Issue #22 August 2006

The little laptop that could

by Julie Bryce

Looking for open source principles already at work in the world of education? Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop per Child project is setting the standard. No, textbook publishers aren't dropping their copyrights or offering their source files for mass distribution. But a laptop accessible to all children is igniting hope that technology doesn't have to widen the gap between the privledged and the poor.

In this month's Wired magazine, $100 laptop designer Yves Behar explains why he got involved in the project. "Computers were supposed to be a democratizing tool. You used to see that boundless optimism from Silicon Valley hardware companies. I'm not sure it's still there. One Laptop per Child is the first thing I've seen in many years that is in line with the original goal of the PC."

Because it will operate without a traditional power source, the laptop will be immediately functional in developing nations. Democratizing the tools for learning and making education itself open.

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Working prototypes are on display around the globe. But if you're not one of the few who's seen one up close, you'll find pictures on or visit One Laptop per Child on Here you'll learn more about the Red Hat team developing the desktop software for the laptop, read their blogs, and submit your questions to the Red Hat One Laptop team.

Past Red Hat Magazine articles about One Laptop per Child: