You have got to see this. [If you prefer, it's also now on Google Video.] It's the keynote talk by Ivan Krstic, OLPC's Chief Security Architect, at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council's Open Source Summit this week. Thanks to the wonderful Dan Bricklin, we can watch the talk too. From this talk, I finally understand fully what the project is for. It's not to design a cheaper laptop. It's to create a a new way to educate. The laptop is a surrogate brain, so if a kid is curious he or she can get on the laptop and find out the answer. Is that not how children naturally learn? They have questions and they ask for answers.
If we had been there, we could have seen one because he passed it around. I so want to play with one. Why find a way to educate in a new way? Because a billion + children in the world have no schooling or inadequate schooling. Also speaking is Eben Eliason, a UI designer who explains the software. The talk begins by Ivan saying that he gave a more technical talk at Google about security, and if you'd like to see that, it's here. Python is the "mother glue". He lists all the components, all Open Source.
The laptop has a View Source key. Wow. If they're in a browser, they see HTML; if running an application, they see source code. These six-year-olds are going to figure out how to code. No wonder in all the pictures, the kids are smiling. If you are a programmer, he says, they still have a need for your help.
This is my favorite photograph. A little girl in South America in a big bow, her first day with her OLPC laptop. Look at that face.
And here's your YouTube for Today, children in Asia making music with their XO laptops.