Negroponte talks about the OLPC again. His hardware vision for educational purposes inspired the netbooks. I remember that at the UN World Summit for the Information Society in Geneva Negroponte’s vision was the only substantial concept in an ocean of world transformation strategies and humanity discussions of dictators. Oh, and I found the presentation of BBC’s Nik Gowing very inspiring who stressed how the availability of cheap digital recording equipment changes power relations and transforms TV journalism. The BBC was closer to imagine that a few years later there would be Saddam execution cell phone videos posted on the net than other stations.
Now Negroponte announced a next generation of OLPCs that would be based on an open hardware principle. Negroponte regrets that not all of their concepts were copied. The OLPC seems to be mostly a showcase and now that the netbook generation takes off, Negroponte has to cut staff. The OLPC packages bleeding edge technologies like freifunk software for a pragmatic objective in a way that “sells” to the media and foundations. Wireless-mesh is one of the OLPC technologies that are not mainstreamed yet.
Last year Benjamin Henrion and I thought about a project called “One Pen per Child” (OPPC)”. It is a parody of Negroponte’s original One Laptop Per Child vision which clashes with the reality on the ground. Nothing came out of it but a facebook cause for the OPPC later the year. You can join it. It was great fun for us and we hope it inspires people as did Negroponte’s showcase.