Monday, November 28, 2005

MIT $100 Laptop - New Updates

More News on the $100 Wonder

It has been a while since I've seen much on the $100 MIT laptop that was talked about some months ago. However, there was an article today talking about some of the most recent developments. It seems that they have decided to go with RedHat for the operating system. On first hearing that, I was a bit surprised that they were not going to go with the current favorite for user-friendliness and a small install - Ubuntu. However, after reading on and seeing that one of the sponsors for this massive project is actually RedHat - it makes much more sense now.

In fact, RedHat isn't the only recognizable name in the bunch. Google has ponied up $2 million for the project, and Rupert Murdoch (of News Corporation) is a noted player in the project. Of course, one must count in the massive amount of fund-raising done by the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) foundation, which is run by the man behind the project - Nicholas Negroponte. Apparently Steve Jobs (Macintosh) didn't particularly get on board with the idea at first, but is now helping out with ideas. Michael Dell helped by discounting hardware components, and Bill Gates is (unsurprisingly) trying to convince them to use Windows on the computers instead of open-source software.

As far as the technical specifications go, here is what it looks like it will be so far.

$100 laptop[From here.]"Hardware specs: 500Mhz AMD processor, 1GB flash memory (no hard drive), SVGA 8" diagonal display (dual LCD Color/Black & White mode for power conservation and outdoor reading), 128MB of DRAM, AC Cord that doubles as carrying strap as the power source and a hand-crank (one minute of cranking gives enough power for 10 minutes of operation)."

The laptop will ship with the basic software one would expect on an open-source, Linux based machine. Also, it was said that in addition to basic word-processing, programming, and browser software, it will apparently have built in networking support.

[From here.] "The laptop also features support for a unique, peer-to-peer wireless mesh network that will work right out of the box, and MIT researchers are currently investigating various ways to facilitate low cost internet access for the laptop systems."

Overall, the project sounds very interesting, and with large-scale production slated to begin in the fall of 2006, it will be quite the thing to watch. Also, it has been said that these laptops will be available for regular consumer purchase (at a cost of $200) when they are successful in their production.



karmatosed said...

I strangely am warming to this idea and infact considering the option. I like the things you get with a standard laptop - but to have one that you weren't constantly worried with marking or scratching would be great. The freedom to have the technology but not feel the need to put in bubble wrap would be great.

mistycabal said...

I definitely agree. I have a friend who just purchased a second laptop (albeit about 10 times as expensive) because his other laptop was a custom job and very much made to be a desktop replacement. Unfortunately, it is also a bit heavy to carry around, and with the amount it cost him he worries about leaving it in a hotel room when he travels. Something like this would be an ideal option for those people who fit the 'road warrior' class.