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Building local capacity

While it is possible to do assembly in-country in the future, in order to deliver the lowest-cost laptop in the first year, final assembly needs to be done close to where the some 800 parts in the laptop are manufactured. One needs to consider not just the total cost of final assembly, logistics, packaging, and shipping, but also the cost of logistical coordination of all the parts and their shipping for in-country final assembly, plus duties and capital equipment investment. OLPC and its manufacturing partners are happy to work with countries to explore a local-manufacturing option in future years and to create a phased plan for in-country manufacture now.

OLPC does not want to limit in-country industrial development to only a few low-wage, low-skill, no-growth jobs such as assembling laptops, while the higher value-added, high-skill, high-growth jobs remain elsewhere. Focusing only on parts or system assembly is not sustainable economic promotion. Our commitment to open-source software and content allows rapid, viral growth of these industries in country, which dwarf the assembly-line manufacturing industry.

Serving the OLPC “ecology” will create in-country business opportunities. There are numerous devices ranging from solar panels, generators, point-to-point wireless hardware to extend the network, novel, inexpensive educational accessories to be used with the laptop, and so on that can and will be invented in a grassroots, bottom-up fashion. Software is also an opportunity: systems such as the XO will enable both commercial and non-commercial software to be built to address needs in the majority of the world where computing has not been available due to lack of suitable computers and networks. --Walter 03:47, 16 June 2007 (EDT)


Dear Walter

Please let me know whether it is publicized. I would like to write a similar one for our Korean XO community sincerelyphp5 05:31, 17 July 2007 (EDT)

Should the OLPC project be outside of the USA?

Considering that US export laws are at times irrational and politically motivated, is it wise that this project is in the USA and have it software be configure managed in the USA? This project should be outside of USA's jurisdiction.

I question whether there is some benefit for us or you by getting involved

We are a St. Louis MO based charity doing Health Related activity in many poor parts of the world including Ecuador, Africa, Asia etc. We have recently been asked by Ecuador officials to assist in several different activates, including build schools, clinics, furnish computers etc.(we have a current request for 100 computers that we are trying to fulfill.

Or name is Wings of Hope and you can view our website at to get some idea of what we do and who we do it for, both locally and around the world. We are a volunteer organization with pilots, nurses and support people stationed in many countries in poverty stricken areas. We are non political, non religious based, have no ethnic motivations nor any other motivation based issues except to help people in need.

We furnish air transport service to poor people in the central part of the United States to get them to health care facilities. We set up health clinics in poor areas of the US and we Donate aircraft to many areas of the world to be used as Air Ambulances. The website above will reveal a lot about Wings of Hope activates.

I saw the article in Popular Science about your computers and I just feel there is something that we can offer that will advance your cause. Our relationships appear to be with the kind of folks you are trying to reach. If you feel we can be of any assistance to your efforts, we would like to discuss the issue(s).

Please Contact our Director, MR. Douglas Clements, or,.

Keith Barbero, WOH Board Member


How can I get involved?

There are many ways to become involved, the most basic way is to contribute your ideas and feedback. Here is the project wiki ( where we are accumulating information about the project and suggesting places and ways to help. See Getting involved in OLPC.

How does a computer science professional contact OPLC about volunteering their time to help deploy the laptops and train new users? Is there an affliation with GeekCorps?

See the section about Ask OLPC a Question about Distribution#Training & Capacity Building... but in general, that is upto the deploying countries to decide how it'll work - you should contact that side of the equation (or any organizations they name when the time comes).--Xavi 17:54, 13 January 2007 (EST)


How can I get my wealthy , resourceful high school students involved to help?

How can Wikipedia editors help?

I'm a relatively experienced Wikipedia editor (User:Creidieki@en), and I've heard that the Wikipedia project will be involved in some way with OLPC. However, I can't find any concrete information about this, either on this site or on Wikipedia. Are there wiki-related tasks which need to be done to help prepare content for the OLPC project? Which wikiprojects will be included on the OLPC? How can I help? -- Creidieki 12:41, 2 August 2007 (EDT)

You might want to ask SJ Klein, as he is apparently something of a liaison between OLPC and Wikipedia, as well as being the OLPC director of content. I believe the plan is to ship a subset of Wikipedia with either the laptops themselves or the school servers (in case internet connectivity isn't locally available), although I'm not sure how the subset is being chosen. I think contributions to the Simple English Wikipedia would be helpful, as these articles are likely to be used both for English instruction and in the case where translated articles are not available. —Joe 18:42, 2 August 2007 (EDT)

The One encyclopedia per child page may be relevent to this (see both the Article and Discussion pages). It covers a Wikipedia for children, cut-down to fit on CD/DVD. --Ricardo 04:44, 12 August 2007 (EDT) volunteers

I wrote an e-mail to ten days ago, which has not been replyed to yet. I will submit this mail here just for making sure it reaches you:

Deleted this private letter. If you do not get a reply to your email, either wait patiently, or send another email. This wiki is not a mailbox!

We noticed that you are looking for people from the community for implementing the BATMAN software into your system.

---Konstantin 09:27, 27 January 2007 (EST)---

The OLPC OS already has a built-in mesh networking system. It is highly unlikely that your BATMAN mesh networking system will be of any use. There is already a Developers program where you can offer your services.
Actually, the B.A.T.M.A.N. free software for mesh networking is the most complete, widely deployed implementation of mesh networking under Linux. It's been running in production use for more than a year, which is more than anyone can say about the OLPC Marvell/CozyBit mesh. B.A.T.M.A.N. may well be useful for wide area networking of the school servers (the 802.11s mesh will only extend as far as the WiFi radios can reach; there's no plan to extend it via DSL or wired links to other parts of the network). Does B.A.T.M.A.N. support IPv6 yet? I concur that you should contact Jim Gettys at the Developers program, and ask for laptop into which you could port the software. --gnu

Internship Updates?

I'm interested in the internship program. How can I get updates on this?

I'd like to help teach.

I think your idea is marvelous! I heard recently about how cell phones are benefitting rural peoples in Africa, where landlines are almost non existent. and I can see how OLPC could be similarly beneficial -- perhaps more so.

Are you are recruiting folks yet to help train teachers or children to use the laptops? I've worked as a newspaper journalist, writing instructor, and am now in marketing and public relations for a community college. But I'd like to do something more meaning and helpful on a larger scale. How can I find out if there is a use for my skills in your organization? I am willing to work oversees and in primative conditions.

The OLPC does not actually deploy the computers in these countries. If you want to work in the field, then start by reading our news section to see where the first computers are headed. Then contact the ministry of education in one of these countries to offer your services. They will likely be working together with one or more charitable organizations who operate in their country. Currently, Brazil, Libya and Rwanda are target countries. --Memracom 05:40, 13 January 2007 (EST)


It is apparent that in-country organizations must be involved to distribute and support the PC. These organizations may be governmental, or perhaps even charitable (aid) agencies.

OLPC should create "franchises" of a sort. The sponsoring organization will be responsible for providing a systems integration and technical support center (or centers) in which the PC will be assembled, tested, packaged and distributed; and from which limited technical support will be provided. The centers may also be responsible for establishing the WIFI networks required. The centers must be created by the sponsoring organization per OLPC specifications and should be supervised (from creation) by an OLPC employee. The centers will be funded and owned by the sponsoring organization, and all of the employees at the centers will be employed by the sponsoring organization --- except the OLPC supervisor. It's important to keep the OLPC supervisor independent of the sponsoring organization, since the OLPC supervisor will be responsible for auditing manufacturing and distribution per OLPC guidelines.

Expense in setting up the centers should be minimal for the sponsoring organization. I am happy to aid in the creation of specifications for centers. The specifications for each center will be similar to all others, with capacity being the only unique component of the basic equation. Network establishment for sponsoring organization's geography will also be similar to all others, with capacity and physical terrain being the unique components of the basic equation.

OLPC will establish credit/payment arrangements with each of the sponsoring organizations.

After account establishment, OLPC will send kits of PC materials to the centers for final assembly. The centers will perform top-level assembly only. Kits of parts will include, cases, power supplies, batteries, LCDs, unit packaging, etc. --- and perhaps a calculated spares supply based upon estimated (eventually, known) reliability of the PCs to ensure in-field functionality for 5 years. The centers would also be responsible for PC repairs and refurbishment, as well as network maintenance, to OLPC guidelines.

The sponsoring organization is responsible for distributing the PC per OLPC guidleines. Distribution expenses are borne by the centers.

The OLPC supervisor will audit the performance of the sponsoring organization. In the event that the sponsoring organization fails to meet OLPC standards, OLPC may stop shipments of PC parts to the center.

OLPC cost is reduced by transferring the labor costs of final assembly, test, packaging and distribution to the sponsoring organization, thus relieving the PC unit price of these costs. The countries most in need of the OLPC program have plentiful and inexpensive labor. Perhaps a penny or two per PC must be added to the PC cost so that OLPC can pay its center supervisors (and perhaps area - continent? - supervisors, auditing the center supervisors). The creation of in-country infrastructure --- and local employment --- virtually assures loyalty and continuity of the OLPC program.

I can tell you that we make can even make the OLPC "franchise" work in the U.S. I can provide up to 50,000 employees who can assemble the PC in the U.S. --- legally --- for less than $1.00 per hour. Assuming OLPC program control in the U.S., these employees can even kit and ship the top-level parts to centers throughout the world.

I am aware that certain for-profit companies are threatening competition. Such competition is a serious threat to OLPC and its vision. If a commercial enterprise can thwart OLPC's vision, and cause OLPC to cease to exist --- PC prices will rise due the lack of competition.

The establishment of in-country partnerships with sponsoring organizations (probably governments) will be the only way that OLPC can manage competition from firms such as Intel.

Local manufacturing

If we have learned nothing, we have indeed learned that simply dumping money, food --- or PCs --- into a needy geography does little long-term good for the intended clients. Don't send fish --- teach your clients how to fish. Without OLPC control of PC distribution, network creation and maintenance and repair/upgrade capabilities, the PCs you dump into the third world will disappear into oblivion.

The concept of client investment is a well-accepted method of creating the sense of ownership necessary to create and care for the in-country programs. The "cost of logistical coordination of all the parts and their shipping for in-country final assembly" bears exactly the same level of complexity as shipping the PCs. OLPC ships KITS of parts to produce X PCs --- not random shipments from various hardware manufacturers. In the unlikely event that there is a country on this earth that will not waive tariff or tax for humanitarian shipments, the kits of parts will be taxed at a much lower rate than the value-added PCs.

In-country assembly and support operations will be the ONLY way to keep your competitors at bay. Don't be naive. Intel can sell its PC for any price it choses. OLPC will lose a price war with any competitor that can produce and provide substantial hardware value a lower-than-market prices.

The in-country assembly plan works because labor rates will be directly proportional to each countries abilities to pay those rates. It's a perfect equation.

OLPC is a GREAT idea. However, there comes a point where idealism must yield to reality to ensure success.