During linux.conf.au 2008 in Melbourne we handed out 100 XO laptops. These are the little green machines developed by Nicholas Negroponte and Seymour Papert and hundreds of other people - for the 100 dollar one laptop per child project.
The idea then, was to get the machines into the hands of the Free and Open Source Software Developer community so that they may 'play' with them, test them, and hopefully patch and develop apps for the sugar system. They were also encouraged to share the machines around, to show them to others, and if they personally didn't have the time or inclination to do something useful with the machine, to pass it on to someone who could.
Well - I'd like to know where those machines are now, what they're doing. Are they somewhere at the bottom of a box? Have they been sent to the Welly testers? Are they in the proud possession of a child learning new ways of learning? Do you know?
Well - the OLPC project has been through it's ups and downs, but it carries on, and continues to grow. It's now very real in Australia. There are 4000 machines 'out there' in remote communities, and there's an Australian version of the software. We need it tested. And you don't need an XO to test it either. The sugar on a stick project means just about anyone with a computer of some kind can get the radical children's machine operating system and try it out.
The Melbourne XO Club has started to meet regularly again on the 3rd Saturday of the month in The Hub@Docklands, and follow a co-ordinated testing regime. Yesterday, they found, confirmed and reported 3 bugs. Doesn't sound like much - but actually that's really valuable.
Photo Credit: © OLPC Australia. "Rawa Community School, WA." 7 Apr 2009