On the XO Laptop

2007: The Miserable Pundit in Review

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Mr. John Dvorak continues to demonstrate skills at punting when attempting punditry. First noted in my post The Most Idiotic Post Yet Written About the XO Laptop. Mr. Dvorak’s latest effort can be found at 2007: The Miserable Year in Review. It begins as follows:

It was another crappy year for tech—and Microsoft, Apple, and Google (to name but a few) were to blame.

I was not a fan of 2007. It was another crappy tech year—just the latest in a string of bad years dating back to 2000. Let’s see some of the highlights and lowlights in no particular order.

Mr. Dvorak then goes on to list a number of products and companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, Vista, and so forth.

He misses, in this pundit’s humble view, a fundamental point. The year just ended was not the latest in a string of bad years that dates back to 2000, but the latest in a string of good years that goes back to 2000 and even earlier, to wit:

  1. Each and every year hardware costs continue to decline, courtesy of Moore’s Law;
  2. Each and every year the amount and quality of freely available open-source software grows;

As a consequence of these two forces 2007 was notable in the confluence of several events:

  1. The Era of The Two Hundred Dollar Computer has begun;
  2. Software cost now equals hardware cost, at least when it comes to Windows;
  3. Linux and key open-source applications written in a high-level language such as Python now require less than 300MB to provide a useful computing platform;

As a result of these events, the most notable news in 2007 was the OLPC Project’s release of the first two-hundred dollar global platform for delivering open-source applications, the XO Laptop: GOTOXO.

Miserable year? Au contraire, Mr. Dvorak. It was a great year, and 2008 promises to be even better.

The only bad news to this pundit is that my bank account balance is now over two thousand and seven dollars (2007) less than it was before I first came to appreciate the importance of the XO, thanks to my purchase of ten of them so I could give away nine and have one for my own use.

Not to worry. I have no regrets at spending the money, for it was some of the best-spent money ever to pass through my hands, especially when I think of the two XO laptops on their way to the Sahana Project, Two XO’s for XMAS for Sahana.

If only I could arrange for Mr. Dvorak to interview the first person whose life will be saved because of the use of XO’s to run Sahana, so Mr. Dvorak could explain to that person why 2007 was such a miserable year…


Written by daveshields

January 1, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Posted in xo-laptop

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