[Marketing] [Sugar-devel] netbook as terminology

Bill Kerr billkerr at gmail.com
Fri Jul 3 22:03:50 EDT 2009

On Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 12:06 AM, Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>wrote:

> When we began the project, I lobbied to call it a Children's Machine (CM)
> in reference both to Seymour Papert's book and as a reference to the CM
> series of "connection machines" that Danny Hillis created at Thinking
> Machines, another effort where they through away the rules to make a
> solution to fit a class of problems rather than make the problem fit the
> solution.
> Of course, XO is a brilliant name, that come from our design team as I
> recall, and I don't doubt that it was the correct decision for OLPC at the
> time.

I agree that xo is a brilliant name. Congratulalions to the un-named person
who thought it up. Some of these names convey functionality and purpose far
better than the others. I have broken them into three categories based on
how it feels to me.

Childrens Machine

Connection Machine

low cost small notebook PC
low cost ultra-portable notebook computers (Microsoft
mini notebooks

I don't know that we should decide to push a name change on the market. The
> point I will make at the Desktop Summit is that the marketing of netbooks
> with 3G set an expectation that they are part of the "cloud" and that the
> push for bigger, fatter, faster netbooks has eroded the opportunity to think
> about new approaches to computing that smaller and lighter afford. But there
> remain opportunities to redefine the desktop, keeping it relevant, in many
> areas, ours being K-6. Even in the "developed" world, the Internet is not
> everywhere, e.g., most classrooms, and as much as it has been good for the
> service providers to pitch it as true, the cloud is not right solution to
> every problem.

Would a good description of the sugar desktop be "community user interface"
stressing F1 and F2 over the more traditional F3? That was my interpretation
from reading the OLPC Human interface guidelines:
Most developers are familiar with the desktop
metaphor<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_metaphor>that dominates
the modern-day computer experience. This metaphor has evolved
over the past 30 years, giving rise to distinct classes of interface
elements that we expect to find in every OS: desktop, icons, files, folders,
windows, etc. While this metaphor makes sense at the office—and perhaps even
at home—it does not translate well into a collaborative environment such as
the one that the OLPC laptops will embody. Therefore, we have adopted a new
set of metaphors that emphasize community. While there are some correlations
between the Sugar UI and those of traditional desktops, there are also clear
distinctions. It is these distinctions that are the subject of the remainder
of this section. We highlight the reasoning behind our shift in perspective
and detail functionality with respect to the overall laptop experience

This article more or less persuaded me that cloud computing was an
inevitable (long term) trend

The main value proposition is further "abstraction" that reduces management
costs. For example, backup storage is abstracted into the cloud, so you
don't have to worry about your hard disk failing. Computation is abstracted
into the cloud, so you don't have to worry about not having enough
computational nodes for your data analysis job. It is an inevitable trend in
computing, because of the need to reduce complexity and
data-management/computation-management costs. It's clear that, in the near
future, the backup storage and computation will continue to evolve into
collaborative workspaces that you never have to administer, nor would you
have to worry about backing up your work

Meanwhile back in the real world a huge problem in schools is filtering of
the internet which ends up making many useful sites not accessible to most
in school time (and in practice slows things down) - some students now by
pass the filter using smart phones, smart phones as modems, 3G USB devices
etc. - expensive for them but good to see the internet routing around this

Education Departments don't seem capable of providing fast untrammelled
internet access in my experience

> -walter
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