*Suspect* [Oberon] Re: Booters for ETH-Oberon ?

W B Hacker wbh at conducive.org
Wed Mar 12 18:55:53 MET 2008

Chris Glur wrote:

> That's what I'd expect, so I'm surprised that the OLPC
> which as you would know, as a MIT project hopes to sell 
> millions to 3rd world governments for educating their kids,
> in places where there's no mains electricity supply; needs
> 2 minutes to boot it's minimum version of linux.


> I believe in part of the ideas of OLPC: that low power computing
> can revolutionise 3rd world education and hence development 
> the same way as the cell phone *HAS* helped development.


Admirable goals, OLPC, but none of that lot seem have much in the way of 
common sense about what those kids (and their parents) would be best 
served by - or how *soon* they need something useful.

Hint; Search the net for information - yes.
View still fotos  - optionally in at least marginal colour - yes.
View a .pdf - yes
Basic text messaging - yes.

Have VGA and network good enough for games? NOT.

My guess is too few of the movers and shakers in OLPC have themselves 
ever *been* poor - can't appreciate than an incremental gain *now* is 
more valuable than a fancy gadget that won't reach enough folks to 
matter for another dozen years - if not first overtaken by events.

Have a look at what an HP-100LX or 200-LX could do in the way of useful 
apps for a couple of weeks on a pair of ignorant AA batteries and a thin 
lithium backup good for years.

Instant-on to right where you left it 2 weeks ago in each of several 
open apps. 6-weeks on Lithium AA, attach a pair of external 'D' cells 
when using the PCMCIA modem for CompuServe or faxing. No need to carry a 

Eminently suitable to alternative power - and that is going on 
20-year-old technology (80C186 CPU & MSDOS 5.X).

Fast forward to a screen - still w/o backlight - large enough to not 
make the kids go blind, ditto keyboard.

Then comm-link, CPU & memory out of last-year's volume-production cheap 
cellphone, automotive brain-box,  or laser-printer. Anywhere the volume 
has already proven the gear and driven the cost down - or even 

Add solar, wind, bicycle, clockwork - <whatever> charger.

Then BB - or the QNX-on-FDD of a few years back, with the lean 'photon' 

'Educational' doesn't mean 'must look like Windows or Linux+KDE', be 
able to view You-Tube, do 'Quake' or such...

Those are brain-damaging anyway.

Son-of-the-cellphone will probably 'be there cheaper' before the OLPC 
gets off the ground.

Why?  'coz these are countries not just short of computers - but short 
of *everything*.

Any device not small enough to conceal and/or run away from a stronger 
kid - or adult - with will be stolen and sold in a New York minute.

That's where OLPC doesn't understand their 'market'...



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