OLPC Compromises Its Core Principles, Ships Windows

BBC reports that OLPC is now officially distributing Windows, shredding one of its core principles - to only distribute free software. (It did distribute some proprietary software, the drivers for its wireless card, but I’ve overlooked this in the past.)

It seems clear to me that Negroponte has decided there was a choice between around 500,000 kids with internet and free software, and millions of kids with internet and Windows. I’m not sure which would be the biggest set back, but given we all grew up with proprietary software and Internet access, I think it will be not be a disaster to ship Windows on OLPC computers. As I wrote on an OLPC mailing list, the medium of the Internet is the real message here.

It is wrong for anyone to distribute proprietary software, yet I do think the wider social movement (towards a free society) is helped by tainted distros and by spreading internet access.

Although they both ship tainted systems as policy, Canonical and Red Hat are different to PCLinuxOS and Novell, since they are slowly moving towards 100% free while the latter have no plans to. I’m slowly moving that way too, and being further along, I invite others to catch up with me.

As long as people are moving in the right direction, they are helping.

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The OLPC Compromises Its Core Principles, Ships Windows by David Crossland, except the quotations and unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


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