[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] netbook as terminology
sdaly.be at gmail.com
Fri Jul 3 07:10:03 EDT 2009
Netbook is not a neutral word and as such is a very useful one.
It's important however to make a context distinction: the word makes
no sense in developing countries which lack Internet infrastructure
let alone electricity in rural areas. So it's perfectly understandable
that Professor Negroponte opposes it.
There's another reason: it describes a class of machines, while the XO
is in a class by itself. Although Asus is often credited with
"starting" the netbook craze, the EeePC's direct technical predecessor
was the XO-1. And the XO-1 was and is superior in many ways (bimodal
screen, mesh networking, robustness).
Finally, OLPC is a nonprofit education project, not a laptop project;
"competition" with OEMs is not OLPC's goal.
So, three good reasons for OLPC's founder to oppose the word. And I
agree that at this point we shouldn't call the XO-1 a netbook. Why
don't we ask Christian (when he has time) to put in: "... the One
Laptop per Child XO-1, predecessor of today's netbooks".
Since there is indeed at this time a new class of small, light
laptops, often with solid-state disk, without optical media drive,
with keyboards running from cosy to very cramped. Generally speaking,
they run GNU/Linux well and Windows XP poorly (Windows Vista not at
all). Although initially conceived for grownups on the go as
"satellite" machines to big laptops and desktops, OEMs have discovered
that their small form factor and low price make them suitable for
children. They are less robust than the XO-1, but that is less of an
issue in the developed countries.
As Microsoft has a very weak offer on these machines, they are doing
everything they can to block the word. So they rebaptize them "Ultra
Low Cost Personal Computers" (this is from the sticker underneath my
Dell Latitude 2100 education netbook). They put pressure on OEMs to
beef up the specs (faster processors, HDD instead of SSD, larger
screen, larger form factor) so Windows XP can run a little better (and
increase the chances Windows 7 will run). This strategy will actually
be catastrophic for OEMs, because the result will be a blurring of the
boundary between big trad laptops and netbooks, and in the curent
economic climate many people will choose smaller units instead. A new
class of ARM-based nertbooks is arriving and Microsoft has no version
of Windows available for it except the very limited Windows CE; this
has them very worried, witness what happened at Computex with Asus a
month ago when Microsoft had them remove their ARM netbook from the
booth. The netbook category by the way is the only growing PC
category, and is growing very quickly according to NPD.
All this creates a real opportunity for OEMs and distros to take over
the entry level of the market. But, as it happens, that entry level
remains suitable for children who don't need a more powerful machine.
Now for Sugar. Sugar is a nonprofit education project too, but with
potentially much wider reach than OLPC since thanks to its Linux
underpinnings, it can run on almost everything. This is a key strength
of Sugar and it serves us to mention that Sugar can run on old PCs,
netbooks, and Macs as well as new laptops and PCs... and the XO.
On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 12:26 PM, Bill Kerr<billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 1:51 AM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>
>> 7. I'll be giving a keynote at GUADEC
>> [http://www.grancanariadesktopsummit.org/]; my plan is to both
>> introduce Sugar to the broader desktop community (with the goal of
>> recruiting more contributors), to sing the praises of the desktop—the
>> cloud is not the solution to all problem—but also .articulate the need
>> for more simplicity along the entire spectrum from developers to end
> at least three interesting points there from walter
> sing the praises of the desktop
> the cloud is not the solution to all problem
> the need for more simplicity along the entire spectrum from developers to
> end users
> I'd love to hear an expansion of these positions
> Also noticed recently that NN reacted against the "netbook" terminology:
> Negroponte: "Kids in Ethiopia don't have the internet in a nearby cloud ..."
> And just noticed that the sugar labs home page describes the xo as a
> netbook: http://www.sugarlabs.org/
> Bill Kerr
> Sugar-devel mailing list
> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
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