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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

$100 Laptop Snubs OS X, Goes to UN

MIT Media Lab's research initiative, to build a $100 laptop for students across the globe is chugging along, with Nicholas Negroponte, laboratory chairman and co-founder, MIT, to demonstrate a working prototype to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a technology meeting in Tunisia. According to reports, Steve Jobs had offered to provide free copies of OS X to the project, but his offer was turned down because OS X is not open source and the creators want an operating system where the source code is open and can be altered and "tinkered with". Ironically, OS X is based on Unix which is open source.

Negroponte has said that this technology could revolutionize how we educate the world's children. The $100 machine will be a full-color, full-screen laptop that is Linux-based and running on AMD processors. These rugged laptops will be WiFi and cell phone-enabled, and will be able to do almost everything, except store huge amounts of data. Five corporate sponsors; the likes of Google, AMD and Red Hat, have contributed $2million each to the project. Negroponte reportedly came up with the $100 laptop idea, after seeing children in a Cambodian village benefit from having notebook computers at school, which they could also take home and use. Negroponte has said that the laptop is a cost-effective alternative to hiring additional teachers, and is aimed at helping children teach themselves.


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