Wayne Hodgins has posted a good “current news” article that points to a number of other online comments on the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative (the $100 computer). Wayne refers to Jeremy Allison’s article “A laptop to change the world” and Wayne quotes Jeremy’s final statement from the article “If it succeeds, I think it will change the world in ways we currently can’t envisage.” The second I start thinking about that I recognize that the Sugar interface that’s being built for the laptop which tag-lined this way – “Sugar is the core of the OLPC Human Interface. Its goal is to turn the Laptop into a fun, easy to use, social experience that promotes sharing and learning.” is what might accomplish this.
And I’m going to emphasize those words “sharing” and “social” – I think that’s where the laptop will have its greatest effect (that is IF they really can keep these computers networked). Computers and networks are for communication as much as they’re for computing. Actually FAR MORE for communication than for computing. (When was the last time you executed a good floating-point operation on your computer? In fact, do you know what a floating-point operation is?) Nope, you use your computer for communication far more than you do for computing.
Keep your eye on Sugar.