Open Source Software and Linux

Mar 15 2009   12:11AM GMT

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) moving to the ARM processor

John Little Profile: Xjlittle

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is moving to the ARM processor. Chief technologist for the project, Ed McNierney, says that they can do better in terms of power with the ARM processor than with the AMD Geode chip whose output is 5 watts.

But what about Microsoft? The only operating system they have that will run on the ARM processor is Windows Mobile. The OLPC project and Microsoft had previously agreed that they would install Windows XP. OLPC chairman Nicholas Negroponte is currently in talks with Microsoft regarding a port of the XP operating system to the ARM processor.

Part of the OLPC misssion is targeting current and historic conflict zones, including places such as Iraq, Rwanda and the Gaza Strip. Providing laptops to children in these areas not only fulfills the group’s mission to offer equal-access education to the most isolated children, it may also promote world peace. Matt Keller, who works for the OLPC project believes that by putting laptops “into the hands of kids who would otherwise be indoctrinated,” he explained, “we can make the case pretty successfully that doing this is a long-term solution to root causes.”

The OLPC also serves the need of kids in the US. Last year Glen Iris Elementary School in Birmingham opened it’s doors as the as the district’s pilot for the program. “It’s been an overwhelming success at our school,” says principal Michael Wilson, whose school has a poverty rate of 83 percent. They’re “totally engaged in what they’re doing,” Wilson said. “I have kids getting out of cars in the morning with their laptops open.”

What a great project literally changing the lives of kids around the world. You can read more about the OLPC here.

-j

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