Negroponte on why OLPC needed to be non-profit

The Science Show (Radio National, ABC Australia) recently broadcast Nicholas Negroponte’s address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston. He spoke about the OLPC, One Laptop Per Child, being interested in both education and technology I have followed the OLPC project for some time, but this talk made me appreciate the project more from an educational and social perceptive rather than just a technological one. In my view then most important point of the whole talks concerned the economics of OLCP.

Negroponte:

“Then the biggest decision in retrospect that we made was to do it as a non-profit and everybody advised me the opposite.”

I see this as an example of how in a purely capitalist system some great things will never eventuate, I can see parallels with FLOSS here. Negroponte also speaks of how on the OLPC they used the rapid pace of technology advancement not to make a product with more feature but one at a lower price.

A transcript and mp3 (for a limited time) of the talk are available from the Science Show site, I highly recommend reading/listening. It is people who work on things like OLPC who change the world for the better.

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