Give me rice, but give me an OLPC laptop too

Criticism of plans to get technology into the developing world is misplaced, says Bill Thompson in an article for the BBC.

For those waiting for my review, this might tide you over. I haven't yet received my own XO-1 Laptop, but am of course very excited. Some of my excitement is for the laptop hardware itself (very energy efficient, etc), but most for how this hardware is key to an educational project.

I have to laugh at the talk about putting Microsoft Windows on these laptops. As I've stated before, this transitions this from an educational project to a laptop project. At that point, Dvorak's criticisms would be correct, but that is largely because he doesn't understand how this educational project is intended to work.

Being able to learn from, legally modify and share nearly all the software that comes with the laptop is key for this educational project. This will further encourage the sharing of other non-software related knowledge, with the wide sharing of knowledge being key to allowing citizens in majority world countries to help themselves move out of poverty.

Running the Live CD that has been produced on old hardware you already own is far more useful than running non-FLOSS software on the XO hardware. Take the criticisms that Dvorak made and apply them to Microsoft and Intel where they belong, not the very different OLPC project.