On the XO Laptop

Two XO’s for XMAS for Sahana

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I received the following email from Chamindra de Silva of the Sahana project early this morning in response to a note I had sent him asking, “what is minimum number of XO’s you need for work on OLPC and Sahana to proceed?”

Sorry for the delay responding. I wanted to check with Mano (LSF Chariman) who was also looking to help us. Basically we need to get our hands on two OLPCs for us to be able to develop and test the mesh networking functionality of Sahana. We do have a budget item in Sahana for a Mac that we can re-purpose for this, so it just a matter of finding the best way to reimburse you.

thanks for you help,

Chamindra de Silva

Knowing that the single most important use of the XO at hand is to assist in humanitarian assistance and disaster management, I sent the following reply soon thereafter:

To: Chamindra de Silva,Mano Sekaram
Subject: Two XO’s for XMAS for Sahana


My mother, Alice Janet Simpson Shields, died twenty-five years ago this week. She was born, as she put it, “a day’s sedan-chair ride from Chungking in the province of Szechuan,” in March, 1917. Her parents, Dr. and Mrs. E. Kyle Simpson, were medical missionaries in China for the United Church of Canada for over twenty years in the early 1900’s.

My wife Karin and I would like to honor their memory by making a gift to the People of China in the form of two XO laptop computers that we will donate to the Sahana Foundations.

I ordered my first XO within three hours after the program was announced, and have since ordered several more. I’ll send the first two that come my way on to you and your colleagues at the Sahana Project and the Lanka Foundation.

I have never before made a charitable contribution with such certainty that it would lead to lives being saved. Keep up the good work.


I forgot to say, though I think it obvious, that I didn’t expect any reimbursement, so they can use that money to buy even more XO’s.

[Postscript: December 13, 2007]

I just received the following reply from Chamindra:


Though we were certainly ready to pay for the XOs, it is a honor to accept this donation in their memory. I will make sure we put up a donation page within our site to recognizes these donations within this month.

The next major Sahana release (0.6 Stable) will also be out within next week before Christmas.

Thank you for your continued support of the project and the purpose we represent.

Chamindra de Silva


Written by daveshields

December 13, 2007 at 3:47 pm

Posted in xo-laptop

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