On the XO Laptop

The Great Unanswered Questions about the XO Laptop

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The “Give 1 Get 1” program was announced in early November of this year. I take this as the official “release date” of the XO, for it meant that OLPC was willing to accept orders for the XO as it was ready to build them. This release has proven to be real, as I have already seen several blog posts from folks who have just gotten their XO’s, and I will be writing some of my own as soon as I get mine.

As I noted in a recent note, the XO Laptop is a remarkable achievement. As best as I can tell it was done by a small team of about twenty people, working on a non-profit basis.

The design of the XO speaks for itself, especially in the remarkably low power requirement. And though I haven’t yet gotten my own XO I have enough experience that I can vouch for the quality of the open-source code that is used to power the hardware. Sure, there are some bugs, but they will soon be fixed. I assert this because I know that Jim Gettys has been leading the software team. If you know his reputation — and I do — then you know why I am confident making this assertion.

The XO can now be manufactured at a cost sufficiently under $200 that it can be made available for purchase for $200, and that cost will go down as production volumes go up.

There remain, however, some great unanswered questions about the XO.

I don’t know the answers, though there are two people who do.

Here are the questions:

Dear CEO’s of Intel and Microsoft,

Can you please explain why you didn’t set up a joint effort seveal years ago with the goal of producing a computer comparable to the XO in performance and cost, including both the cost of the hardware and the cost of the software?

Why did it take a small team of twenty people to do what your two corporations couldn’t do with your tens of thousands of employees and your tens of billions of dollars of assets?

Why did the world have to wait until near the end of 2007 for such a device?

Why didn’t you give it to us sooner?


Written by daveshields

December 21, 2007 at 5:44 am

Posted in xo-laptop

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