST)
And what about now? --Munchkinguy 01:19, 16 May 2008 (EDT)


Opera is not Open Source. Will it be included in XO or will it be just for optional download? --unsigned comment by

AFAIK there are no plans to include Opera with the XO laptop. --Jacobolus 14:52, 26 January 2007 (EST)


Open Software will be used throughout ... what about the hardware? Will schematics, PCB design, Gerbers, BOM (Bill of Materials) and other details of manufacture also be open source?

See Ask_OLPC_a_Question_about_Hardware#The_hardware:_schematics.3F.

Attribution, Please?

Mako, the Open Source policy obviously borrows heavily from the DFSG/OSD. And you listed yourself at the top as the sole author. It would be nice of you to give proper attribution to Debian and me for some significant swathes of literal text. Thanks - Bruce


The licenses which are used for OLPC software should be clearly listed someplace. The only mention I can find is in http://dev.laptop.org/wiki/SoftwareLicensing but there after wading through the list one finds only that the MIT License is recommended. Not all the projects on dev.laptop.org list their licenses.

Some idea to provide Chineselanguage version?

I may appreciate this idea.--Ksyrie