[Oberon] OLPC - One Laptop Per Child

John Drake jmdrake_98 at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 13 21:56:57 MET 2006

The problem is that Oberon offers few "compelling"
applications.  Yes there's the "way cool" user
experience but what else?  Squeakland is popular
because of it's "etoy" killer app.  While I like
Leonardo it doesn't fit the "killer app" category.

It's interesting that you've brought up Xerox and
Oberon Microsystems.  Good comparison.  Both had
compelling technologies that were overpriced and
under marketted.  I'm not trying to rag on OMI,
but when they were selling their DTC product it
was much more expensive than Visual Basic which
could basically do the same thing.  (Make COM
programming approachable).  By the time they
decided to go open source MicroSoft had already
moved on to .NET.  GPCP is a good product, but
it has to compete against a lot of other .NET
products with similair capabilities.

Anyway, back to the OLPC project.  To have an
impact on this Oberon would need to be able to
offer something better than Squeakland.  Note 
that I did NOT say better than Linux.  It could
ride on top of Linux.  (We need to make some
headway on the LinAOS project).  But it would
need to offer educators something that 
Squeakland does not.  Personally I find
Squeakland quite limited.  For example, while
you have the ability to do "sound" you have
a very limited list of available sounds.  
(For instance I was making a "bear" eToy but
I realized that I could only make it "croak"
like a frog.)  I think something like Squeak
etoys could be made with Gadgets, especially
if the simulation package COSIMO was included.


But the programming model would need to be
simplified.  I found programming COSIMO quite
difficult and I'm sure your average 3rd
grader would be totally intimidated by it.


John M. Drake

--- "Douglas G. Danforth" <Danforth at GreenwoodFarm.com>

> Chris,
> Your comments just made a connection for me.
> ETHZ is to future software as
> XEROX is to Apple.
> That is, the company Xerox developed the Alto,
> Smalltalk, bitmaped graphics, and encorporated
> the mouse but did not market any of this.  It took
> Apple computer to bring these technologies to the
> general public.
> I had the privilege of  talking to George Pake who
> was the director of Xerox Parc and asking him
> circa 1976 when they would market the Alto.
> His comment was that they were a research group
> and it was not their place to do so.
> Now Dr. Wirth got inspiration from Parc to create
> the Ceres machine and develop Oberon.  So it looks
> as though a new company is necessary to spin off
> the efforts of ETHZ.  However, this should have
> been done in the late 80's and early '90s.
> Oberon Microsystems was one such attempt but
> did not have the clout to pull off a revolution.
> What's the market for Oberon?  Something like
> -Doug Danforth

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