News that Bill Gates pour cold water on MIT’s $100 PC has been circulating around the net, including this one. As the world’s richest man, he is not that stupid that
- He cannot see that a lot of the points he raised are plainly absurb, e.g.
“The last thing you want to do for a shared use computer is have it be something without a disk …and with a tiny little screenor”
- It is not a shared use computer. Project name is “One Laptop Per Child”
- As for computer without a disk, they do use flash memory and it might just be big enough for their purpose. Not having disk is likely not going to be a big problem for future computers.
- With reference to tiny screenor, does Bill rather deny kids access to computer simply because they are looking at tiny screenor?
- He makes the point that hardware is only a small part of the cost equation. The majority of the cost is software, support and networking the computers. Here I believe he deliberately forgotten the fact that without hardware, its useless to start any discussion about the others. Hence, the current priority must be to get the hardware to the market first.
- Problems with software and support costs can be overcomed. New software can be developed, perhaps indigeniously and this might be cheaply via volunteers contribution. I especially like the indigineous development part, coz it is empowering the child who choose to develop the software. One can build community support for these computers hence support cost can be distributed, rather than having a costly centralized support centre.
- $100 PC managers are aware of the need for Networking. For a lot of their targetted audience, a simple network infrastructure may not even exists, hence they choose the “Mesh” network approach where the network rely on no infrastructure.
- “…,get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you’re not sitting there cranking the thing while you’re trying to type”
Prototypes may be available but I doubt Mr Gate saw them. Moreover, remember back in 1990s everyone is using rather small screen on the laptop? Hence, reading the text is not a problem and I don’t mind cranking the thing while I type because without the computer, I have nothing to type on!
Before I get comments telling me that Mr Gate is just mocking the project, I know.
What do I think is the reason for this outburst, he did not get to play! He realise that if this project is successful, his brainchild, Microsoft, might have another competitor to compete against.
His non-support of the project speak volumes, remember what Mohandas Ghanhi says: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Guess we are at stage 2 now!