OLPC to open source hardware

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project will release its hardware design for the XO laptop under an open-source licence and offer it to commercial manufacturers.

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The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project will release its hardware design for the XO laptop under an open-source licence and offer it to commercial manufacturers.

During a keynote address this week's TED 2009 conference, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte said the future of the initiative will be to "build something that everyone copies," according to Ethan Zuckerman, blogging from TED.

The project was conceived by the MIT media lab's Negroponte and its aim was to provide cheap laptops to children in developing countries. The resulting laptop came in at double the intended cost - $200 instead of $100 - but has been praised for its innovative hardware features and environmentally-friendly design.

The XO laptop, Negroponte suggested, became a prototype for the new low-cost, simple form factor device, netbooks. Netbook manufacturers would not exist if it had not been for OLPC, he claimed.

"They didn't copy the right things from us, but they exist," Negroponte reportedly said. "We had to build the first laptop because no one else would do it."

Negroponte predicted that within three years, manufacturers around the world will build five to six million machines a month using the OLPC design for the XO laptop.

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