A big surprised earlier this year when MIT's Nicholas Negroponte announced a project to make $100-level laptops. You can still find links to the news here [infoworld.com], here [pcworld.com], and here [itworld.com], and many other places (just google the obvious keywords).

Now the design and spec of the machine had been unveiled [news.yahoo.com].

The machine will sport a 500 MHz AMD processor (slow by today's standard, but should be fast enough for target users of this machine), with flash memory instead of harddrive, and running GNU/Linux operating system. Perhaps the most definining, and interesting, difference is the hand crank.

MIT is also think different in approaching the market. Instead of using the popular model of better hardware (more toys), same price employed by most major makers, MIT will employ the same hardware, lower price model which allows them to reduce the cost of the machines further when the technology become more obsoleted (or can be made cheaper).

Why so?

Well, in his own words, Negroponte said
Even $100 "is still too expensive"
for their target customers, users, whatever you may call.

Target: poor kids in poor countries. From the news.yahoo.com article:
Within a year, Negroponte expects his nonprofit One Laptop Per Child to get 5 million to 15 million of the machines in production, when children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, South Africa are due to begin getting them.
Now, just for my country: It would be nice if we stop playing too much politics in software development. Linux as National OS? Well, we should encourage more people to use it.

And, NO, starting from consumer desktop market is just wrong for this country. We should do it from education market. Middle schools, High schools, and Universities should be great places for the start.

It's nice to see people start doing this for someone else, for human being, for all of us.

Hey, what about the Linux for Human Being (Ubuntu Linux; Ubuntu means "Humanity to Others" or in the less crypted form: "I am what I am because who we all are"). The Edubuntu seems nice, too. It's a version of Ubuntu that was modified to be suitable with classroom use. (I like the logo; kids hugging others ... and think back to Ubuntu's logo ... it's like those kids will grow up hugging others).

I close this entry quoting Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu's founder):
If we are to lift Africa from her current circumstances, we will need a generation of learners that are gifted with curiosity about the world in which they live, and the tools to understand and shape that world. - Mark Shuttleworth
No, not just Africa who needs lifting. Everywhere in the world where you see someone you consider inferior, in whatever aspect; lift him/her up ... above you. If he/she do the same back to you; then we will go forward.... together.